Elders prophetic, visionary and creative

Over 100 elders and some ministers from churches in Yorkshiretravelled to Moldgreen United Reformed Church on Saturday 28th April for a day conference for elders. I convene a group in the Synod which has responsibility for elders development and this conference was planned to build on Elders Roadshows which had been organised over the past two years. Our aim was to enable elders to look ahead, think ‘outside the box’ and into the blue sky. We had called it Beyond Business ….. a global vision for elders. We began with a keynote address in which I was able to share some thoughts about the church, remembering that this is God’s church not ours and thinking about the things we know about our God. God as creator, the Son as redeemer and the Holy Spirit breathing life into creation. Made in God’s image we are called to also be creative and visionary.

This was followed by four workshops which gave participants the opportunity to discuss such situations as a church with no minister, no buildings but enthusiastic members, or one with no fixed paid ministry. Other workshops looked at the role of elders in the wider community and what might be needed to realise the visions we may have.

At the end of the day people were leaving saying that this had been a good, thought provoking and energising event. There is no doubt that elders are crucial in the life of our denomination as are members of leadership teams in LEP’s and there is also no doubt that the church as we know it must change in fundamental ways, reducing and aging membership and diminishing funds are testament to that but the faith we share will not die Christ did not die on the cross 2000 years ago for us to kill off all hope in the 21st century.

 There were comments on the address




Time to share thoughts over a cup of coffee or tea




Discussion in groups





…… and in the end some commonly agreed pointers to the ways forward (some written up more clearly than others!)



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