The elders requested this statement from the four of them be placed on the front page of this week's bulletin.

From The Elders To The Congregation
"We are only four men. We want you to decide whether any, or all, or some of these Christian men should be made elders at this time. Your collective wisdom is superior to the four of us."
Bill Dickey, Earl Flood, Mat Griffin, and Bob Null

The existing eldership sincerely believes it is appropriate and scriptural to practice "participatory leadership." What is "participatory leadership?" It is the leadership seen in Acts 6. The apostles asked the Jerusalem congregation to "select from among you ... seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3). The apostles asked the congregation to select the men that they would appoint to care for a need. It is the leadership seen in Acts 15. After the apostles and elders reached a controversial doctrinal conclusion, it seemed proper "to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church" to send two men to report this decision to some Gentile congregations. The congregation participated in the decision to select and send the men.

The selection is your decision. You approached and nominated the men. You will select the men to add to our existing elders to serve as our shepherds. In no way do the existing elders want you to function as their "rubber stamp." They want you to select men who have your confidence; who you will follow; who you trust to guide you closer to God and His will. The elders want each member to understand this is the congregation's decision. Your participation will determine the decision.

We also want to thank these men and their wives for their willingness to be considered and to serve you. The decision to allow your name to be submitted for consideration is not easily made. Each of the men and their wives made that decision prayerfully with much reflection. The willingness to assume the service and commitment of an elder is not simple. Many good, godly men do not want that responsibility.

Allow your prayers and hearts to lead you as you make your decisions. But, whatever your decision, let these men and their wives know they are loved, appreciated, and respected. Regardless of the decision, each man and his wife has been honored.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 23 July 2000

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