This is the first quarterly report from the Cooperation Service Team that was appointed at the Delegates meeting at the recent International Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California .
I am finding the learning curve is steep in our first months of the Cooperation Service Team but at the same time, it is encouraging to see that our new simple structure is both flexible and working.
Building Service Teams
The Cooperation Service Team is composed of the chairmen of the eleven service teams which are listed on http://www.icocco-op.org/ and published on DisciplesToday.org . They are based in service, not authority. Over the last three months we have been assembling these new teams based on criteria similar to what we what would want from a deacon.
Click this link for a list of the 2008 members of the various Service Teams .
Click this link for a further explanation of the service teams. Service Teams FAQs .
We believe that God is working among us to bring more substance to the unity we share among our churches. And with the new Cooperation Service Team that the Delegates appointed in October, we are seeing more servant-leaders from around the world coming together to identify needs of our churches and work together to help meet those needs.
The spirit and process of cooperation necessary to get to this point is great evidence that as a movement God is blessing our response to his discipline and we are beginning to reap a harvest of righteousness and peace.
It has been helpful that the Cooperation Service Team is serious about applying the Gospel to our relationships by developing a “from this point forward” model concerning the past, whenever possible—especially regarding pre-meltdown sins and being quick to resolve new matters as they arise (Matthew 5:25). And, fortunately, the Shepherding Team can assist us when conflicts develop. With various needs being addressed, it appears that each team will be able to develop and launch greater initiatives to the glory of God.
Initiatives and Articles
As the new teams form, a new culture for developing quality plans and for improved communication and connection is emerging. Disciples are being encouraged to use their gifts on these teams and those teams accountable to others with that gift (1 Corinthians 14:32).
The decisions that are being made in these service teams and among them are subject to input and cooperation with each other. Unlike a one-voice hierarchy, this process involves a number of mature brothers and sisters that represent the wide scope of cultures and countries that we are reaching with the gospel. This helps us reach new ground with the ligaments of love, trust and experiences of a variety of those who can provide special guidance. We expect to see meaningful initiatives and articles from each of the service teams who are being asked to report to the Delegates and the members every quarter.
Initial Team Reports
HOPEww & Benevolence Service Team
As a result of the great hearts and work of disciples, HOPE worldwide has been asked by the Red Cross to be a national and international partner for "Disaster Preparedness" and "Disaster Response". This is a great honor and encouragement. HOPEww will distribute information to churches describing how they can participate in great local service opportunities if they so wish.
The members of this team are giving great feedback and ideas to HOPE worldwide on how they can better serve the needs of the churches, communicate, and create opportunities for disciples to serve. This team will coordinate with the Communication Service Team to more effectively communicate to our members.
Women’s Ministry Service Team
Robyn Williams proposed some kind of opportunity for various women to come together to discuss women’s issues. In order to offset the financial issue for the churches, the team would encourage women leaders to meet centrally, in conjunction with other meetings and/or create a chat room scenario.
Communication and Administration Service Team
The new DisciplesToday.org website was released on December 1st and has technology for translation into eight languages. In November Mike Taliaferro and Mike Fontenot sent letters requesting churches to make financial commitment for 2008. Members of churches that subscribe will receive one year free membership to DisciplesToday.org and free licensing of the DToday Videos for 2008. Since the focus of the Disciples Today is for our members and others interested in our churches, Disciples Today has been asked to develop a new ICOC Co-op Churches website for church leaders. They are also exploring the possibility of coordinating the various international conference websites to make them more effective and efficient.
Reports from the Service Teams will be posted on both the ICOC Co-op site and on DToday.net. As well, we hope to see an early 2008 update article on new churches committing and affiliating with the Co-operation Churches. Disciples Today and Mission Memo will continue to perform an annual survey of information from churches and publish results while continuing to maintain a published Church Directory , Events and Links. Disciples Today is cooperating with ICOC Hot News and Mission Memo to provide surveys and information that is relevant and helpful to our ministries and history.
