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We have one paid Zoom account that we successfully used this week for a virtual Council meeting.  The paid Zoom account allowed us to go beyond the 40 minute limitation of the free account.  We had 10 participants, and we were able to share a screen to show an agenda, etc.

I have used Skype, Skype for Business, and Teams.  You should review what each offers and determine what best fits your requirements.

We have set a goal for ourselves to try to have each elder visit the families in his district once every two years. The challenge in part seems to be the schedules that families keep are rather hectic. Finding a date that works can be difficult.
The benefits of doing the visits are worth the scheduling challenge. Families really appreciate having that close contact with someone who wants to know how the family is doing, how their walk with the Lord is going, and if they have any questions for the Elders, or the Council.

The number of families varies a bit, but each elder calls on around 25 families. This in turn may seem low, only one visit per month, but all of the elders sit on at least one of the church committees as a liaison. In addition, all are involved with choir or other church activities such as Household Bible study groups, or teaching catechism. When you add up the number of meetings and other activities the elders have good exposure to the congregation to both listen as well as encourage.

Duane Klein on June 8, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If this has truly been your experience either as the elder making the visit, or the person receiving the visit, then you have my sympathy. As an elder who has made, and continues to make visits, as well as having received visits, I have found them to be an excellent way of getting to know folks better.

There have been visits were there may have been a moment of silence, but most of the time, each visit is a time of conversation. For newer members or families that are regular visitors the conversation is largely about getting to know the basics. For families that have been in the congregation a while, we still talk about family, but we also talk about our congregation, as well as our church vision, and the role each of us are or can play in that vision.

Family visiting is a conversation. It involves two parties looking forward to talking about the way God is working in their lives.

I agree with Henry. The position of elder is one the includes ordination. Anyone serving in the capacity and/or function of elder needs to ordained into the position.
What other "work" do your elders do? If any of the tasks your elders perform do not require an elder than that might be one way of lightening the load. For example, we have an elder sit on each of the four main committees to act as a council liaison. While this does mean one more meeting per month, that elder is not to serve as the chair person of that committee.

We certainly seem to have a healthy amount of material on this topic! As the former Clerk of Records for our congregation I am very familiar with the challenges of membership tracking. (See also my forum comments about Membership Software under the Administration section.)

We have discussed membership a number of times over the past few years at our Elder meetings. Based on these conversations and ones we have had with other churches, the priority of membership in the formal sense seems to have somewhat diminished within the denomination. If someone has found your congregation to be a place where they can meet God, as well as enjoy the communion of the saints, you may well have provided all that that person or family is looking for, at least for now.

Our Council decided a few years ago that regularly attending individuals may be a part of the various committees, but they may not chair that committee. In this way folks may develop a deeper sense of belonging, and have more time reviewing what ever is holding them back from becoming a member.

The idea of membership for myself is that it creates a stronger sense of commitment or belonging. I think this same theme goes along with the current "Form of Subscription" discussion. While we believe we are part of the true universal church as discussed in the Belgic Confession (art 27-32.) We also hold we are Reformed. Membership helps define who we are, and how we understand God's will for us, and what our congregation is called to do.

We have also discussed members who we don't see as often as we would like. As Elders, our job includes making a phone call to find out how things are going, and/or a letter or two to find out how that person or family is. We do keep track of members whose status could be considered "inactive" versus "lapsed." Some times you can't get an answer, and sometimes the answer is that they want their membership held at your church even though they don't worship there anymore. For some folks, they will always be a member of a certain congregation no matter where they are or how infrequently they attend.

Membership is the responsibility of the individual, but it also serves as a marker or guidepost for the elders as they try to minister to the needs of their congregation.

Our church doesn't currently have a Facebook page, but the Senior High Youth Group does (  I'd like to know what folks would like to see their church Facebook page do.  Is this for internal chat's with associated friends just dropping in, or is it more an external meeting place?

We have a fairly active Facebook page, and can be found at;

Posted in: Media Workshop

Now that you mention it, my wife and I were just looking over the sessions for Symposium this year.  I noticed at least three that looked like they might help with what we've been looking into.

Don't worry about the presentation part.  Remember, you'll be among friends, the room will be full of folks who are interested in the same subject you are, and we will be there to listen, share and learn.  You're going to enjoy this!  Trust me!

Posted in: Media Workshop

I wanted to say Thank-you to Wendy and Steven Koster for their presentations at Symposium.  They had some great material!  I presented a report to our Worship committee, and we are looking to hold our own Media workshop soon.  Thanks!

Duane Klein on March 13, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The Mission/Vision concept is a good place to start. We first formed a "Cornerstone" committee to review our structures to see how we were organized. From there we formed areas of focus such as Fellowship, Education, Evangelism and Worship, and created Vision statements for each of these. This gave of the committee's as well as the elders a way of looking at our congregational life to further enhance to areas that were lacking.
We also used the "Natural Church Development" program to help determine our strengths and weakness's.

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