“Marks of a Faithful Regional Church” is an important document that all regions have adopted and reaffirmed over the years. These marks are excellent signposts for regional church life. In the coming months we will be lifting these up for own information and edification.
Coming together in fellowship is a common characteristic of Disciples, which enriches and enlivens our gatherings. We look forward to those times that we share together.
The Regional Assemblies provide opportunities for fellowship and much more. Congregations have the time and space to share the activities and accomplishments of their ministries as well as the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Representatives from the General Ministries, the Office of the General Minister and President, the wider church, and inter-faith groups take part in the programs that inform and enlighten the participants. Representatives from each congregation play a role in conducting the business and making critical decisions affecting the life, direction, and future of the ministry of the Regional Church.
Specific educational events provide officers and leaders from local congregations instruction to gain understanding the Scriptural foundations and the responsibilities of the office and ways to become more effective in their service. These events also provide opportunities for auxiliaries to study and be informed on ways to contribute to the ministry of the congregation, the Region, and the wider church. Workshops for the laity provide information and opportunities for dialogue with representatives of the General Ministries.
The Regions are responsible for providing guidance for those who acknowledge their call to the ministry as well as support and nurture of the clergy. The Ordination Service recognizes the gift and call of the candidate, setting that person apart for leadership in the life and witness of the church. It is an occasion that brings the members of the Regional church together in worshipful celebration to show support and give encouragement.
Building up the Realm of God requires activity beyond the confines of the local church building. Christ commanded us to go into the world to make disciples, from our communities to the ends of the earth. The Region facilitates opportunities to partner with other congregations to do outreach ministry, participate in volunteer efforts in response to national disasters, and be involved on mission trips to share in ministry with our overseas partners.
The cherished memories so many have from their camp experience substantiates how essential the outdoor ministry of the Region is. Camp is where many came to understand the message of the Gospel, confessed their belief in Christ and accepted him as their Lord and Savior. Lifelong friendships were established, spouses to be met each other, and many clergy acknowledge receiving their call to the ministry at camp.
The Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Young Adult Ministries, Youth Ministries of the Region afford these constituency groups the opportunity to come together for fellowship and mutual spiritual development. Bonds of Christian faith are formed as experiences are shared, prayers are offered collectively and one for another, the Scriptures are explored and discussed. As a result, their faith is strengthened and they gain greater confidence in being witnesses for Christ.
To read the other articles in the continuing "Marks of a Faithful Regional Church" series, click the linked titles below. All 12 articles will be posted by the end of 2020.