Elder Meeting Minutes:  December 2, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Shepherding/Prayer:
John led the time of devotion and prayer focusing on the concept of “Make my joy complete” as found in James.

Pastors’ and Moderator’s Reports:
John noted that the Duke Thanksgiving outreach went well and Brian provided an update of the Advent schedule.

Motion: Holly moved to approve the meeting minutes from November 18; Wes seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Motion: Barb moved to elect Ken as moderator effective January 1, 2015; Holly seconded and the motion was approved.

Barb reported the Nominating Committee has entered the interview phase with elder candidates, and that she would be in communication with Brad Gwinn, chair of the committee, to discuss when the elders may have recommendations for elders to review.

Task team liaisons reported on the status of their teams. The Direct Invite team has not met recently, so there was nothing to report. The Communications team completed the project to create and distribute book markers inviting people to join us during the Advent season. The Web team has set up a test site and begun compiling content. A date of February 28, 2015, has been set to have a first version of the site up and running. The Care team is continuing to move forward.

Finance Report and Updates:

Motion: Brian moved to approve the Housing Allowance Designation letters for each of our pastors; Barb seconded the motion and it was approved.

Brian reported that in October, our expenses exceeded income by $27,461, and he walked the elders through the relevant reports. Liabilities at the end of October are $40,000 to the credit line and $8,000 to the credit card.

The Christmas Eve offering will go to the Benevolence fund for 2015.

The first of three stewardship letters was distributed the week of November 25th. The second letter on the joy of giving will go out on December 5th, and the final letter will go out the week of the 12th.

The 2015 draft budget is scheduled to be delivered to the elders by the January 20, 2015 meeting, with final approval anticipated in February.

Brian then reviewed performance to date on the 6 goals /objectives to move the church toward being financially healthy in 2014. Of the six goals, 1 has been accomplished (missions giving); 3 are in progress and will continue in 2015 (facilities team, projected income, and reducing the designated funds liability); and 2 will not be attained (increasing cash by $45,000 and forming a stewardship team with the goal of increasing contributions by 1%).

Moderator’s Recap:

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, December 16 at 6:30pm at Barb’s house.

The meeting was closed with prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
Ken Taylor

 

Elder Meeting Minutes—November 18, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Shepherding/Discussion
Brian relayed a story from his earlier years of ministry; linked his story to key concepts we discussed from the Brennan Manning book The Importance of Being Foolish; and led a devotional time of reading and reflection on John 13, which covers Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Brian emphasized our present need to find the mind of Christ together and have a Kingdom mindset, recognizing the power of the Cross.

Moderator’s business items

Motion: Wes made a motion to approve the Nov 4 meeting minutes. Ken seconded the motion, and it passed.

Barb stated that at the December 2 elder meeting, a vote for the next elder board moderator will be held.

Discussion about the health and direction of Grace:

Ken led an extended discussion centering on each elder offering his/her thoughts about the current health (spiritual, relational, participation, growth, financial, leadership) of Grace; where the current path of the church may be leading; and how each elder feels about that path. The goal of this discussion was to build consensus on where we are and where we’re headed so that, with God’s grace, we move forward with confidence as a “we” in addressing the question “What are we trying to build?”

The discussion ended with the board agreeing on next steps on the process of establishing the theology, philosophy, and practice of church life at Grace to lay the foundations for what church we’re building and how. In addition, the elders authorized Brian to begin seeking a coach/consultant to help direct the process of establishing theology, philosophy, and practice and deciding how to best apply them at Grace.

John closed the meeting with prayer at 9:50 pm.

The next elder board meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2014.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack Curtin

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  November 4, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Present for the preschool discussion: Hollis Bruton, Erin Winston

Shepherding/Discussion

Jack facilitated a discussion of the last chapter of Brennan Manning’s The Importance of Being Foolish: “Resurrection Wisdom.”

Pastor’s/Moderator’s Reports

John discussed the upcoming Advent sermon series “Surprised by Joy.”

Barb reminded the board that her 2-year tour as elder board moderator would be ending soon and asked the elders to speak with her individually about their interest in the role starting in 2015.

Barb let the group know that at least 12 people have been nominated to be elders. The Nominating Committee is currently working through the process with the candidates.

John and Brian led a discussion about the “Sticky Teams” conference they recently attended. They learned (and were reminded of) several things that we should consider doing at Grace. Most of the ideas related to the need to define our theology of church and priorities and to aggressively go after them, leaving distractions by the wayside.

At our next meeting (Nov 18), the elders agreed to focus our next steps by answering the following:

  • What kind of church are we building?
  • Should we take on a church plant mentality going forward, and if so, who is our core group?
  • Do we need to work on defining Grace’s theology, philosophy, and practice of church?

