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The Delegate Process - Does it Work? A HotNews Editorial.
EDITORIAL: Does the delegate process work?
"The ICOC has dramatically changed the way it operates"
Last week in Budapest roughly 120 delegates and spouses gathered from around the world for the annual delegates meeting. Before you yawn and click over for football highlights or Christmas shopping, spend a minute catching up on how things work in the ICOC. Quietly, the ICOC has dramatically changed the way it operates.
(Photo: Shawn Wooten kicks off the meeting.)
Long gone are the days when one person can make sweeping decisions for our churches. These days our churches send delegates to discuss the issues and make decisions regarding the challenges that pertain to us all. That is exactly what happened in Budapest. Delegates came from around the world. They heard presentations, voted on proposals, had group discussions on the issues, and had a wonderful time of fellowship in general.
What were the issues that were discussed?
· Principles for “Youth and Family Ministry.”
· 2020 vision plans.
· The 2012 World Summit in San Antonio.
· The new Bible school for our young ministers.
· Our approach to missions.
· The expansion of the Women’s Service Team.
· Future International conferences.
· Reports from elders, teachers and HOPEww.
(Photo: Justin Renton from South Africa praying)
Here at HotNews we give high marks to the entire delegate process. Shawn Wooten does a great job organizing the meetings, moving the proposals along, and keeping everything fair and productive. The Evangelist, Elders, and Teachers committees work hard to keep the agenda relevant and important. The other service committees are also working hard and being effective. Committee members serve without pay, and work long hours. A lot of good stuff is getting done.
Of course, it isn’t all perfect. Delegates decided unanimously two years ago to support Disciples Today as our official website. They also decided to support HOPEww. While many churches have honored those promises and sent in support, some churches have not. The Delegate process is not perfect.
Still, the fact that the whole process is voluntary is its greatest strength. Most decisions have been almost unanimous. We take time to pray, discuss, get input, and amend proposals. Sure, an "all volunteer" meeting can be slow to make progress, sometimes taking months to form consensus. That can be frustrating. But consensus is worth the effort. On a worldwide scale, the benefits of a unified and free will decision process outweigh the benefits of a quick fix authoritarian style.
HotNews believes that the delegate process is improving. We count it a victory that all the delegates come together, that prayerful and civil dialogue takes place, and that most churches move ahead with the plans decided upon. The spirit of trust and cooperation continues to grow.
Let’s be praying for our unity and teamwork as churches. To learn more about our Cooperation Plan and the delegate process, click over to www.icocco-op.org.