Regional Elder Covenant
A Regional Elder Ministry is beginning in the Illinois and Wisconsin Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This is a ministry of your regional church in support of congregations and Pastors. Regional Elders, in the tradition of congregational Elders as Spiritual Leaders, have been identified and called by our Regional Minister to be representatives of the Region and “Ambassadors of Jesus Christ.” They will provide contact on behalf of the regional church for an assigned group of ministers and congregations in a particular geographic area. Their ministry will be a service of presence, care and encouragement. They will support pastors in the development of spiritual life and the well being of their congregations. They will be good caring listeners, helping explore options, and maintaining confidentiality as appropriate.
The connections to our Regional Minister and Associate Regional Ministers will remain. In addition to their administrative responsibilities, they will continue to work with congregations and Pastors in their designated areas. Regional Elders will serve as an extension of our Regional Ministry Team.
Following are the minimal expectations for our Regional Elders:
- At least one significant conversation with a Pastor each month (face to face preferably, although phone conversations are accepted when one is away.)
- At least one significant visit to a congregation each month (worship service or special event.)
- Participate in clergy cluster group gatherings each month.
- The maximum of ministers/congregations in their care will be 12.
- Regional Elders will stay informed about Regional and General Ministries, so they can give accurate information to our Pastors and congregations.
- Regional Elders will share information with our Regional Ministry Team, and make referrals as appropriate.
Our Regional Elders will meet quarterly with our Regional Ministry Team for the purpose of resourcing one another and giving support. This will include worship, prayer, continuing education on pastoral care, updates on the Regional and General Church, trends in church life, sharing moments of success, and problem solving.
The Region will be exploring and evaluating the Regional Elders Ministry for the next three years. This will allow us time to work out kinks, make connections, and extend the ministry. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reach the whole region as we begin. As more Elders are identified we will expand.
Our Regional Elders are serving because they feel called to this ministry. They will receive reimbursement for mileage and out of pocket expenses. Many of our new Regional Elders are retired Pastors. Some are not. Each has covenanted to serve for one year, with the opportunity to continue.
What is expected of you, Pastors and congregations? When your Regional Elder is announced (The Christian, CCIW News, letter, Clergy Cluster gatherings, Facebook) please add their name to your newsletter or electronic listings. Invite them to special events and welcome them in worship. Get to know your Regional Elders, as they get to know you. Expect a call! Celebrate our connections!