PURSUING FUNCTIONAL UNITY IN THE CHURCH OF GOD MOVEMENT – Bob Moss, Church of God Ministries
Having spent thirty-five years in pastoral ministry, there were certain comments from congregants that rose to the fore in frequency. Chief among the frequent comments was this: “We need more and better communication!” If you’re like me, you stifle the temptation to offer the rejoinder, “We do communicate. You need to pay attention!”
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Nevertheless, having received a new assignment at Church of God Ministries, I want to emphasize my commitment to good communication, even if I might be accused of failing to do so.
Our general director Jim Lyon has emphasized the need for our Movement to seek new and better ways of pursuing functional unity across the more than 140 organizations and entities that constitute the Church of God. To that end, the General Assembly passed a motion presented by the Ministries Council on June 22, 2017, by an 81-percent vote (462 yes; 106 no).
Motion: (Sanders/Palacios) moved that the Ministries Council affirm the need to explore ways to empower unity and the accelerated advance of the kingdom work, including consideration of concepts discussed by the general director and the Ministries Council in March 2017; furthermore, that the Council ask the General Assembly to endorse such exploration, affirm the Council’s convening of a diverse roundtable of representative leaders to wrestle with the possibilities, and invite all ministries and agencies within the Movement to join with the Council’s exploratory process, in the spirit of unity, sharing necessary data and perspective, through June 30, 2019.
I’ve been given the privilege of convening a group of innovative leaders, as well as creating a movement-wide dialogue on the subject of functional unity and the proposal of a plan for the General Assembly to consider in 2019. This is a daunting assignment, fraught with obstacles and opportunities. Perhaps the biggest need in this process will be clear, open, and frequent communication.
My teammates (the executive team at Church of God Ministries) have stated that I am best positioned to lead this dialogue due to my prior experiences in pastoral leadership of small, as well as large, congregations; my time as state minister in Indiana; as chair of the General Assembly and Ministries Council; and now as an executive at our national office. I’m honored by their high estimation of me, and of this opportunity to help our Movement consider the challenges of functional unity.
At this writing, we await the reconvening of the Ministries Council in September to select the “diverse roundtable of representative leaders” mentioned in the motion. Presently we are working to build a timeline for the work, develop meeting plans and site arrangement, review budgetary considerations, and generally prepare the groundwork for jumping into the work once a roundtable of leaders is named.
We need a moniker to describe our work. A name for this initiative will be suggested to the Ministries Council in September. I will suggest a name that represents an open, creative, and forward-looking attitude.
Also, to accomplish the objective of open communication, I will create a blog called The Window. Through the blog, weekly progress reports showing tasks completed, meetings scheduled, prayer requests, and more will be posted. Readers will have a view of those who participate in the conversation. In all, we desire to eliminate any perceptions of secrecy and to openly share as much as possible.
The big issue we seek to address through the work is how to achieve functional unity in every dimension of the Movement that will enable collaborative efforts, congruity of vision pursuit (working together for common objectives), and financial viability, and that will empower the Church of God movement to fulfill the purposes to which God calls us in the 21st century.
Thanks for taking time to read, and moreover, to pray for this important work.
Some upcoming blog posts:
- What this is
- What this is not
- Why it’s needed
- How and when we’ll begin
- How often we will be updated
- Why I (Bob Moss) am facilitating the discussion
- Who else will be involved
- What kind of movement will engage next-generation leaders
- Whether this discussion is a ruse for a plan that has already been developed
- When we can see the plan
Note: the project deadline is eighty-two weeks ahead—February 28, 2019.