John shared that Dave Stoner is stepping down as leader of the Stephen Ministry.

Finance Update

Hollis Bruton and Erin Winston spoke the board about the state of the Grace preschool, its future, and its need for advertising funding in order to bring in more children (since the numbers are currently dwindling to unsustainable levels).

In a subsequent discussion, the board agreed they desire to keep the preschool running and, based on a recommendation made by the Finance Committee, made the following motion:

Motion: Bill made a motion for Grace to spend up to $2,500 from November 1-December 31, 2014. The funds approval must come with documentation of a plan to use the funds to the finance team. Secondly, the preschool center’s request for funds in 2015 would be reviewed by the finance team in early January based on interest created by the initial marketing efforts. The elders will be updated by the beginning of February 2015. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Brian reviewed September financial numbers. Cash flow is still very restricted and $40k has been borrowed to date from the line of credit. Realizing the projected income for November and December is critical to meet our annual goals.

Brian led a discussion on a variety of 2015 medical benefits for staff.

Motion: Holly made a motion to accept the Finance Committee’s recommendations for medical benefits from United Health Care. Wes seconded the motion and it passed.

Brian discussed the finance committee’s recommendations for the redesign of the designated giving accounts. The discussion resulted in the following motions:

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire benevolence fund (currently $5725.45) on benevolence needs by December 31st and to then close the fund.   A new benevolence fund will be opened with the Christmas Eve offering. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the children’s ministry fund (currently $1265.94) to pay for some of the VBS expenses and some of the “Orange” conference expenses by Erin Winston. The fund would then be closed and all new funds would go into the new children’s ministry fund. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire adult ministries fund (currently $5166.27) to pay for the following adult ministries line items in the budget: fellowship $3000, exec. ministry $1000, senior pastor ministry expense $1000, and any Bible studies balances. Then the fund is to be closed. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire agencies’ fund (currently $3237.50) to help fund Faith Ministry house construction and then the fund is to be closed. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire youth fund (currently $8,012.79) for middle and high school budget line items and then to close the fund. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire Sponsor-a-Youth fund (currently $3035) to pay for summer mission trips (which were not part of the 2014 budget) and then to close the fund. All future Sponsor-a-Youth donations will go to a new youth missions account. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Motion: Barb motioned to use the entire memorial fund (currently $9025.98) as follows: $4000 for staff continuing education expenses, and $3393.27 for equipment and furniture expenses. The remainder will be put into the miscellaneous designated fund. The fund would then be closed. Ken seconded the motion and it passed.

Finally, Brian discussed the stewardship committee’s plans for the end of the year, including communication to the congregation via emails, letters, pledge cards, and a video.

Moderator’s Recap

The “growth” task teams elder liaisons (Holly, Ken, Jack) gave brief updates on their committees and their group meeting on November 2. Some of the topics discussed were: the recent survey results, web page work, and the book marks to be used to promote the upcoming Advent services.

Motion: Bill motioned to accept the October 7 meeting minutes. Wes seconded the motion and it passed.

Bill closed the meeting with prayer. The next elder board meeting is scheduled for November 18, 2014.

Respectfully submitted,

Jack Curtin

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  October 7, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Shepherding/Prayer:

Barb facilitated a discussion of the first half of Chapter 6 of Brennan Manning’s The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think like Jesus.

 Chris Radtke updated the elders on the women’s retreat that she and Mary Sharpe are leading this month entitled, “You’ve Heard the Words, but Can You Hear the Music?” We then entered into a time of prayer for Chris, Mary, and their ministry.

Pastors’ and Moderator’s Reports:

John led the elders through the current sermon series “Breaking Bread.” The series is designed to move our congregation forward by making our celebration of the Lord’s Table more meaningful and as an invitation to true community. The first Sunday of the series (October 5) featured communion at tables. Future weeks will include Brian preaching (October 12), a Sedar lead by Shay Rehner (October 19), normal communion on November 2, communion started in service, then celebrated in homes by the sharing of a meal (November 9), and culminating on November 23 with Clark preaching.

Barb moved we accept the following new members, seconded by Holly, and unanimously approved:

David LaDale Anderson

Lynn R. Boyd

Timothy John “Tim” Finnegan

Tracy Jane Finnegan

Chris L. Helminiak

Sherry E. Helminiak

John then summarized his processing of the meetings and conversations over the last few weeks related to the need for Grace to develop a philosophy of worship and an answer to the question “What are we trying to build?” He reported that since the last elder meeting, he met separately with several staff leaders to discuss moving forward, and also discussed this topic at the weekly staff meeting. Overall, the feeling is the conversations were important to have in order to gain the buy-in needed.

