Sunday night was the annual meeting at our church. Usually, these have been a lot of business, with one report after another, and not very much fun. This year we tried a different tact, thanks to the ideas and leadership of our new assistant pastor, Julene Tegerstrand.
We decided to make this a celebration event, focused on telling the stories of the year. We started with a catered dinner, which gave a reprieve for our fellowship team from the efforts of potluck. The dinner was in the beautiful new dining hall at the top of KNU's newest building. This setting has several great advantages for us: round tables, a large attractive room, audio-visual equipment, and an accompanying kitchen.
As people entered, a PowerPoint slide show was rolling with pictures from different events throughout the year. You can view this at the church site: www.cheonanchurch.blogspot.com.
At each table were markers and a large piece of blank paper. The people at each table (at least those who cooperated) drew pictures of events within the church or their lives throughout the year. Then, the people discussed their pictures with the others at their table. Then, we had someone from a few different tables stand and explain their pictures.
The different leadership teams on the board issued written reports, but in the meeting, each team told one story of a significant event that happened that year with their team. Not all of the leaders got the message here, but for those who did, it made the reports more interesting. I tried to follow suit by telling a story of how our advisory council dealt with conflict and learned how to work together as an international team.
While the votes were being counted, we auctioned off 4 pies made by our resident Canadian matriarch, Patricia Clark. That was lots of fun, and it was my first time to serve as an auctioneer. The money all went toward our church mission trip to Tanzania (2008). The first pie went for 100,000 won (about $110). The last pie (a lemon marange (sp?)) was purchased by a coalition of westerners for a grand total of 200,000 won. There were laughter and cheers all around, as the bidding went up and up and as I tried to convince people to bid more. At one point, as I was pumping the bidding on the last pie, my mind went blank in mid-sentence, and I said rather questioningly, "150,000 won for ... a pie?" I don't know if I've described it well, but that was a hilarious moment.
The total for all for pies was 525,000 won, but an anonymous donor volunteered to match up to 500,000 won. That means the total money raised was 1,025,000 won (about $1,100)!! That's not bad for 4 pies! But maybe best of all was the fun that it added to the annual meeting.
We also elected a great crop of new leaders, and we brought back a record 5 returning Advisory Council members. We have never had more than 1 returning Advisory Council (at least not in my time as pastor) until this year. This is a great step forward for our church, and we expect this to really help us make progress. We don't have to start from scratch with this year's council. Most of our teams will have at least one person who was on the team last year. We also have one person who served 2 years ago.
Another big thing is the international character of our Advisory Council (aka church board). We have people from 6 different countries: Korea, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Australia. We really do have an international church.