To: To the Constituents and Workers of the South Central Conference
From: Elder D.C. Edmond
Re: Church Officers Convention/Constituents
My Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ:
As you know, we met in Birmingham this past weekend for the purpose of having Church Officers Convention and a mid-term Constituency Meeting. Said constituency meeting was mandated by the delegates at our last constituency meeting in2011 and was to have addressed recommendations from the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. These recommendations came out of issues raised by the constituents at our last meeting.
The Lord blessed our Church Officers Convention. Nearly 2,000 church officers were blessed by the seminars and the worship services.
Subsequent to our Church Officers Convention, there was to have been a Constituency Meeting. However, as most of you are aware, we were not able to have said meeting, due to not having enough delegates to have a quorum.
Though this was certainly not the desired outcome, I always believe that God can bring some good out of virtually any situation.
When things go differently than they might desire, I frequently will ask a Pastor, “What did you learn from this particular situation?’ In this world, it is not possible to prevent things from turning out differently than one might desire, but it is always possible to derive something positive by learning something from the experience that will help one to do better the next time.
Over the next several weeks, here are some of the questions that we shall be asking:
Was the cost of being a delegate a factor in our not getting enough delegates? If you were a delegate and your spouse came with you and you spent two nights in the delegate hotel, by the time you paid for gasoline, parking and food, depending on where you live and the kind of car you drive, this past weekend could have cost you approximately $500 dollars.
Even if you found someone to share those costs that is still a significant amount of resources, in addition to time, that we are asking our constituents and/or our churches to commit.
In a conference with the large geographic size of South Central-our conference shares a border with seven of the eight other regional conferences – no matter where we have a constituency meeting, there are going to be delegates who have long distances to travel and significant travel costs.
We shall re-examine over these next several weeks our approach to constituency meetings. Have we had too many of them recently (we have had six in the last fourteen years-three of which were called meetings, i.e., they were extra meetings)? Is there a way to more efficiently use our time at constituency meeting? Are there ways to use technology to reduce costs?
At what point did the conference office become aware that we did not have enough delegates for a quorum? Did the churches send in enough names of delegates for a quorum and, then, for whatever reason, those delegates could not attend? In other words, was what happened some kind of aberration that will not happen again in the future? Or, were the churches unable to find enough delegates who were willing/able to attend?
Perhaps in the future, if we see, say, thirty days from the constituency meeting, that we have insufficient delegate numbers to have a quorum, we shall begin calling Pastors of churches who have sent in less than two-thirds of their delegates and encourage them to find additional individuals who are willing/able to be delegates.
How many of our employees, who are delegates at large, and whose expenses are paid by the conference (and therefore would not have the cost issues that other delegates might have) attended the constituency meeting? Did the employees who did not attend and who are not Pastors somehow not know about the meeting? Are Pastors who attend constituency meetings more likely to have at least two-thirds of their delegates to attend as well?
We are going to look at all of those factors (and others); which delegates attended, which did not, where do the delegates who did not attend live? Do non-attending delegates tend to be from smaller churches, further from wherever the meeting is and does that suggest that cost is the biggest factor in whether delegates attend or do not attend, and if that is so, what can be done about that?
We shall share what we learn from these and other questions with the Executive Committee at our April meeting and then after that, with you, on our Website. We shall learn from this, by God’s grace, and take what we learn to do what we do better and to better fulfill the ultimate mission of our conference, which is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As our devotional speaker, Dr. Carlton Byrd said in the powerful message that the Lord blessed him to give at Constituency Meeting, “It’s Fishing Time.”The blessings from that message alone meant that though we were not able to do what we assembled to do, our time together was not in vain. We passed out nearly 2,000 copies of our sharing book for the year and asked each person to simply give the book away.
We shall be sharing on our Website in the next few weeks more of what we shared at Church Officers Convention relative to our theme for this year GOTTA tell SOMEBODY. That is really the story of what happened last weekend. There will be the greatest of all constituency meetings-the one where Christ is crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You might not have been able to make the constituency meeting last weekend, but please, do not miss that constituency meeting. You do not have to worry about the cost of that constituency meeting-Jesus paid it all.
Our job is to tell somebody-to tell everybody-about that meeting. Please join me in doing that this year.
Thank you for your service and ministry to our God and to our conference. Please do not allow a single day to pass without praying for Mrs. Edmond and for me.
Blessings On You and Yours,
Elder D.C. Edmond