Brian and John then explained that at the last staff meeting, it was communicated clearly that the direction for Sunday mornings is the teaching of the Word and edification of believers through worship. This direction will guide worship planning until, and if, the elders develop a philosophy of worship different from this instruction. Important questions to be answered are:

Where does evangelism occur at Grace?

How are we going to reach anyone new?

What does it mean to be a member of Grace?

Each elder then shared their thoughts regarding next steps. It was agreed John and Brian would decide if they wanted to attend the Sticky Teams conference, and would communicate their decision to the elders. We then entered into a time of prayer to ask for God’s strength and guidance as we continue the process of discerning His plan for Grace.

Finance Report and Updates:

Brian reported that August results made up for the shortfall in July, and walked through the relevant reports. Barb moved to accept the August 2014 finance report, seconded by Bill, and unanimously approved.

Brian then reported that giving for September fell below budget and that attendance is now tracking at about 300 per week. Cash flow was sufficient to prevent further borrowing on the line of credit, but if trends continue we can expect to borrow an additional $30,000 – $50,000 in October.

Brian distributed a recap on the status with lease negotiations, with no change noted. In addition, the basic medical benefit plans should be ready by November 1st.

Finally, the finance team recommendation for the redesign of designated funds was tabled due to time constraints but will be addressed in the near future.

Moderator’s Recap:

Motion: Holly moved to approve the meeting minutes from Sept. 16; Barb seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, November 4 at 6:30pm at Grace.

The meeting was closed with prayer for Holly and the mission team’s upcoming trip to Mexico.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Taylor

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  September 16, 2014

Present:  Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Absent: Ken Taylor

Shepherding/Prayer: Holly facilitated a discussion of Chapter 6 of Brennan Manning’s The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think like Jesus.

Adult discipleship and class offerings (Barb)

Adult classes are up and running. Additional short-term small-group studies are planned: Barb will offer a class with Pat McInnes and Joel Brown on community and submission; Tom Sartorius will lead an evangelism study; and Karen Hamilton and Elizabeth Voiers will lead a Sunday night study for parents of teens.

Diane Stakoe emailed Jack recently with a request to lead a Holy Yoga class at Grace. Before the elder meeting, the elders had exchanged emails with their thoughts on the class and Jack met with Diane to learn more about Holy Yoga and how Diane would structure the class.

The elders were all in agreement that we should invite Diane to organize a class. Doug Bergeson will now handle the details with Diane in setting up the class.

Pastors’ Report (John and Brian)

Praises: 1) Three people from Grace have reported to John about sharing their faith with co-workers, relatives, etc.; and 2) Ten people attended the most recent Inside Out new-member class, among them two young couples and two families from the youth ministry. People mentioned during the class that Grace is a “real” place (this is a typical sentiment in a new- member class).

The discussion then turned to John’s realization that the church really has no “philosophy of worship.” When there is no clear guideline for the direction of worship, the result is possible friction among those who are planning the worship service.

Brian said that the staff is interested in the whole picture of spiritual growth from bottom (non-believer) to top (mature Christian). The question is: How do we want to do this? A clear philosophy of worship will foster alignment on what we are doing as a church philosophically and theologically.

Brian and John have begun talking about the question: What model do we use for the bigger picture? One or both of them may go to a Sticky Teams conference in October.

The need to develop a philosophy of worship lies with the elders. We will need to answer the questions: 1) What are Grace’s priorities in worship; and 2) How do we get everyone on the same page in worship and in discipleship? The end result should be a clear sense of limits that will serve as a guideline for staff. Barb said that she will meet with Brian and John to begin framing the questions to be asked and addressed regarding a philosophy of worship.

Task Team Updates:

The three task teams that are focused on growth – website, marketing and direct invite – will meet on Sunday, Sept. 21 to discuss short- and long-term goals and methods of communication among each other.

What the task teams are working on might help to clarify Grace’s identity.

Moderator’s Recap:

Motion: Bill moved to approve the meeting minutes from Sept. 2; Wes seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Barb reported that the nominating committee met. Nominations for new elders will open soon. The committee will stress that nominations are members’ responsibility.

Jim Adams has written a letter to update the congregation on a possible move. The goal is for the letter to go out next Wednesday.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, October 7 at 6:30pm at Grace.

Respectfully submitted,

Holly Cook

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  September 2, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Shepherding/Prayer: Barb led continued discussion of chapter 5 of The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning.

Pastor’s Update:
John reported that the Inside-Out (new member) class will take place on Sept. 14 and will start after church. The number of elders needed will depend on how many people attend.

John shared his thoughts on church growth. He said that the health of our church lies in the overlap of worship with the various ministries (small groups, youth ministry, Bible studies, Stephen Ministry, etc.). The people who are involved in these ministries must be part of worship if Grace is to grow. Moreover, all of the ministries must be aligned on what we as a church are trying to build. John will discuss his thoughts on this issue with the Executive Personnel Committee and ultimately with the elders.

