By Dan Flynn
Here at Living Water, we have an opportunity to affirm some of our lay leaders over the next couple of weeks. Through prayer and conversation, these men have been chosen to help lead our mission and ministry forward.
You will know many of them; some may be new faces. But all have a heart for knowing and following Jesus, and helping other do the same.
In this election cycle, we have five Elders up for affirmation and four who will be returning to service. One is being elected for the first time. Elders serve the congregation through prayer as well as representing the people of the congregation to the pastor and the pastor to the people of the congregation.
As pastor and site leader, I deeply value the faith and the insight of these men. They help me make decisions. They help me think through what our kingdom work needs next. They help me grow in my faith. They push me to be a better man and pastor.
The Elders and I have also talked about how a congregation will not grow in faith and faithfulness unless the leadership of the congregation is committed to personal growth. These men are committed to knowing and following Jesus better and better, and I am grateful for their service and their partnership. I am grateful for their faithful partnership.
As part of our collaboration in the multisite, we also have a chance to send representatives to our multi-site Spiritual Leadership Council (SLC). The SLC keeps our three sites focused on our common vision. The Site Advisory Team (SAT) are members of Living Water who lead our ministries or have a strong interest in the direction of our site. We elect one SAT representative to attend the SLC meetings. This election cycle, we have one member of our Site Advisory Team (SAT) to affirm for service on the SLC.
While the Elders are tasked primarily with spiritual leadership, the SATs of each site along with the SLC at the multisite level seek to coordinate and implement our ministry plans. These are also leaders, but leaders who spend more time on the business side of our congregation.
Of course, every conversation at the SAT or SLC is covered in prayer, and even our most mundane duty is carried out the glory of God and the benefit of His kingdom work. But these leaders are especially focused on the nuts and bolts of getting stuff done on a daily, weekly basis.
All of our leaders, from the Elders, to the SAT, to the SLC all serve our congregation by helping discern the direction God is leading us and doing everything we can to help us get there. Please find a way to thank these leaders, offer them your support, keep them in your prayers, and consider how God would use you also in the work He is accomplishing at Living Water!
Below you can read more about the leaders we will be affirming over the next two Sundays. If you are a member, please make sure you sign in as you cast your vote.
Mark Cornellier Returning Spiritual Leadership Council Representative
Mark and his wife Betsy are parents to Nick and Jason, ages 33 and 37. They have been attending St. Luke since 2008 and have been members since 2009. Mark has served as usher, trailer puller, SLC representative for Living Water, small group member, homeless shelter host, nursery, chili cook, Advent by candlelight servant, Advent log at Living Water, and lead for Living Water land search.
He has also taught Sunday school, ushered, and helped to start a book store at Shepherd of the Lakes, served as counter, served Thanksgiving dinner at Baker Commons a Low Income AA housing community, mentored and helped young people find their carrier path, and served as greeter.
When asked about his relationship with God he replied:
“My walk with the Lord has been a journey of relying on Him to provide for all of my needs. I see God’s plan in everything that has happened in my Life, although I may not realize it at the time.
In this journey, God has to remind me constantly that He is in control! When I drift away, slowly He has a way of getting my attention and bringing me back to Him. It is extremely important to me that I ingest His Word daily to keep me close to Him.
I believe that by having conversations with the Father you become closer to Him. Studying the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit, helps you to share the Gospel with people that don’t know Him.
Reaching in, up and out is the key to being a follower of Christ! Every day one should attempt to do at least one reaching in, up, and out. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to share the gospel and bring new disciples to the Lord?”
In regard to his gifts and calling he says:
“I feel that my gift of prayer and conversing with God gives my family and me the most blessings.
It has been an honor working with the SLC the past two years and serving and helping St Luke’s three sites move forward with our ministry plans.
As Living Water Community moves forward to a permanent site North of M 14 I feel that my help in discerning God’s will for Living Water is to communicate with and involve every member of St. Luke and University Chapel. I would be a humble servant to all three sites to discern God’s will for Living Water and pay down the debt so we can share God’s Word and develop a fourth site. It can happen! All things are possible with the Lord!”
He also conveys the following greeting and prayer:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matt Gilmer Returning Elder
Matt and his wife Corissa have been attending St. Luke for 6 years and have been members for 5. He has been involved as a trailer puller, a bike team member, a member of both a men’s small group and a young couple’s small group and as an elder.
In discussing his relationship with God, he says:
“I have a young relationship with God, but he has become present in all areas of my life. He has helped me to grow as a man and husband through small groups. Through my 3 years of riding bikes for Make-a-Wish Foundation, he has shown me I can provide in whatever ways I can, and he will help in the areas I am not strong. I know he will be there to guide me as a father in the near future. Through small group fellowship and surrounding myself with Godly people, I learned some of the wonderful things God does in our lives and helps keep me focused on Him.”
With regards to his gifts and calling, he shares:
“God has granted me with a strong back and a love for the outdoors. Combined with the compassion to help in the community wherever I can, I have helped to serve the community when trees need cutting or removal, or items need moving or transporting. This also shows in my participation with Team Living Water and pulling the trailer on Sundays. God continues to show me how to communicate his word more clearly through my daily actions and the spoken word. I strive to be a leader and role model for the younger generations in our community.”
