My Last Word (Chris Pace’s final Last Word as an Elim elder)

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By Chris Pace

It is the end of an important part of my life; or is it just the beginning? My time on the elder board is coming to an end on January 1. I’ve been serving on the elder board for some time now, and I must say God had a reason for me to be there and the church body has blessed me by allowing me to be there. The wisdom and understanding I was able to glean from the men on the elder board has been the most rewarding gift.

The men God has placed on this board and whom you obediently chose have such a passion for our Lord’s people and even for those outside of this body. It has truly been a humbling experience. Being able to serve you and personally pray for you has also been very humbling and an honor.

God has used this time in my life in many ways. It’s helped me through some tough times through the support of the elders. I’ve also been helped by the time God gave me to know you better and through doing so to support each other.

I continue to offer my services to this body as He has called us all to do, and I will seek to grow in the areas in which God has begun a work in me.

I ask that you would continue to pray for God to continue His work in me. I also ask that you continue to pray for the current elders, that they would continue to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in all matters within their own lives and in the life of the church. I will do the same for you.

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Mandated Airplane Material

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By Dan Amos

For the framers of our church constitution, the Sunday church bulletin had always been the primary means of written communication. The bulletin has also provided the working material for many an airplane folded during the worship service. Sometimes test flights even waited until after the church service was over.

Today, thanks to email and the website, we’ve scaled back the paper we print. I rarely take the printed material and almost never fold an airplane. For many, the printed material is no longer the primary means of communication. Some of the changes proposed to the constitution open our options for official communication. We will continue to use a variety of media as appropriate, but we intend to continue some printed materials, such as the letter sent out a week ago on our upcoming congregational meeting.

Constitutions are often referred to as living documents, meaning that they can be adjusted as new needs arise. However, changes to constitutions should not be taken lightly. Our church’s constitution is no different, and we have the added consideration of the biblical direction to be orderly in the church. This is firmly in mind as we propose changes to our church document. The changes are intended to honor the spirit and intention of the original document but also to update it to allow for present circumstances.

Below are the changes we are asking the membership to approve at the meeting on October 7. Each proposal is in a separate table and includes the section of the constitution to be updated, the current wording, and the proposed change. This is followed by the rationale or reason why we think the change is needed.

If you have questions, ask me, Brian Sharpe, or Brian Waple. We were the committee on the Elder Board that put together this proposal.

Article III, Section 3: Update voting rights for absentee ballots and establishment of quorum.
Current Proposed
All members, eighteen years of age or older   shall have equal voting rights. A: All members, eighteen years of age or older shall have equal voting rights. B: Members in good standing but unable to attend a duly called business meeting may vote by absentee ballot and be counted for purposes of establishing quorum. C: Members in good standing and absent due to prolonged geographical separation for reasons of work, school, or of a similar nature shall not be counted among the voting membership for the purpose of establishing quorum.
Rationale: Item A is currently the entire wording of section 3. We propose adding items B and C to acknowledge the nature of travel, work, and school makes it difficult to attend every business meeting and for those away for extended periods, absentee voting may not be practical because they have not been able to participate in the life of the body and are not familiar with the issues presented to the membership. If such persons can not or choose not to vote by absentee ballot then they would retain their full membership, but for the purposes of establishing quorum for the specific business meeting in question they would not be counted among the membership solely for that purpose.
Article III, Section 4B2): Broaden venue for required action
Current Proposed
If the accused refuses to appear, the Elder Board shall remove their name from the Church   Membership Roll. The Elder Board shall inform the Church of its decision at a duly called business meeting following the decision. If the accused refuses to appear, the Elder   Board shall remove their name from the Church Membership Roll. The Elder board shall inform the church of its decision at a duly called business meeting or devotional meeting following the decision.
Rationale: Adding “or devotional meeting” expands and clarifies the options for informing the membership and congregation.

