All of us have watched the political maneuvering at conventions of the political parties in our country. Each state elects their representation, and they go to the meeting as a block, cheering for their preferred candidate. Sometimes, what happens at these gatherings turns the election process into a disrespectful and unpleasant experience.
Instructing on how leadership should be in the Kingdom of God, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26, NKJV).
On Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, about 900+ church members of the Southern California Conference will convene in constituency session to:
- Receive reports.
- Elect the conference officers, superintendent of education, executive committee, and bylaws committee.
- Revise conference bylaws.
- Transact any other business related to the advancement of this conference.
WHAT IS THIS SESSION ALL ABOUT?
The constituency session is an assembly of delegates representing every single church of our conference to make decisions to advance the work of the conference. These delegates are elected and authorized by the local church in business meeting to represent the church at the constituency session.
Since our denomination has a representative governance system, this process allows every member to have a voice through their delegates. Also, under the guidance of the pastor, every church member—delegate or not—can recommend changes to the conference bylaws or submit items to be included on the session agenda after the scrutiny of the executive committee.
The most crucial decision in the session is the election because such a decision will impact the future of the conference. The officers elected at the session will lead the conference under the counsel of the executive committee to operate the organization according to the bylaws approved at the session. The conference is the administrative unit in our denomination. It is in charge of hiring, training, and overseeing the employees (pastors, educators, office staff) who serve the churches, schools, and the conference office.
In a nutshell, a constituency session empowers delegates to make decisions as a group, representing each member, instead of leaving a single individual to make these decisions for the entire constituency.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A DELEGATE?
Once the local church has selected its delegates to the constituency session, the delegates will attend:
- Representing their local church members.
- Seeing their local church as part of a whole.
- Being responsible for the entire conference welfare.
- Making themselves susceptible to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
- Voting according to personal convictions.
- However, before going to the session, those delegates need to prepare themselves by:
- Praying earnestly.
- Reading the materials posted online (www.2019sccsession.org).
- Attending called meetings (pre-session, town halls, and session).
- Asking questions to make informed decisions.
- Interacting with other delegates.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A NON-DELEGATE CHURCH MEMBER?
Also, those non-delegate church members, who care for the church, can participate in another role: They can pray for the guidance and the impression of the Holy Spirit on the delegates chosen to represent them.
The nature of this meeting is spiritual—not mere business. Therefore, church members, delegates, and non-delegates are encouraged to pray for the Spirit of God to permeate the proceedings at the constituency session. And beyond that, they can become informed by reading the material posted online (www.2019sccsession.org).
To conclude, the fundamental purpose of this administrative process known as constituency session is to increase the level of trust in the church, its mission, and its leadership.
May the Lord help us to honor Him as we conduct the business of His church.