The leadership as well as the leadership structure of the Eastern District of the EFCA has changed. Eddie Cole has left as District Superintendent to work under EFCA President Kevin Kompelien in Minneapolis. The Eastern District becomes the fourth district in the EFCA to adopt Clause B which allows for greater support from Minneapolis. The district superintendent position has been divided between Cedrick Brown and Tony Balsamo.
“An army of a thousand is easy to find but ah how difficult to find a general.“
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
1 John 2:15-16 NIV
John Welborn of Salem Church praying for Eddie and Jessica Cole on October 13, 2019
There have been some administrative changes inside the Eastern District of the EFCA that this blog needs to report on.
Eddie Cole Accepts the VP Position of EFCA Reach National
In January of 2019 EFCA President Kevin Kompelien asked the Eastern District Supervisor Eddie Cole to take another position in the EFCA. Kompelien asked Eddie to become the Vice President of EFCA Reach National in Minneapolis. It was a decision that Eddie honestly wrestled with however it sounds like he consulted and took in feedback from a number of personal and professional contacts before finally accepting it. It was announced at the by the national EFCA on May 20, 2019. The Eastern District office announced that Eddie Cole planned to move on in an email to the district on May 21, 2019. Below is what Eddie sent out.
EDA Move Leaders,
In January 2019, EFCA President Kevin Kompelien asked that I pray about stepping into the role of executive vice president for national ministries. This is a new position, created to help him by sharing some of his leadership load and to shape the future of our movement. The focus will be to work with EFCA national leaders, the District Superintendents and the Office of the President team.
In essence, the role will enable me to continue to advance ministries I care deeply about – helping leaders and churches with health, revitalization and multiplication. The biggest exception will be that I won’t do it here in the Eastern District alone, but at the EFCA national level. I will still work with EDA Move, but also with the other districts across the country.
This has not been an easy decision. I sought out wisdom and counsel from family and some close friends and mentors. Aside from personal reservations, my biggest concern for EDA Move was the loss of the momentum we have started to gain in the district ministry and the disruption it could bring to the health of our staff. These concerns were real enough to me that my initial response to the invitation was negative. But as Jessica and I began to think and pray about it, we started to consider that if God is leading us into this then He would also provide for the leadership of the district. We’ve seen Him do that before and we know He can do it again. In fact, if He’s leading this, He already has.
Jessica and I believe that our EDA Ministry Team, our Board of Directors and our local church leaders are more than capable of continuing the ministry and even improving upon it. We believe you will have the same confidence as you hear more from the Board of Directors in June.
Regarding the timeline for transition, while some preparatory work will begin over the summer, I will continue to serve here in the Eastern District throughout the summer and up through the October 8-9 District Conference. I plan to begin the new role on November 1.
It’s been an honor to serve as Eastern District Superintendent. Thanks to the opportunity to work with you, I have grown as a disciple and a leader. I appreciate all the support you’ve given. My heart will always be committed to this district and to the work we’ve begun together. In truth, you aren’t finished with me in any way! My new “boss” – our EFCA President – has told me that making sure EDA Move continues on a healthy path is at the top of my priority list.
I look forward to continuing to serve you as you serve Him. My role and my home base are about to change, but my heart remains here.
In that same email David Gehret, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Eastern District also had a note included.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Eastern District,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
On behalf of your EDA Move Board, this is to inform you that our District Superintendent, Dr. Eddie Cole, has accepted the Lord’s calling to become Executive Vice President of EFCA Reach National. Eddie will continue to serve in his present capacity as our District Superintendent through our October 2019 EDA Conference.
As Eddie and Jessica move on to a new ministry in the EFCA we believe that his love and care for us will remain evident. In his new position, Eddie will continue to be in an active ministry relationship with the EDA. One of his first priorities will be to ensure that the EDA transitions to its next season of ministry in a healthy manner. EFCA President Kevin Kompelien has told Eddie that he wants this move to be a “win” for both the EFCA and EDA Move. He is our brother in Christ and we are genuinely excited that his influence will expand to the entire EFCA movement.
We invite you to join us in congratulating Eddie for this honor and recognition of his gifted leadership, and we also ask you to join us in keeping Eddie and Jessica in our prayers as they make this transition to serve the EFCA in a new capacity.
While we are sad to see Eddie leave, we are aware that our district is in a healthy place. The Lord has done some great things in our district under Eddie’s leadership. Our morale is high, finances are strong and our priorities of leader care, church health and ministry multiplication are reflected in the growth of the staff we’ve hired, the increased engagement we’ve seen, in the diversity of our leaders and in renewed interest and commitment to ministry multiplication.