 

Article IV, Section 6A2): Eliminate redundant paragraphs in the document
Current Proposed
They shall be elected for a two year term. By   special request of the Elder Board and with approval of the Nominating Committee, any officer may be nominated for election for two additional terms. The officer must then sit out one full year before being re elected. Delete subsection 2) and remove subsection 1)   as a subsection.
Rationale: Subsection 2) repeats the already stated term of office of all church officers in Article IV, Section 5C. With the removal of subsection 2), there is no longer a need to make the statement in subsection 1) as a subsection. It will now be the sole statement of Article IV, Section 6A.
Article V, Section 3B: Divide paragraph for   clarity and change medium for communication
Current Proposed
This Committee shall prepare and present at   the Annual Budget and Election Meeting a slate of candidates for the offices   to be filled. They shall also fill vacancies that occur during the year. The   names of the candidates shall be published in the Church bulletin and posted for two (2) consecutive Sundays. Preceding the Election Meeting, the candidates shall study the responsibilities and functions of their office. The Senior Pastor or appointed Elder shall oversee their education. 3B: This Committee shall prepare and present   at the Annual Budget and Election Meeting a slate of candidates for the offices to be filled. They shall also fill vacancies that occur during the year. 3C: The names of the candidates shall be   published and posted for two (2) consecutive Sundays. 3D: Preceding the Election Meeting, the candidates shall study the responsibilities and functions of their office. The Senior Pastor or appointed Elder shall oversee their education. 3E: Regular members of this Church may make   nominations only by filing with the Nominating Committee a written and signed nomination. The Nominating Committee shall consider persons so nominated by their qualifications.
Rationale: The proposed change breaks up a large paragraph with disparate provisions into separate paragraphs addressing single issues. In the proposed paragraph 3C, the words “in the Church bulletin” are removed. This simply allows for prevailing media and means of communication to be used to accomplish the same purpose. At the time the constitution was written, the weekly church bulletin was the primary means of communication. This has been replaced by an electronic weekly newsletter and other means.
Article VI, Section 3A: Broaden timing of annual budget and election meeting
Current Proposed
ANNUAL BUDGET AND ELECTION MEETING – This   meeting of the membership shall be held on the first Sunday of December to elect new officers and approve a budget for the coming year. ANNUAL BUDGET AND ELECTION MEETING – This meeting of the membership shall be held no later than the second Sunday of December to elect new officers and approve a budget for the coming year.
Rationale: The current designation of the first Sunday of December is not always a good date to have this meeting. The proposed wording honors the intent to complete and pass the budget prior to the start of the new year but allows   for flexibility in the timing of the meeting.
Article VI, Section 4A: Change medium for communication
Current Proposed
Announcement of all business meetings shall be made from the pulpit and printed in the Sunday bulletins two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting. Announcement of all business meetings shall be made from the pulpit and published for two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting.
Rationale: Removes “in the Sunday bulletins”
Article VI, Section 4G: Change documentation of absentee ballots
Current Proposed
Voting by proxy shall not be permitted. In the event members are not able to attend a business meeting, they may apply to the Elder Board for an absentee ballot. Upon submitting such ballot, voting members must sign an updated membership roster. It shall be the responsibility of the Elder Board Chairman to assure the confidentiality of absentee ballots. The   availability of absentee ballots shall be announced in accordance with rules for announcement of all business meetings as stated in Article VI. Section 4:A Voting by proxy shall not be permitted. In the event members are not able to attend a business meeting, they may apply to the Elder Board for an absentee ballot. Upon submitting an absentee ballot, the membership roster for the business   meeting shall indicate an absentee ballot has been received from that member. It shall be the responsibility of the Elder Board Chairman to assure the confidentiality of absentee ballots. The availability of absentee ballots shall be announced in accordance with rules for announcement of all business meetings as stated in Article VI. Section 4:A.
Rationale: Replaces the phrase “Upon submitting such ballot, voting members must sign an updated membership roster.” This allows for other forms of absentee ballot submission but maintains a record to prevent submission of duplicate ballots.
Article VII, Section 2: Change “properly” to “duly”.
Current Proposed
A three fourths (3/4) vote by secret ballot at a properly called business meeting shall be required for the purchase or sale of real estate. A quorum (50%) of the voting membership must be present. A three fourths (3/4) vote by secret ballot at a duly called business meeting shall be required for the purchase or sale of real estate. A quorum (50%) of the voting membership must be present.
Rationale: Maintains agreement in vocabulary throughout the document.
Article VIII, Section 3: Add “designated”
Current Proposed
Monies from the Benevolence Fund shall come   from contributions made at the communion services, and from any other monies which the Church may designate for the fund. The Elder Board shall not be required to make public disclosure of the specific disbursements from this fund, but an accounting will be kept by the Church Treasurer. Monies from the Benevolence Fund shall come   from designated contributions made at the communion services, and from any other monies which the Church may designate for the fund. The Elder Board shall not be required to make public disclosure of the specific disbursements from this fund, but an accounting will be kept by the Church Treasurer.
Rationale: Adds the word “designated” to distinguish from undesignated giving for the general fund.
Article IX, Section 3A:
Current Proposed
Each year the Board of Elders shall appoint   from the membership a Congregational Secretary. At the beginning of each year the Board of   Elders shall appoint from the membership a Congregational Secretary.
Rationale: Designates the timing of the appointment.
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Family Time

