If you were presented this opportunity...

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If you were allowed to change, or reform a particular area within our denominational structure, what would it be? If I were given the opportunity, I would address the area of adequate pastoral supervision. In other words, better communication between the pastor and presiding elder. Sunday School Convention (Church School Convention) would be planned with the youth in mind. What reform would you initiate...remember you only have one chance.

-- Anonymous, January 09, 2002


The Presiding Elder position is misunderstood in our area. In my view it is an administrative position, but many of our people see it as an ordination. The moment a bishop dares to replace an ineffective and aged Presiding Elder, it ignites problems. Once appointed the assumption is that the person should die in that position. Even worse is that very, very, old Presiding Elders are also pastoring, some times the biggest churches. If I am allowed to change / reform some part of our connectional system, I would have introduced compulsory rotation of the Presiding Eldership amongst elders with more than 4 years experience, in a similar fashion the Presidency of the Bishops Council rotates.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

It's only one change, but it's a large wholesale change. Moving to a congregation focused form of government where each congregation hires its own minister would eliminate many of the problems brought up here. Age would become a non-issue. The pastor would serve as long as the church desired to have him/her. It could be a short time or forever, and it incorporates pastoral accountability to the church.

The board also should also be made up of members elected from the congregation to work with the pastor. Again, accountability comes from the fact they must face re-election every few years.

The accountability can also flow the other way if, once elected, ministers with the consent of an elected board are given the power to discipline individual church members where necessary.

Leadership above church level can be similarly accountable if those officers were elected by the credentialed ministers. Again, once elected they would retain the power to discipline ministers.

The principle: Accounatability flows down by leadership empowered to discipline the led when necessary. It in turn flows up due to the fact that leadership faces re-election by the led every few years.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

If I had a change I could implement at this very moment, it would be in the manner news and information was disseminated throughout the connection.

The Christian Recorder would become a weekly newspaper that would be produced and delivered in a timely fashion. It would be co-joined with a website that could deliver the daily happenings, including the passings, across the connection.

The material released would be compelling and up to date and it would make a major effort to be inclusive for those A.M.E. members that were not based on American shores.

In today's world of technology, communications are a major issue. As we have often experienced here in this discussion area, just the lack of information often times leads to the persumption of corruption.

We have the tools to allow the connection to be well informed. The same tools can flow in reverse so that public opinion can be factored into decision making of those who lead us.

The major points, and happenings, of large conferences and meetings should be available in some form within a 24 hour period, for those who are not able to travel. The proverbial grapevine, word of mouth reporting, often corrupts even the basic essence of business process.

This is not a dream, some of this has been realized. Some of the realization has been enabled by those people who participate and uplift the A.M.E. Today Online Ministry.

But it now needs to be racheted up a few notches where this commonality of knowledge is the norm rather than the exception.

For me, this both is a dream and a mission.

Rev. John

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

For me, at the top of the list is fiscal reform. The way we go about defining our Quardennial Budget results in far too many underfinanced operations, Connectional inequities and underappreciation of our most prized resources, Divinity-trained clergy. If each AME member was sufficiently convicted to give a modest $200.00 per year to correct for the problems of salary adjustment (both Bishops and clergy), fortifyuing our flagship college, Morris Brown and delivery of important services, this Zion could realize its creative potential. QED

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

My New Year's resolution is that I am going to learn to listen to God. As I approach my 1 year anniversary in Feb. of my membership in the AME church, I would recommend that all denominations be reminded of God's message to Zerubbabel. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty-you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few and weak."(THE BOOK) This means that we should rely heavily upon the Holy Spirit to do God's work. Don't rely upon your own human understanding, it's too inadequate. I heard a minister say that the more time he and his deacons spent in prayer and waiting for God's approval, he discovered that they needed less time for the actual business meetings. Furthermore, they enjoyed success all the time because they were achieving God's will. No one can plan or do anything better than God!!!


-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

Congratulations on your one year anniversary in the A.M.E church Jazzman, It has been a year and a half that I have been with the A.M.E I am happier than I have ever been. It is great to be in a denomination where rural ministry is valued, at least in my conference. I don't have any suggestions for reform but I do pray that we will continue to work on evangelism. Again thank you for joining the A.M.E denomination. We are richer because you are with us!

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2002

Pastor Allen,

Your question is most profound and requires that one assay our zion from top to bottom and within each entity now represented on paper. What we have now looks good on the paper, however ambiguous it may be. Let's see if it's working off the paper.

My fervent prayer is that we take a look at our past to see if we've employed the ideals of Allen, Turner, Payne, etc.

Questions have been asked on this forum on how to reach, teach and keep our converts and present members. So, there are areas that need to be reinforced and some, no doubt, that probably need to be eliminated. But our major focus must still be defined by the words of Jesus that we find in Luke 4:18, which is the foundation of our mission statement.

I'm not so much concerned about what needs to be done away with as I am in what needs to be done - we really just need to BE about our Father's business and those other things will be added and if need be, some detracted.

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2002

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