Photo submitted by: Mickey Evans
Elders representing about 40 Atlanta-area congregations met on the evening of October 14, 2017, filling the sanctuary of the Georgia United Korean Church, for the launch of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference Adventist Elders’ Consortium (GCAEC).
“It was a wonderful event. More than 120 pastors and elders from 39 different churches were in attendance. The primary invitees were elders in the metro Atlanta area, or central region churches. “However, we had elders come from as far as Ellijay and LaGrange,” said Mickey Evans, one of the GCAEC founding members.
Ed Wright, Conference president, congratulated the leadership team and affirmed the elders for their “commitment to better serving God and His church … and seeking to enhance their ministry and bear eternal fruit.”
Keynote speaker Ivan Williams, ministerial director of the North American Division, estimated that there are more than 30,000 local elders in the Division, and surmised that they may very well be the sleeping giant within the Adventist Church that the devil does not want to see come together.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the elders retreated to the fellowship hall to break bread and network in anticipation of more opportunities to get together.
This is a ministry designed by elders for elders. There is an organizational structure that includes the Conference’s ministerial regional directors as ex-officio members of the executive board, but it will be driven by elders. The success of GCAEC will primarily be on the elders. Their vision is “Faithful, Reliable, and Empowered” elders in every congregation.
GCAEC began in 2015 when four Atlanta church leaders, Mickey Evans, Paul Beswick, Virgilio Morales, and Neil Reid, met in Duluth to pray and explore ways to provide support, training, certification, and continuing education for elders. Assisted by Gina Evans, Evans’ wife, who works as a researcher for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the team developed an assessment instrument to survey a cross-cultural mix of pastors and elders to identify their wants, needs, and challenges. After processing the data, the team, with the addition of Steve Keiser, approached the administration of the Conference with their findings, and obtained endorsement for the establishment of an organization dedicated to the nurturing of elders. During the next two years, the team developed the consortium, its vision, mission, bylaws, certification criteria, and continuing education expectations.
In the days, months, and years ahead, GCAEC plans to host trainings, retreats, and evangelistic and social events throughout the Conference to fulfill its mission, “To network, resource, and provide training for elders to help them better support pastors, oversee ministries, and enthuse and inspire church members.”
If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world,” 9T 221.
Learn more on their website: www.sdaec.net.
Georgia-Cumberland | January 2018