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by Dan Amos

For 18 years now, Elim has been home to me and my family. It’s where we experience the community of believers, where we worship corporately, where we serve, where we live, and where we give. Sometimes at home we get busy or things are just changing and it is good to stop and have family time to talk about what’s going on. I am excited about our direction and am eager to share that with you.

In my house family time can mean asking what’s going on in the next week or last year’s recurring talks about family finances. We talk about what it means for the family and how we are going to respond.

At Elim we have been talking about change for awhile, but the Elder Board, staff, and Ministry Leaders want to process with our whole family where we’ve been and where we’re going. Therefore, we are planning several “Family Times” over the next month to talk about these things, answer questions, and hear from you.

The first of these will be on Saturday evening, July 28, at Family Camp. We often have a potluck dinner on Saturday and follow it with a worship service. All of Elim is invited to join us at Alder Lake Park for this family time. The next one will be a homemade ice cream social at the Schlomers’ house (13314 74th Ave. East, Puyallup) on August 4 at 6:00. If you’re able to attend, please sign up in the fellowship room. We look forward to spending time together as a church family!

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Larry’s last, Last Word?

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By Larry Short

It’s been several years since we elders started writing the weekly “Last Word” in order to more effectively communicate with the body at Elim what the Lord is doing here … and this morning I’m feeling a little wistful about the fact that this may be my final “Last Word,” at least for a little while! (I really do enjoy writing these! I counted recently and I believe this is the 120th Last Word that has been published … not all of them by me, of course!)

Why so wistful? you might ask. Well, the Lord has been doing something interesting in me ever since I preached (about a month ago) on the topic of “margin.” I shared then how He was challenging me to increase the margin in my life … the space “around the edges” of work, ministry and play, time available for the Lord to do a better work in me and through me. Time for just me and Him to continue to get to know each other better, as well as for me to become better equipped to do whatever He is calling me to do.

I pointed out that sometimes, like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, we need to learn to say “no” to good things in order to make more room for the best things. As a result of this conversation with the Lord in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to focus my ministry efforts here at Elim. As a result I’ve informed the elders that I would be stepping off the board (before the completion of my term) after this month.

I mentioned focus … I think you all are aware that the Lord has brought Darlene and I a truly fruitful and fulfilling ministry in the form of Pulse, Elim’s young adults ministry. We now have an awesome group of young adults, college and career-aged, who are sold out for Jesus and getting engaged in ministry and outreach with Elim. Between the two of us, we are mentoring five of them (and many of the others are being mentored by yet other leaders at Elim). We have nearly 50 on our roster, but at least 20-30 of these are “core” young adults, actively involved in Pulse. Even larger churches in our area frequently struggle to maintain healthy young adults groups, so we feel incredibly blessed by what God is doing here!

