Last Tuesday morning I rose at five a.m. and began to pray and read scripture in anticipation of a difficult Executive Committee meeting later that morning. Just before I left for the office, I sent the following e-mail to my fellow executive committee members as a reflection of my thoughts:
I’m in my 29th year of service as a Director of Missions, and the number one thing I have been asked to do by the pastors and churches I have served is to step in during a time of conflict. The vast majority of those times it was too late. A pastor and his family and a church were deeply wounded. Some pastors left the ministry and some left the church. Many of the churches never recovered—they “survived” but lost their spiritual vibrancy.
At the meeting, a majority vote won and unity lost. Because of that, I immediately submitted my resignation as the KNCSB Executive Board Trustee. In my opinion, the motion that passed at last Tuesday’s EC meeting was a clear violation of the fiduciary responsibilities of a trustee. We approved what five different lawyers told us we should not approve. If I hadn’t resigned, then I would be complicit in violating the duty of a trustee.
As we debated, I was reminded of the comment I heard from a new Executive Committee staff member a little over a year ago. He was excited about his new position and the opportunity to step into a role that would have a Kingdom impact. However, a few days earlier he had been in a meeting with peers, and he said in all of his life he has never been in a room where there was less trust and so much suspicion about motives. How did we get in such a mess? Let me suggest that it didn’t happen overnight and that it wasn’t caused by a single event. In the next couple of articles, I will walk us down memory lane and expand on a few of the issues that have led us to where we are today. But before I do, let me simply mention some of the issues that have contributed to our current circumstances.
Yours in Christ,
Mark R. Elliott, AMS
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.