The Session recently discussed ways we can improve providing pastoral care (shepherding) to the congregation.

We desire to be faithful under-shepherds of Christ and realize we do not always provide the level of care you need. In the remainder of this email I wish to briefly inform you of our plan as we seek to be faithful as your elders.

First, Elder Shepherding Groups (ESG) are completely different from Covenant Groups (CG), Covenant’s small group ministry. ESGs are designed to provide a means for elders to shepherd the entire congregation, irrespective of CG involvement. Church members are assigned to an ESG led by one of our active elders. This is important as many members are not in a CG.

Second, elders are responsible for praying for his group and contacting each member of his group periodically for communicating information about the church and to ask for prayer requests. Elders will also seek to have face-face contact with their groups. If you have any needs, your elder will be available to assist you.

Third, we are starting a new element to the Sunday morning congregational prayer by an elder. Our goal is for two members/families of the ESG of the elder for that day to be included in the congregational prayer. Our hope is to pray for every member/family during the Sunday morning congregational prayer at least once per year. Expect your elder to contact you when you are assigned for prayer.

Fourth, the ESGs will be reassigned yearly as elders rotate on and off the Session. Though it would be better for elder assignments to not change, our practice of elders serving three-year terms necessitate flexibility and reshuffling of the groups.

Fifth, the group assignments are maintained on Realm, our online church management and database software. Each member is encouraged to sign up for a realm account. If you have not received an invitation to set up an account on Realm, please let me know by emailing me at tjreed@covenantpca.com.  You will be able to access your shepherding group assignment on Realm as well as giving information, our online directory and other helpful features. To view your group and shepherding elder sign on to your Realm account and click Community and then Groups.

May God continue to bless our church, and may He be pleased to grow our Session’s ministry of shepherding. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.

In Christ, Tim