Encourage One Another
For many years, the Deacon Body at Green Tree has implemented an Undershepherd Program where the members of the congregation have been divided among the members of the Deacons and they would offer support and care-giving to the individuals in the congregation. Sometimes the list of members for each Deacon could number over 20 family units. This made it difficult for the deacons to maintain the program and it got to the point that the program was no longer effective.
At its Spring Retreat in 2013, the Deacons spent a good deal of time discussing this dilemma, and they acknowledged that the Undershepherd Program was no longer working but they did not want to abandon the notion that people in the congregation would offer intentional support for each other. After much discussion and brainstorming, the Deacons developed an outline for a Church Encourager Program. The idea here is that anyone can be an encourager, not just a member of the Deacon Body. Each Encourager would be responsible for 5-7 family units instead of 20. A Supervising Team of three Deacons would oversee the program.
Each Church Encourager will attend a training and orientation session and will fulfill the following duties regarding their list of contacts: 1) make intentional monthly contacts including, but not limited to the following: phone calls, e-mail messages, visits, or the sending of notes or cards; 2) acknowledge milestones and special events in the lives of the members in their contact group (this would include birthdays, anniversaries, etc.); and 3) offer support to the members of their contact group regarding their spiritual journey as the relationship develops.
A number of people have already agreed to be Church Encouragers and the orientation and training sessions have also taken place. By the end of the month, the supervising team will distribute the list of contacts to each encourager and we expect the program to be up and running by the beginning of October.
I take the time to inform you of this so you know that a lot of work and thought has gone into the development of this program. Also, as an active participant in Green Tree, please expect your Church Encourager to be in contact with you in the near future. (See article on page 3) We hope and pray that this will be an effective program where the church is working together to be the church for each other. As 1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”