We are also in the midst of one of those many periods of transition, as many (three couples) of our young adults have recently married, and others are getting near the age where they may be transitioning out soon (into other groups and ministries). These faithful have been with us long and we will really miss them!

And of course God is bringing in new young adults, including some high school graduates. So, after praying this through, Darlene and I do feel like this really is a season where we need to focus all of our best efforts on what God is continuing to do in this group, through leading Bible studies and prayer times; book studies; special events; and mentoring. Your prayers as we seek to “up the ante” with Pulse are much needed and appreciated!

Fortunately right now I can depart the Elder Board with a clear conscience, as it is perhaps in a stronger position than it’s been in a long time. Even with me stepping off and Mike being called to pastoral ministry, the Board still is a very strong group of men who are passionate about seeking God’s best for Elim. Pastor Martin has been challenging us all to step up our board involvement to meet the need for strategic preparation for the days ahead, and I’m convinced that this awesome and committed group of guys, under Dan’s leadership, are more than up to the challenge.

Anyway, I just wanted to say I really appreciate all of you (especially those of you who read these Last Words!) … your prayers and support; as well as the privilege and opportunity of serving with the elders these past few years (as well as the six years before my constitutionally required one-year hiatus!). Now, off to a little Grandpa vacation with Annabelle, for some real “margin” time! Be back soon!

 

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Letter from Pastor Martin, Dan Amos and the Elder Board

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Dear Elim members and friends,

Six months ago, Stan Peterson began a one-year internship with us in holistic outreach and assimilation. During this year Stan was challenged to finish seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, pursue credentialing with the EFCA, help equip us to reach out to our community, and help us care for guests who visit with us on Sunday mornings. This was to be a year of exploring opportunities as well as having a role in preparing Stan for full-time ministry — possibly at Elim.

During the past six months Stan has jumped in head-first and has gotten well underway on each of those tasks. In addition, the entire staff, including Stan, has undergone an intensive profile assessment and coaching process to help us all better understand how God has wired and equipped them to be most effective in serving Him by leading His church.

As a result of this process, it became clear to Stan that an associate pastor position at Elim would not be a good fit. It became clear that Stan’s gifting leans more toward shepherding a church plant, being an army chaplain, or possibly a professor. All of these options are exciting to Stan! Please pray for the Petersons as they pray and discern their next steps.

This begs the question, “What’s next for Stan and Elim?” Stan will continue with the Elim internship through December. During this time, we will continue to do what we can to help prepare him for his next season of ministry. He will also finish his licensing through the EFCA in November.

We want to thank those who have been praying for this effort as well as contributing financially to Stan! Without your sacrifice, this internship would not have been possible.

As Elim grows, there is still a need for another staff position. As an Elder Board we are evaluating exactly what that need is, and how to best fill it. Please be in prayer about what this means for Elim moving forward. Pray for God-given discernment for the Elders as we process through the unique gifting of our staff and seek to identify the best way to organize and build our staff to meet the opportunities God has entrusted to us.

Thanks for your prayers! It is an exciting time to be at Elim right now. We look forward to seeing what God is going to do both in Stan and at Elim. If you have any questions, please talk with Pastor Martin or the Elders.

Sincerely,

Martin Schlomer
Senior Pastor

Dan Amos
Elder Board Chair

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Introducing Stan Peterson and Jeff Foerster

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Submitted by the Elders

On January 30, Elim membership will vote on three elder nominees. Gordy McCoy has already served 2 years. However, Stan Peterson and Jeff Foerster are new to this process. Who are these men? The following is a biographical sketch that will provide helpful information as we prayerfully consider them as elders.

Stan Peterson

It is an honor and pleasure to be asked to serve in the capacity of Elder. I was saved in 1999 when I was convicted by God that I was incapable of any good and that my works were as filthy rags and that being a moral (good) person would not get me anywhere especially not into heaven. Up until I was saved I was living for myself and self was on the throne. I was introduced to Christ through a co-worker. I witnessed first-hand God’s love, peace, and joy and after about 3 months of his faithful prayers and witnessing I accepted the True claims of the Bible and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy”.