Frank Murdock Returning Elder
Frank and his wife Linda are parents to Katrin, Donald and Robert, ages 26-30. They have been members of St. Luke for 34 years. Frank has served as Financial Secretary, Stewardship Board member, Church Council Secretary, Church Council President, Elder, Head Elder, Mission Board member, Sunday School Teacher, New Member Assimilation, Small Group Coach, Living Water Start-up Team member, Wages & Benefits Committee member, Senior Pastor Call Committee member, Living Water Land Task Force member, and Executive Call Committee Director. In addition he has acted as Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chairman, American Society for Quality Lean Enterprise Division Chair and Chair of ASQ Voice of the Customer Committee, Condominium Association Board member, and Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild Board member.
In discussing his relationship with God he says:
“Over the last several years I have undertaken to read through the Bible each year – that serves as the basis for my daily devotion and prayer. God reveals Himself to me through His Word and it is His Word upon which I depend. We have a small group which Linda and I attend twice a month and together we pray for each other and our families.
With regard to gifts and calling he shares:
“I serve wherever I can. My gifts include giving, serving, administration and teaching. My passions include removing wasteful practices of all kinds – in the church this focuses on how we can better serve and connect with those in the community. This means understanding their needs – both human and spiritual – and then meeting them where they are most in need.”
Brett Anderson Returning Elder
Brett and his wife Jane are parents to Joel, Emily, Patrick and Mark, ages 17-22. They have been at St. Luke for 22 years and have been members for 21 years. Brett has served as elder, music team member, 4th and 5th grade Sunday School teacher (4 yrs) communion assistant, and Greeter. He has also been involved with the Boy Scouts as a Cub Master and a Troop committee member.
In speaking of his relationship with God he says:
“Journey is probably an apt word to describe my walk with Jesus. It began when I was four, in Sunday School, when I had learned enough to know that I was a sinner, and that Jesus died for my sins, and that by faith I could be saved. I accepted Jesus into my heart at that time.
For this reason, I am a big proponent of Sunday School, a time before “big church” where kids can be taught age-appropriate lessons of faith. Kids do learn, and learn early they path they can follow! When I was 14, I felt God nudging me along in my faith, and answered God’s call to be baptized. I had a good youth group in junior and senior high school. High School was an important time for me, and on several specific occasions God call out to me to follow Him more fully, and so I grew in my faith and in daily disciplines of prayer and Bible study.
I entered U of M where I met guys in both Campus Crusade and University Christian Outreach (UCO) within the first few days. Joining UCO was a profound experience in my faith journey, calling me on to deeper faith, teaching me the importance of fellowship and small groups, and leading me to my wife, Jane.
Since then, I have been active in Christian fellowship, in church (St. Luke) and in small groups. Jane and I have raised four kids. Mark graduated this spring from Calvin College, Patrick is a Junior at Calvin College, Emily is a Freshmen at Hope College, and Joel is a Junior at Dexter High School. My current walk includes daily Bible reading, family prayers, and the multi-site small group we’ve been a part of for nearly 10 years.”
Regarding his gifts and calling he shares:
“I have always had an interest in seeing the youth in our congregations connect with Jesus. Whether Sunday morning education or youth groups, the young have an incredible capacity for knowing and understanding God’s love and purpose for them, and they can make a huge, positive impact in the life of a church body. While not actively serving in this area of ministry currently, it is important to me. I also enjoy music and the role it plays in guiding worship.”
Scott Bone Returning Elder
Scott and his wife Kelly have two children, Kaleigh (18) and Garrett (15). They’ve been in attendance at Living Water for 8 years. Scott has served at Living Water as a small group leader, co-director of Youth Ministries, Breakfast Club teacher, sound board operator, mentor, Elder, as well as serving on the SLC & LW SAT committees.
In speaking of his relationship with God he says:
“My relationship with God is one that is always striving to mature in faith and to speak from my heart regarding God’s grace through his Son. I have a personal relationship with Christ, meaning I can’t accomplish anything without His love for me and my hope and faith in Him through daily prayer.
Reading scripture is critical for growth because of the constant reminder that God will use anyone to accomplish His mission. Even though the Bible is a book pointing to salvation through Jesus, it is also transparent with the failures of very faithful people; therefore, providing hope for my shortcomings.
Spiritual readings (i.e. 12 Ordinary Men, Stepping Out of the Boat, etc…) are great supplements to Biblical events and truths because of the typical historical and personal references.
Small group fellowship should constantly be encouraged as a means to receive strength and build maturity through relationships with other believers.”
Regarding his gifts and calling he shares:
“I really enjoy the energy of youth and am concerned about the direction they will take as they grow.
I have a talent for construction projects and enjoy house projects.
Leading doesn’t come naturally, but as a husband, father, engineering manager, coach, elder and small group leader; various degrees of leadership have been required. I believe God has provided me these opportunities as a means to learn perseverance, build character and ultimately place my reliance on Him with faith and hope.
Leaders should serve others, create vision, listen, learn and act.”
Ron Thomason Returning Elder
Ron has served on the music team as well as a small group leader, facilitator of a divorce recovery workshop and home group leader.
In describing his relationship with God, he shares:
“I seek God daily and attempt to maintain consistency in my walk with Him. This includes reading and meditating on His Word, prayer, living in a state of thankfulness, and faithfulness in ministry.”
Regarding his gifts and calling he shares:
“Prior to coming to St. Luke I was quite involved in Bible teaching. It’s something I love and have been encouraged to do. I’ve also been deeply involved in small group leadership and facilitation.”