Moderator’s Report:
Barb reported that the Nominating Committee will meet Sunday, Sept. 7. The elders agreed that nominations for one or two new elders should open within a few weeks.

Barb asked for input on the funeral policy and attached pastoral guide that she emailed to the elders last week.

Motion: Bill made a motion to approve the funeral policy, with the recommendation to add a sentence in the accompanying pastoral guide concerning pastors presiding over a graveside service in addition to a memorial service; Holly seconded. The motion was approved.

Holly will add the new funeral policy and pastoral guide to section 2 of the policy manual. She will send the final version of the updated manual to Ginger Gentry, who will print it and distribute to staff, elders and committee members.

Review/Update on 2014 Elder Objectives:
Barb led the discussion.
1) Vision – Based on John’s above discussion regarding alignment, do we need to revisit our vision statement?
 John’s current sermon series on modern faith focuses on “a faith that makes sense.”
 As the growth task teams move forward, they will have as their central focus bringing the vision statement to life.
2) Shepherding – Are we fulfilling our duties as shepherds to the congregation? This discussion will be continued.
3) Leadership —
 Team health of elders — We are a healthy team.
 Elder relationship with sub-teams and staff – The committee liaison concept has proven successful.
 Congregation – We are making decisions in a timely manner; communication to the congregation can always improve, but has been strong recently; the elders could be more visible.
4) Growth – Discussion on the growth task forces followed later in the meeting.
5) Murry Haber’s job description/responsibilities – Bill has worked on a transition of Murry’s care responsibilities; as of Sept. 1, we no longer have an agreement with Murry.
6) Policy manual – With the approval of the funeral policy, the 2014 updates are now complete.
7) Financial health – The Finance Committee is working very well together.
8) Clark Rinehart’s ordination – Done.
9) Nominating Committee – Members have been added, a new chair has been on board several months and the nomination process seems to flow smoothly.

Task Team Updates:
Bill (care team): The team will have its first meeting on Sept. 10.
Ken (website team): The team recently had its first meeting. Clark moved to the communications team and Erin Winston has joined the website team. She will be the contact for content updates. The team will soon complete its mission and goals. Team members have divided into sub-teams according to their areas of expertise.
Holly (communications team): Allison Brown, chair of the communications/marketing team, wants the team to poll the congregation with the question “What do you think makes Grace unique?” She will communicate with Nathan Head about announcing the poll in worship. John suggested asking as well, “How long have you been at Grace?”
Jack (direct invite team): The team has had two pre-meetings during which the objectives of the team have been laid out to prospective members. Several people have expressed interest.

Finance and Facilities Updates:
Brian will ask Mark Cates, Finance Committee chair, if he can present a finance update in worship on Sept. 14.

The facilities team met recently. Team member Scott Hurst has been exploring new options for a facility; chair Jim Adams and team member Jim Schaafsma are looking at opportunities with the current property manager. Brian will be discussing financing options with the church’s banker. At this point, no additional facilities communication is planned.

Moderator’s Recap:

Motion: Jack made a motion to accept the Aug. 19 meeting minutes; Wes seconded. The motion was approved.

The meeting ended with a discussion of a sentence from the church’s statement of faith – “We hold that the Bible is trustworthy and true in all matters of life and faith.” Jack had previously sent an email questioning the phrase “in all matters of life and faith”; he feels it might raise doubt about the inerrancy of the Bible. After brief discussion on whether to consider a revision, Barb proposed leaving the phrase as is for now, but encouraged Jack to pray about it over the next month or so.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, September 16 at 6:30pm at Grace.

Respectfully submitted,
Holly Cook

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  Aug 19, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Elder Shepherding: Bill facilitated the discussion on The Importance of Being Foolish, Chapter Five: “A Heart of Forgiveness.”

Pastor’s Update:
John updated the board with a few care concerns. He reported that several children’s ministry families are helping on Sundays; however more help is needed particularly with infant care. The preaching Series “A Faith That Makes Sense” will start on Sunday with “What does it mean to Walk by Faith.” He has also begun pre-marital counseling with a couple.