I want to share candidly about my past so as to make much of my God who saved, and redeemed me. I was divorced in 1997 and have two children from my first marriage Hailey(20) and Cole(17); I met my beautiful wife Jackie in Aug. 2002. Jackie was never married and in 2000 had a baby girl, Morgan(10). As a result of Morgan’s birth Jackie came to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Savior. We were married on Feb 15th 2003 and have had 3 children together Adalee(6), Amelia(4) and Esther Joy(2). We all currently live together, save for Hailey. Hailey is living on her own and attends Pierce College.

Almost immediately, from the moment I was saved, the Lord placed within me a hunger for His word. As a result, my passions are to know God (Philippians 3.10),Love my family, and see the body of Christ both equipped and built up. It is my intention to continue to learn and be shaped into God’s image. I long to see the Bride of Christ in her full splendor, filled with joy, obedient, bringing glory to God. My heart yearns to see God glorified in and through the lost. last but most important I believe that Prayer (Communion with God) must be put on a continuum of moving from theory to practice in my life and the life of the church.

Jeff Foerster

Let me take you back to 1972, in a small town 15 miles SW of Portland, Oregon called Sherwood. I grew up with a knowledge of the truth, as my mom has been a Christian for more years than I have been alive. Church was part of the picture early on, and then took a vacation while I attended college at Seattle University and pursued my interests. Church appeared again in Dallas, Texas in 1997, just as I had left it more than 7 years earlier –a good idea I was taught to partake in. Church for me was like a carwash without soap and water, easy to endure, but not very transforming. I have long agreed with what I was taught: the Bible is true, God is who He says He is, Jesus is my only way to Heaven, and He was crucified, buried and resurrected so that my sins could be forgiven.

I accepted these facts and believed them to be true. I had prayed to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins. I believed myself to be a Christian and called myself so for many years. I never considered the idea that Jesus was to be Lord over my life as well as my Savior. I sincerely believed I made the decision that was required. I was a Christian.

That is, until my life began to change around 2001. As everyone knows you don’t “mess with Texas”. But I did anyway. Because of relationship, employment and health difficulties I helped create while there, I found myself again in Oregon. This time I was preparing for a new career in teaching.

Back in Oregon, I realized that my ways had to change. I didn’t like the effects of how I’d been living and began a process of cleaning myself up, attempting to become “good for God”. As I did all that I could do, I found I simply couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength to be good. When the time was right Jesus brought me to my knees. It was then that I gave my life to God, not in exchange for anything, but without condition. I believe at that moment Jesus became Lord over my life and my Savior.

I developed a passion for reading the Scriptures and spent three years chewing on and digesting each book of the Bible. My words, my habits, and even my music began to change. I had power in my life I’d never before experienced.

I earned my Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University (Portland) in 2002 and, in 2003, took my first teaching job in Nampa, Idaho. There I spent two years teaching 5th and 6th graders, fishing for trout, and skiing at Bogus Basin.

I moved back to Washington in 2005 and have been teaching in the Puyallup School District since 2006. I currently teach 6th graders at Hunt Elementary.

In 2007 I began prison ministry with Prisoners For Christ. Every two weeks I head to the Kent Regional Justice Center and help lead a small group service of worship, teaching and prayer. Preparing for those visits has had great impact, taking me deeper in my knowledge of the Bible, and closer in my relationship with Jesus. I came to Elim in the summer of 2008 and felt welcomed immediately and called it home since.

I’m also involved in a weekly community group and meet biweekly with a group of men for a study of the book of Judges. I spend time regularly in contact with family members in Oregon, which include my mom, my dad, and two of my three sisters and their families (my middle sister and her family live in North Carolina). When time allows I can also be found reading books on economics, investing, and finances, and, once in a blue moon, chasing that elusive trout in a lake or stream nearby.

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