Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Elders Consortium Designed for and by Elders

Those leading the launch of the newly formed Georgia-Cumberland Conference Elders Consortium meet to prepare, from left: Young Suh, Ivan Williams, Neil Reid, Wendy Neives-Reid, Ed Wright, Virgilio Morales, Steve Keiser, Mickey Evans, Rubin Lenzer, and Nestor Lizardo-Gomez. Photo contributed by Mickey Evans.
Ed Wright, conference president, speaks to the elders gathered for the first Elders Consortium. Photo contributed by Mickey Evans.
About 39 different churches were represented by 120 elders and pastors at the United Korean Church in the metro Atlanta area. Photo contributed by Mickey Evans.

Elders representing about forty Atlanta area congregations meet 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. Over 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. Howeverwe had elders come from as far as Ellijay and LaGrange,” said Mickey Evans, one of the GCAEC founding membersConference president Ed Wright, 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 conferences 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.

The 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, Mickeys 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, needsand 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. Over

the next two years, the team developed the GCAEC, its vision, mission, bylaws, certification criteria, and continuing education expectations.

In the days, months, and years ahead, the GCAEC plans to host trainings, retreats, 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

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by Mickey Evans