Finance and Facilities Updates: Brian reported on the following:

Review of our 2014 Financial Goals:
a) End the year with $100,000 in the general fund with income exceeding expenses by a minimum of $45,000.
b) Schedule stewardship as an annual initiative: Grow contribution income by up to 1% with a goal of $1,200,000 in general giving not including designated giving.
c) Set missions giving as a percentage of operational giving. (We set the amount at $20,000.)
d) Release a search team to see what options are available regarding facilities with a possibility of moving sooner than June 2016. (Done at March 4 elder meeting and is now in progress)

Review of Financial topics from 1/21:
a) Missions giving: On track to meet the $20,000 goal at year end. Any additional amount will come from designated giving accounts.
b) Financial summary simplification for church communication: Finance has reported to the congregation three times so far this year. Additional improvements and reporting are planned.
c) Designated fund plan: Brian and Finance are developing a set of recommendations that will be brought presented to the Elders in October.
d) Cash flow: It is expected that we will borrow again at the end of September
e) Projected end-of-year financials: Based on our 2014 first half income and expense actuals, and second half projections, we are on track to reach our year-end financial goals.
f) Positives: January through June projections and actuals were fairly close, designated accounts will be reduced in 2014, and there is cash in the savings account.
g) Challenges: For giving purposes, growth in worship attendance needs continued addressing. If attendance is down, then we may be trying to meet our financial goals with fewer people giving.
h) 401K plan: A change was made and we now have a new program and advisor.
i) Future facilities: No new status was reported.
j) Next facilities communication to the congregation: Barb has drafted a letter which will go out for review by the board and be distributed to the congregation this week.

Personnel Updates: Brian presented a plan from Personnel for the remaining 6 weeks of Katie Hemp’s employment. Her final day with the church will be September 30. Personnel will next meet with Katie and begin the work to fill this vacancy. Brian, along with Personnel, will develop an organizational plan, including Clark’s role, for how middle school ministry will be managed.

Moderator’s Recap:
Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Wes, to approve the August 5 elder meeting minutes. The motion passed.

Task Team Updates:
A group meeting of the 3 growth task teams has not been scheduled, but is targeted for September after each of the teams has met individually. Each task team is encouraged to craft a mission statement. Bill reported the care ministry team is now fully staffed and plans to meet on August 21.

Barb ended the meeting by opening and closing the final prayer at 9:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Rieth

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  August 5, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Present for facilities discussion: Jim Adams

Elder Shepherding: Barb led a time of prayer which was shared by everyone.

Pastor’s and Moderator’s reports:
Baptism Policy: Barb led a brief discussion of the new policy.

Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Wes, to accept the latest version of the Baptism policy as written. The motion passed.

Preaching Series: John updated the board on the current and upcoming preaching series: The “One” series was kicked off this week, and will be followed by the series “A Faith That Makes Sense,” “The Table,” and possibly “Joy” for the Advent series.

Return to two services August 24: John led the discussion, and feedback from staff, elders, and the congregations was strongly in favor of staying with one service at this time.

Motion: Wes made a motion, seconded by Barb, to continue with one worship service. The motions passed, and the congregation will be informed on Sunday, August 10.

Task Team Updates:

Web Site Team: Ken reported the team is fully in place.

Communications/Outreach Team: Holly reported the team planned to hold an initial meeting on Wednesday, August 6, with more members needed to serve on this team.

Direct Invitation Team: Jack reported that Mike Lanio agreed to chair this team, which is still forming.

Care Ministry Team: Bill reported that the team lead and a total of 6 are in place. First meeting is targeted for Aug 20.

Interim care training: Bill reported that a plan was developed with Murry and reviewed with John. Recruiting and training lay people should begin the week of August 10.

John suggested that each team craft a mission statement. Also, the 3 growth task teams are looking to have a kick off meeting together to ensure good communication among them.

Finance and Facilities Updates:
Finance policy approval: Barb led the discussion of updated finance policy which includes new wording in the “Designated Gifts” section.

Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Wes, to approve the finance policy as written. The motion passed.

Finance report and recommendations: Barb pointed out the items in the finance report that required board action:

Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Ken, to accept the Finance Committee’s recommendation giving the committee, Becky Crenshaw, and Brian authorization to transfer funds from the line of credit to the operating checking account as needed for cash flow purposes, with the provision that the finance team keeps the elders informed of all cash transfers. This authorization will expire on January 1, 2015. The motion passed.

In addition, Barb noted that the Finance Committee is requesting time in worship on Sunday, August 17, to update the congregation on the church’s cash flow. The request will be considered and calendared with the worship planning team.

Facilities Update: Jim Adams, chair of the facilities team, and Brian updated the elders on where the discussions are at this point with our landlord and with the possible new space. Each elder communicated his/her thoughts and feelings regarding a potential move in the near future. At the conclusion of this discussion, the elders tasked Jim and Brian to continue the talks and process already begun with the landlord. Jim then explained next possible steps:

  1. The landlord and the party interested in Grace’s current property would come to agreement.
  2. The landlord and Grace would negotiate and create a lease agreement (approx. 2 to 3 weeks).
  3. Finance will review the details and bring a recommendation to the elders.