The Communication and Administration Service Team is looking for ways to improve communication among churches and from the Service Teams to the membership.
Missions Service Team
It has become increasingly evident that we need to be sure that overlooked regions are being helped and addressed. To meet that need, a survey for small churches is being prepared. The best model in many places is where we are building healthy self-supporting churches.
K. Hahn is assisting Andy Fleming with updating Missions information to the DToday Info Church Directory database. Disciples Today will continue to cooperate with the Missions Team to coordinate this vital information.
Shepherding Service Team
This team is beginning with two missions. First, the formulation and development of sound conflict resolution paradigm is needed for leaders and churches. This will include input from trained mediators. Secondly, the team will address how to assist our churches in the training of more men who desire eldership.
Church-Builders Service Team
While only the chairmen of all the other teams were appointed in October, the Delegates selected all of the members of this Service Team. They already met with an ad-hoc group of evangelists from large churches in San Antonio in November. Their two main quests, in conjunction with providing material for the Co-op website is to write articles to describe or define a healthy church from a biblical perspective in our current world, and, present analysis material of examples of healthy churches using biblical criteria. These articles will begin to appear with the release of the new website February 1, Lord willing.
Ministry Education and Teaching Service Team
The first phase is to develop more ministry education among our churches. Six of the eight members of our team will focus on comparing notes from our main education efforts around the churches. We hope to eventually develop a plan that will benefit a larger audience as well as examine the benefits of onsite teaching: both seminar and extended, online and other combinations.
We recognize we need more experience. For instance, Gordon Ferguson is moving further along helping to develop the Asia / Pacific Leadership Academy (See the DToday article, Fergusons’ New Adventure Begins in 2008 ). Douglas Jacoby, though declining to be on the team because of the pressure he is experiencing from his publishers—has agreed to serve as an advisor. He developed the AIM program used by many Christians. In Chicago we are launching a five year effort in February in a unique format designed to focus on competency on a broad range of topics. In Mexico City Arturo Elizarraras developed a Latin America Diploma program in use for the last five years and is using online teaching for multiple sites with multiple teachers from around the world.
A second phase for this service group is the development of teaching material for Christians. Fred Faller in Boston, Tom Jones and others from the team will focus on this effort. It is clear that both feeding the flock and the teaching of Christians to be self-feeders is vital. (Ephesians 4)
Campus Service Team
The 2008 International Campus Ministry Conference between July 3rd and 6th will be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Click here for the invitation for campus representatives to attend the planning meeting in Baton Rouge on January 25 – 26. The ICMC will include opportunities for participants to serve with HOPEworldwide and the Red Cross in New Orleans in conjunction with the conference. This group is encouraging campus conferences on every continent and continued teaching at the International Leadership Conference.
Teen & Family Service Team
This year we are encouraging Youth Leader meetings to be held regionally on every continent where possible. The development of a resource website for youth workers is in the works as well as a discussion over the feasibility of a website for teens to connect worldwide (like facebook). Details for the 2009 International Conference of Youth Ministry in Chicago are forthcoming.
Singles Service Team
The 2008 International Singles Conference released their new website. Large numbers are expected August 29-31 in Dallas, Texas. This team will assess needs of singles and how to meet them. We would like to encourage articles to be submitted to www.DisciplesToday.org to encourage and challenge singles around the world. They have a category under Ministries/Singles just for us.
International Leadership Conferences
The 2008 ILC is in Kiev and the dates and venues are secured. Click here for the announcement about the October 8th to 12th event "The Edge." The 2008 ILC team led by Shawn Wooten will consult with previous ILC planners for continuity and consider the feedback from previous programs and then make suggestions to the CST for the program.
The 2009 ILC is set for Denver, Colorado and the church there is already securing facilities and dates. Wade Cook is the coordinator.
Please pray for our first year as a Coordination Service Team. It is our prayer that God guides all of our churches and the entire bride of Christ. Perhaps more than any other time in history the words of the Apostle Paul are applicable in this year.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to acknowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Cooperation Service Team Chairman, 2007-8