On April 20th we had a pretty significant meeting at Harding University. Elders and ministry leaders from Shiloh Road and Cedar Lane gathered together with the team and Bill Richardson for discussions and the establishment of a covenant agreement between the two churches. Despite the long drive (6+ hours) for everyone involved, except Bill, a productive meeting was had and all were blessed.
For almost a month Greg planned with Bill about what this weekend would entail. On a real level, just gathering the leadership together for a time of fellowship was very important. We all know that trust and friendship develop over time and this weekend was a good beginning. Along with this goal, other agenda items included discussion and approval of our work agreements and the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Shiloh and Cedar Lane. These documents will help ensure that everyone is being accountable to everyone else. Even with the best of intentions, things happen and these will serve as reminders and helpers to us trying to honor our commitments.
Bill’s role in the meeting was equal parts missions guru, facilitator, and question answerer. His knowledge and experience continually blesses our team’s efforts. He spoke about conflict management, Latin American church planting strategies, goal setting and evaluation guidelines. It was especially helpful to have him with us this weekend since he will, as our team mentor, be heavily involved in many aspects of our work. Both groups of elders came away having learned a lot in a short time and speaking words of praise for Bill, words that are well deserved.
The team’s primary job, aside from organizing everything, was to present and define our strategy to our shepherds. We have lately been refining what our mission will be in Arequipa (see Greg’s article) and we took some time to lay out the principles that will guide our work in Peru. The questions from both the elders and Bill led to some very helpful and productive discussion that seemed to leave everyone confident that though we are young, our mission is sound. We rely on God to turn human plans into extraordinary results.
With all that went on you might be surprised to know we ended on time, mostly! After some photos were taken of the document signing we took one last photo of the whole group. With some final hugs we were on our way home. God be praised for our shepherds who keep us honest and grounded. God be praised for our shepherds who allow us to dream and chase after ideals. God be praised for giving us this mission to carry out.