Brian suggested a timeline and plan to communicate information to our members. Initially, Barb and John will make a joint announcement in worship on Sunday, August 10, regarding both the plan to stay at one service and the status of the new facilities search. From there, Jim will craft an email communication to the church, with subsequent emails and explanation of the bigger picture narrative of “why.” When details are finalized, the elders discussed holding a town hall meeting for the members.

Personnel Update:
Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Ken, to accept Katie Hemp’s letter of resignation. The motion passed.
Personnel will meet with Katie as soon as possible to develop plans for her final weeks. A timeline for announcing her resignation and celebrating her ministry will also be developed.

Moderator’s Recap:
Nominating Committee: Barb updated the board that this committee will begin its work to open elder nominations in early September.

Motion: John made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve the July 1 elder meeting minutes. The motion passed.
Jack closed the meeting in prayer at 10:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Rieth

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  July 1, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley

Elder Shepherding: Wes facilitated the discussion on The Importance of Being Foolish, Chapter 4: “Finding the Father.”

Pastor’s Update:
John indicated that the staff lunch with Murry and Sharon was very positive. VBS is complete, and staff members were all present for staff meeting. Pre-marital counseling is going well. John will be on vacation from July 13th to 26th or 27th.

Financial Update:
Brian and Wes led a discussion of current financial compared to the same months last year. Last year, we did not prepay trips, and therefore had large bills in July. We also had large increase in giving to offset the expenses.

The elders briefly reviewed April and May financials: loss of $10,000 in April, some prepayment of trips in April contributed to increased expenses. There was some drop in income in May, with a loss of $20,600 in May. At end of May, the church had YTD loss of $48,000.

The elders also reviewed income/expense YTD and attendance/giving for April, May, and June. We have $55k cash in bank at end of June, which is a very good position compared to last year.

A video of financial message will be coming in July, and a video link will be sent by email to members.

We need to carefully consider the message that we give during announcements regarding our financial situation.

Based on simple projections for next 6 months, we could end the year meeting or potentially exceeding our budget goals.

We need to hold down expenses in second half of year, which should be doable based on fewer trips and Murry’s retirement.

Facilities Update: Brian led the discussion on the facilities update. Hope Church is probably no longer interested in our facility. World Overcomers is interested, has made an initial “low ball” offer. We reviewed the fit-up estimates. Brian has asked Jim Adams to talk directly with the broker for World Overcomers to expedite getting to a decision.

Jim Adams has agreed to write up a summary of our status with regard to moving to share with congregation.

Stewardship Plans: Stewardship team held its first meeting, including Harris Winston (chair), Joel Brown, G Walker, and Skip White. Other members on this committee are Rob Hounshell and Jim Adams. They are off to a good start, focusing on 5 areas of stewardship: time, talent, treasure, prayer, and presence.

Policy Manual, Finance Section: The elders reviewed “Section 9: Church Finances,” focusing on changes brought forth by the Finance Committee. The most significant change occurred under Designated Gifts. We discussed an apparent conflict between two sentences in this section: “Designated contributions are held by the church ‘in trust’ for the specific purpose outlined by the donor,” and “The Board of Elders will have discretion over the funds donated.” After motioning and voting to initially approve Section 9, the elders rescinded that approval and tasked Ken Taylor with rewriting this section. Ken will send the modified version by email to the elders and Finance Committee.

Personnel Updates:
Bill presented the Personnel Committee report and recommendations that the church contract with Murry on a part-time basis from July 7 through August 31 to provide some continuity in congregational care. One responsibility includes working with Bill to recruit and train a team to provide care as a short term solution.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve recommendation to contract with Murry. The motion passed.
The elders also briefly reviewed Clark’s role and development plan.

Moderator’s Recap:
Motion: Jack made a motion, seconded by Brian, to approve the June 17 meeting minutes. The motion passed.

Task Team Updates: Formation of these teams is ongoing. Ken raised issues concerning staff members serving on these teams, such as how many teams the staff members should commit to, and how to determine “best fit” regarding areas of interest and skill sets. In addition, Holly spoke about the interconnectedness of the teams’ work and the need for ongoing communication among them. Brian agreed to discuss committee assignments with specific staff members.

Baptism Document: The elders briefly discussed the wording that baptism needs to be supervised by a pastor. Further discussion of the updated baptism policy was tabled due to time; hopefully, a thorough review will occur at the next elder meeting.

General: John reminded the elders that they are invited to pray with worship team Sundays at 9:40 am; greeters pray at 9:30 am.

Next Elder Meeting: Barb indicated no additional July meeting unless necessary. Next meeting is slated for Tuesday, August 5. Bill ended the meeting with prayer at 9:50 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Wes Lowder

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  June 17, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Bill Rieth

Elder Shepherding: John facilitated the elder discussion of The Importance of Being Foolish, staying on Chapter 3, “Diversions.” He then updated the board on the continued positive reception to the unified service this summer and his willingness to oversee pre-marital counseling and perform a wedding at Grace, which the elders approved for him to do. John ended his updates with his ideas for a preaching series next year on “The Table” which may entail more frequent communion during that time. John then offered prayer for the evening.

