At the ministerial conference held in November 2006, the concept of pastoral councils was introduced. The plan is to try and formulate a council made up of three people operating as one unit as the pastor in as many of the congregations as possible. Using a pastoral council in place of a single pastor has a number of benefits. At a time when there are very few employed pastors in Gracecom, a council prevents burn-out on the part of one person having to shoulder the entire responsibility for a congregation.
Benefits: Peer accountability • Visibility of fellowship in action • Variety of perspectives • Variety of style • Checks and balances • Protection of flock enhanced.
Intentions: That ministers receive pastoral care • That ministry is about service • That Gracecom will provide accountability and supervision structures • That Gracecom will provide on-going informal and formal training • That the concept of pastoral councils will be the dominant model for congregational care.
Responsibilities: Pastoral Care • Contextualised Gracecom Vision (application of living and sharing the Gospel) • Church Ministries • Local Mission • Leadership Development • Deacon and Elder recommendations • Conflict Resolution • Upward, Inward, Outward.
Conclusion With all this in mind, the process of introducing the councils throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland has begun. The first council was commissioned in Birmingham on February 17, 2007 The Pastoral Council, which is made up of three people, takes the place of the pastor. All three are accountable as the pastor (it is not a case of appointing two assistants for the pastor). As a whole unit they are accountable ecclesiastically to the National Structure.
They are appointed by the National Structure for a set period of time (at this point it has been set for three years). The council will be made up typically of elders/pastoral workers. The Pastoral Council instructs local ministry and appoints other congregational leaders.
Once the council has been commissioned, they will, amongst themselves, appoint one of them as the Facilitator or Chairman. Specific duties will then be apportioned to each member. ————————————————————————————————————
The Pastoral Council for the Reading Church is composed of: John Stettaford