We are confident that the Lord will continue to bless the momentum and effectiveness of our ongoing District ministry. In the coming months leading up to the EDA Conference (October 8-9, 2019) there will be several transitions as well as opportunities for us to consider as a District. As we work through these, please be on the lookout for more communication from us, likely beginning in June.
Even as we support Eddie and Jessica in the months ahead, please also keep the EDA Board of Directors and the EDA Move Staff in prayer as we navigate this time of transition together. It is our privilege and joy to serve you!
God bless you,
Chair, EDA Move Board of Directors
Clause B and a New Leadership Model in the Eastern District with Leadership Shared Between Tony Balsamo and Cedrick Brown
There are two ways of leadership inside a district within the EFCA. According to the the EFCA By-laws which were amended in June of 2017 Clause A and Clause B are described as the following.
“either (a) be organized and operated under written articles of incorporation or a comparable document, providing for an elected board, a District Superintendent as the principal administrative officer, and ultimate governance by its member churches; or (b) be organized and operated under the oversight of the President, as the Board of Directors shall determine. A District organized and operated under clause (a) of the preceding sentence shall not become organized and operated under clause (b) of the preceding sentence except with the approval of its elected board and its member churches, as may be provided in its governing documents.”
At the Eastern District conference the district changed to Clause B and it was adopted in an overwhelming vote. Many went for this believing that the Eastern District would be better supported and resourced from Minneapolis. Clause B was discussed in EFCA Pastor Clusters which allowed for questions and answering as well as discussion. The Eastern District distributed the Clause_B_EFCA which explains the reasons why Clause B should be adopted. With Eddie Cole now moving on the leadership in the Eastern District is going to be shared between Tony Balsamo and Cedrick Brown as they become the District Co-Superintendents.
Tony Balsamo is from Farmingville, New York. He picked up an Associates Degree from Trinity College of the Bible. Balsamo moved on and picked up a Masters and Doctorate from Masters Graduate School. Today Tony is on staff and teaches at the Masters International University of Divinity. In the Eastern District earlier on he oversaw church planting. He also planted Integrity Church in Yaphank, New York. According to my research it appears that Tony Balsamo has not published any books or articles. I checked The Gospel Coalition and a few other sources and did not see anything authored by him. Tony Balsamo became the Eastern District Co-Superintendent at the District Conference.
Tony’s partner is Cedrick Brown who founded and leads Commitment Community Church in Lindenwold, New Jersey. Cedrick Brown was born and raised in Compton, California. His talent in football led him to Washington State University where he played from 1982 until 1986. At Wazzu (as the locals in Pullman, Washington call it 🙂 ) Cedrick played defensive back. Upon graduating he became a free agent for the Philadelphia Eagles. He then moved into the hotel and restaurant industry in both Hyatt and Marriott Corporations. Cedrick then became a part of the sales management team for Alcoa for 15 years. In time he wanted to work more in ministry and he attended Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University) He founded Commitment Community Church in New Jersey and began to publish books in the course of time. Some of the books Cedrick published include, “Act Like A Man: Woman, Can You Help Me?” , “The Racial and Cultural Divide” , “Influencing Your World” , ‘”My Daily Business: “Daily Nuggets for Getting Results“‘ , “He Loves Me!” and “Man, You Got This!” Cedrick has three adult children. In addition he has done a lot of public speaking both in the evangelical Christian and also the business world is appears. This blog has actually heard some good aspects about Cedrick’s church in New Jersey.
The change in leadership as well as the structure will be interesting to observe. This blog has broken a number of stories in the EFCA, but also the Eastern District as well. The story of Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania is one such story that came forward in the Eastern District. It was a story about alleged domestic abuse, rape, church corruption that highlighted the problems with EFCA polity. Eddie Cole did a good job in dealing with that situation, in this new leadership model I am intrigued as to what this means and how that will help mitigate issues that arise in a denomination that practices congregationalism. One thing I have noticed about the Clause B flyer is that it only lists the positives. Every decision has a positive and negative and while this blog is aware of the positives for Clause B I am also intrigued as to what the possible setbacks can be. For example could their be increased legal liability for the EFCA in Minneapolis especially with issues such as child sex abuse which is a problem in evangelicalism? And yet the streamlining of the structure and having strong support from the EFCA also can help with dealing in such issues as well. This issue will have to be researched deeper. This blog wishes both Tony Balsamo and Cedrick Brown well in their new role as District Co-Superintendent. This blog has a great amount of respect for Eddie Cole. That was reflected in, “An Open Letter to Eddie Cole (Transitioning Eastern District Superintendent of the EFCA and Wishing Him Well)” And this blog wishes him well in his new position in Minneapolis. In writing this blog it has taken me up and down the East Coast. I actually was at Salem Church in Staten Island and watched John Welborn of Salem Church pray over Eddie as he was getting ready to leave for Minneapolis. A picture of that is what leads this post.