Murry’s Celebration and Retirement: John and Barb updated the elders on plans for the June 29 celebration for Murry’s retirement. Barb confirmed with Holly that Personnel will oversee the reception after worship.

The elders discussed the possibility of Murry continuing at Grace, on a contractual basis, for a period of time after June 29 and agreed that Personnel should entertain this idea with Murry.

Seminary Request, Rebekah Worley: Barb led the discussion regarding Rebekah’s request to be taken “under care “at Grace as a third-year Duke Divinity student. Rebekah is in the process of discerning her call and area of ministry. Concurrently, Rebekah is requesting financial support from Grace via a $1,000 gift to the divinity school on her behalf as part of the “Celebrating God’s Call” program which Duke sponsors. If approved, Duke will match the church gift with its own $1,000 to be applied to Rebekah’s tuition.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Holly, that Rebekah be supported by Grace and be taken “under care” for the remainder of her seminary education. The motion passed.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Ken, that a gift of $1,000 on Rebekah’s behalf be approved to accompany her application to the “Celebrating God’s Call” program at Duke Divinity School. The motion passed. Brian recused himself from this vote.

Facilities Update: Brian updated the board regarding next steps with the Neuse Baptist Church facility. The facilities team, Finance Committee, and BPG, working together, should have substantive information for the board to review in the near future. The goal is for the elders to receive a logical stair-step, or flow, of pertinent information as it becomes available. Hopefully, the Finance Committee will have the numbers, well as a recommendation to the elders, for the July 1 board meeting.

Elder Liaison Assignments, Task Teams, and Growth: Barb opened the discussion with prayer and an overview of elder liaison assignments for standing committees as well as task team elder involvement over the next several months. Reorganization so that the elders are serving where they sense call and expertise is the goal.

Ken then led a brief discussion based on scope and organization regarding the “Growth Initiative Idea List” which he compiled from elder input in the areas of advertising/marketing, direct invitation, and Web site. These initiatives will be addressed whether we move or stay at our current facility. Each area has potential action items to encourage growth; in addition, a care ministry task team has also been approved by the elders and requires a liaison.

The elders discussed and identified areas where they would like to serve:
Moderator: Barb
Executive Personnel Liaison: Jack
Nominating Liaison: Barb
Personnel Liaison: Bill
Finance Liaison: Wes
Care Ministry Task Team: Bill
Marketing/Advertising Task Team: Holly
Web Site Task Team: Ken
Direct Invitation Task Team: Jack

Each elder on a task team will serve in a liaison capacity, not chairperson. The chairs themselves should determine the team and the objectives, based on the elders’ discussions and goals.

Action items: To that end, the elders determined next steps for task team formation:
• We will email chairperson and team member suggestions to the elders serving as task team liaisons.
• All elders will be copied on these emails for a consistent flow of communication.
• Task team chairs, with the help and encouragement of the elder liaisons, will then recruit their team members, ideally 4, not including liaison.
• The goal is for all teams to be in place by August 1.

Moderator’s Recap:
Motion: Ken made a motion, seconded by Wes, to approve the June 3 elder meeting minutes. The motion passed.

Barb reminded the elders that the next communion Sunday is on the July 4 holiday weekend. Wes Lowder is the head elder for that Sunday.

Due to vacations and absences, Barb shared the possibility of the board meeting just once in July instead of twice. This will be confirmed at the next elder meeting and is also contingent on whether specific issues require discussion and resolution prior to August.

Jack ended the meeting with prayer at 9:30 pm.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, July 1, at 6:30 pm, at Grace.
Respectfully submitted,
Barb Sibley

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  June 3, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Wes Lowder
Present for facilities discussion: Jim Adams, chair of Facilities Committee

Shepherding: Brian facilitated the elder discussion of The Importance of Being Foolish, Chapter 3, “Diversions,” as the elders read from Romans 8:1-17 and shared stories.

Facilities Update: With the elders having toured the two BPG sites, Jim and Brian led a discussion about next steps, the goal being to determine if these options work for the church. Some pro’s and con’s of each location were discussed, and they are as follows:

Questions regarding Gresham Road location (currently Neuse Baptist Church):
• Will there be sufficient traffic flow in this mainly industrial area?
• Does this location help us achieve our objectives for helping people find us?
• Will there be a financial savings with the up-fit costs, enough to warrant a move?
• Will the space feel right and comfortable and encourage people to bring their friends?
• Would a move change the culture and encourage us to stake out a presence, “fish,” and reach people to invite them?
• Can signage be improved?
• Is this too much change (understanding that change can be a good thing as well, providing positive energy and a sense of pulling together for a common purpose)?
• Will it appear as an improvement to our members?
• Most importantly, is this move something God is calling us to do?

