The Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches is an American Baptist Region of churches in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Venezuela and Washington working together by consensus and organized by ethnic caucuses.
Being a culturally diverse people who are one in Christ and who value the liberties of our American Baptist heritage, the Evergreen Baptist Association will:
Evergreen churches build bridges that carry the message of who we are and accepts the message of who others are. Those bridges open the door for the creation of relationships. Relationships begin through participation in Evergreen that lead to an increased number of people being involved, and intentional intergenerational connections. Those relationships result in support of one another through acceptance, understanding and sensitivity to our cultural differences so that more people now live and tell the Evergreen story.
The people who created Evergreen envisioned a community of churches working together as one in unity and in spirit. They felt that the best way to honor that vision was to structure the organization where decisions are made through ethnic caucuses and consensus. This structure is unique among the various regions of the denomination of American Baptist Churches USA.
We reach consensus when all of us are ready to live with the decision we are making. We do not all have to endorse it wholeheartedly, but we must all be ready to agree not to work or speak against the decision once it is made. Until we come to that point, our tasks are to share our ideas respectfully, listen to each other with open hearts, and find together what God wants us to do.
Why Use Consensus?
· It leads to decisions that are more likely to be supported by everyone.
· It fosters the emergence of unanticipated, better solutions.
· It is more egalitarian and less patriarchal, and it promotes inclusivity.
· It encourages a collaborative spirit.
· It demonstrates the belief that everyone’s voice is important.
· It shows that the people in the room are more important than the decision in question.
· It embodies the belief that how we work together is as important as what we do.
Caucuses are gatherings of Evergreen members within our association according to ethnic identity. Currently, they consist of the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, Asian Caucus and Euro Caucus. Each caucus must be present to make a quorum in any decision regarding our association. Each caucus has equal voice and representation in all decisions which must be reached through consensus.
We all reach agreement through seeking God’s direction for the Evergreen Family of Caucuses. The people in the room are more important than the decision being made. We intentionally take the time to humbly listen to each other and respond to each other’s needs, desires and hopes. As we do this, we provide a testament to the world about what Christ-centered unity looks like.