Class Leaders : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Greater Bethel of Phoenix Arizona, is developing a Class Leader Program. I have a handbook date 1997-99, it has great ideas. However I want more ideas. We are in a growing phase and can use all information on how to make the Class Leader ministry work for us.. the Phoenix area has nearly 2 million people. Greater Bethel is the third church in the Colorada Conference. I need ideas and speakers willing to visit our Valley of the Sun help bring a diverse population of people to God.

I need to know about Class Dues...Who gets them and why?

I am the Lay Organization President and the Charir for Class Leaders at Greater Bethel AMEC Phoenix. Please come back to me. May God bless all who reads this message.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002


My pastor eliminated the title "Class Leaders" and instead adopted the phrase "Care Leaders". Let me know if you would like additional information. QED

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002

Dear AME family,

As a new member of the AME church, I would like to know what the class leader system is all about. It was explained briefly during my new membership class and I have also read about it in the Discipline 2000-2004. I understand the historical significance but how does it apply today. Also, I would like to know from Professor Dickens if his pastor can actually change the name of class leaders to care leaders. I thought that everything in the AME church had to be done in strict accordance with the Discipline 2000-2004. Also, I would appreciate it if someone would explain to me who the " lay people or lay organization is in the AME church.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002

I am the Class leader "president/chairperson at my church, Cain Memorial AME Church, Bakersfield, CA. We rely on the guidance that is provided in the Discipline and the books written by our own Bettye J. Allen, the latest (2000-2001-2002) is titled "The Church Class Leader System", A Guide for Monthly Class Meeting-Council Sessions. We began getting her book written for the 1994-1995 time period, that edition I think gives you a great outline of things that are expected of class leaders and how to get started. I have been the overseer of this group at my church for eight (8) years now, if there is any way that I can assist you I would be most happy to. One important thing I will pass on to you is in Mrs. Allen's earlier books, she calls class leaders "mini pastors", assisting the pastor in tending to the flock, thinking of it this way puts the empahasis on the importance of them. As far as Class Dues are concerned, to my knowledge, I don't think you will find reference to, or guidance on Class Dues in the Discipline, perhaps your pastor will have views on it. It seems they are a carryover from the old days when churches could not pay their pastors a living wage, so class dues came into being along with the chicken, bag of potatoes, whatever the member had to give to the pastor, however that is not the case today, our pastors receive liberal salaries, your question is a very good and valid one and I am going to be interested in the response you get about it. Don't forget if you need help, I stand ready. Blessings Barbara Ransom.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002

"Our pastors receive liberal salaries". Not really! As a full-time pastor, I receive $13k annual. Through my writings and my wife's work, we are able because God is able. May I suggest that if the AME Church took better care of its servants, the Lord would be UN- Handcuffed.

Be Blessed Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Dear Rev. Paris, I should have said pastor salaries have increased substantially from the days of chickens, bags of potatoes, etc. Your stated salary is hard to believe, especially that you are a full time pastor, your benefits package prayerfully covers your salary shortfall. Blessings

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Pastor Paris, it is so good to see you posting on the board again. Praise God! The discussion of salaries is an important one for it will help laity understand what pastors across the denomination are paid. My salary last year as a full time pastor was $1,000.00 a year. And no that is not a typo. I have a brand new church and those that God has called me to serve are very, very poor. Actually the average income in our town is $17,000.00 a year and that is with an individual working two jobs. My daughter and I have faith in God that he will provide for us and he has!! Everything we have needed for our church God has provided and it has been fabulous! The Michigan Conference Lay Organization in the 4th district has brought us hymnals, we rent space in a gorgeous building, and most importantly lives are being transformed. When I answered my call to serve God, I did not say "yes but only if I make 70 thousand dollars a year" I said yes! Period. I am happier than I have ever been. When I was a United Methodist minister by package was $45,000. But I was not allowed to use the gifts God gave me. God is truly able, and he promises to take care of the righteous. God does not lie. We have had so many miracles this past year. We just keep doing ministry. My daughter will become a local pastor in our church and I am thrilled that God is at the center of her life. I have no fear, one other thing for those who are sitting in established churches, with comfortable pews, parking lots, money etc. Please remember our forefathers and foremothers who had faith in God and believed his promise to deliver them. They started churches in livery stables, homes, funeral parlors, they tithed and kept going. They are great testimonies to faith in God. I also encourage us to remember our pastors in Africa, Europe, Dominican republic, puerto rico? etc. Who are working tirelessly on the mission field. Lift them up in prayer and please send a love offering. And in terms of class leaders, Barbara what has been the most rewarding aspect of being a class leader? God loves all of us and he has not forgotten us. Praise his name daily. Joy in Christ.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

I don't know if I can come with a single "most rewarding" aspect of being a Class Leader, I'll give it a try: In assisting the pastor tending to the flock, some time ago, I visited and discovered an elderly member that had fallen on her floor and couldn't get up, I was able to get her emergency medical attention, she was placed in the hospital never to return to her home; another elderly member had allowed herself (because there are no family member seeing about her) to become dehydrated, I had to lovingly and forcefully encourage her to stay in the assisted living facility she was sent to to get her strength and stamina back. I guess in a nutshell, its making the effort to make a positive difference in a persons life.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

I am a pastor in the Namibia Annual Conference, 15th Episcopal District. I am serving at the Ebenezer AMEC in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

My membership total on the roll ios about 325. My salary since some of you mentioned salaries is N$ 1000 which is equivalent to $100 per annum. We have no minimum salary system or staff in the office. What is raised throughout the year is just sufficient to cater for the programs runned and the budget for the year.

At our church we also have a class leader system. We haven't changed it to anything else it is still classleaders. Now classleaders are as the name says leaders of a class. What you do is you divide your congregation into smaller manageable groups and appoint for each such group known as a class a leader. Such person is more or less a "junior pastor". The responsibility of the class leader is to hold regular class meetings where they do bible study, praying and fund raising. The issue here is it depends on the pastor to follow the budget system or the tithing system. The tithing system is where the classleader during these class meetings collects all the tithes of the members in his/her class and report it to the treasurer. The budget system which works better in the third world countries like Namibia is the budget system. Since most of the members are unemployed a certain amount is assigned as the budget to the class. They have to engaged themselves in fund raising activities, involving everybody, promoting fellowship and brotherly love. Then each class is oblidged to pay an amount equal to or more than the prescribe budget amount when the vice chairperson of the class leaders call their meeting. The vice cahirperson would now sit down with the class leaders and compile a report to the Official Board where they are reporting as a whole.

Another essential task of a classleader is to update the pastor on a regular basis the conditions of the members, whether sick or in need of prayer, have passed away or deaths in families birthdays, graduations etc.

Well I hope I could be of assistance to you God bless!

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2002

All the information you are seeking can be found in the Doctrine and Discipline, alo there is a class leader book that can be ordered from Nashville

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2002

Praise God Saints!

Thank you for your responses. This network stuff works. Give God all the Praise for the technology that opens communications between people.

Trust AME's to step up.

Because of your reponses and the guidance given, I have several resources to call upon. And I will be doing just that. I have your addresses, I will find you.

God continue to Bless you and your Churches. Thank You again. Eleanor Thomas Greater Bethel Phoenix Arizona Clinton L. Stancil, Pastor

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2002

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