Positives pointed out for this space is that it’s already configured as a church, and it has possibilities for a workable kitchen space.

Observations regarding the 2641 Sumner Boulevard space (dubbed “19/6” referring to its square footage of 19,600):
• The space is a blank slate and can be designed several different ways
• Space feels fresher since it’s a newer building than the Gresham Lake Road space
• The space definitely feels smaller
• Since it’s a blank slate, up-fit costs will likely be significant
• Facility is in the same general location and may not feel like an intentional move
• Challenges exist with moving nearby and having a large church inhabit current space

The overriding question for the elders: Can we envision ourselves in whatever new location we decide upon, if we choose to move?

The elders then viewed drawings of both facilities at Gresham Lake Road and Sumner Blvd. and considered several different layouts of space in both facilities. At Gresham Lake Road, possibilities exist to add space; however, such additions would mean increases in square footage and up-fit costs.

Action item: The elders agreed to take the next step with the Gresham Lake Road facility and requested Jim to invest in space planning/architectural advice and resulting information in specific up-fit costs. The board concluded this time with praying and thanking Jim for his work and that of the Facilities Committee.

Personnel Updates: For Murry’s current job responsibilities and how they may be handled after Murry’s retirement, Holly shared the findings of the Personnel Committee regarding overall pastoral roles and responsibilities, including hours/week time commitments for John and Clark. In addition, John, Brian, and Clark have already discussed some ideas about distributing some additional pastoral tasks among them, which Brian shared with the elders. At issue currently is how to cover specific ministry tasks associated with Stephen Ministry, 2nd Cup, hospital visits, and counseling.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Brian, to accept Personnel Committee’s recommendation that the elders form a task team to determine long-term, holistic care ministry at Grace. The motion passed. (The timeframe for this task team’s work to be complete is January 2015.)

Motion: Brian made a motion, seconded by Jack, for Personnel and the pastors to formulate a 12-month interim plan to manage Murry’s responsibilities to be approved by the elders at their July 1 meeting. The motion passed.

Policy Manual Updates: The elders reviewed the Policy and Personnel Manual updates which Holly and Jack oversaw. Documents reviewed included the discipleship initiative written by Doug Bergeson; head elder communion duties; church organization charts; procedures for calling pastors, and also revisions regarding ordination; stewardship documents on tithing and philosophy of giving; church timeline updates; and several revisions/additions to the Personnel Manual. A few minor revisions to these updates were suggested, and Holly will see that they are implemented and then distributed.

Motion: Bill made a motion, seconded by Brian, to accept the revisions and new policy additions, and also to include in the manual previously approved documents as presented. The motion passed.

It was noted that updates on the baptism and funeral policies, as well as church finances, are still in progress or under review.

Pastor’s and Moderator’s Reports: John mentioned being asked to oversee pre-marital counseling and an upcoming wedding at Grace. He will get more information to the elders on this request for the elders’ approval.

Unified service: John noted the overall positive feel of the June 1 unified service and led a discussion of several plans being finalized for future summer services including a Father’s Day coffee-doughnuts event on June 15; Murry’s retirement celebration on June 29; and a pot-luck lunch, combined with a Stop Hunger Now packaging event, on July 13. In addition, Sarah Prince will be preaching at Grace on Sunday, July 27

Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Ken, to approve the May 20 elder meeting minutes. The motion passed.

Overview, 2014 elder objectives: Barb led a brief discussion on the 2014 elder objectives as they specifically relate to growth action items and care ministries in light of Murry’s retirement. She asked the elders to pray and consider where they may want to serve as liaisons for either the standing committees of Finance, Personnel, Nominating, or for sub-teams pertaining to elder objectives for 2014. The action items for growth, as well as team and committee liaison assignments, will be a main topic of the June 17 elder meeting.

Monthly schedule for elders: Barb also asked the elders to take note of the rotating monthly communion and minute-taking schedule for the elders through the end of 2014.

Barb ended the meeting with prayer at 10:15 pm.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, June 17, at 6:30 pm, at Grace.
Respectfully submitted,
Barb Sibley

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  May 20, 2014

Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, Ken Taylor, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Present for facilities discussion:  Jim Adams

Scripture/Prayer
Jack led discussion of the “Transparency” chapter in The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning. Jack concluded by reading Colossians 3:1-4. John then asked the group to pray for various topics related to the church.

Facilities Update
Jim and Brian provided an update on the Facilities Committee’s investigation into other potential facilities for Grace. Two facilities, both managed by current property manager BPG, in the area are possibilities, and the Grace staff, finance committee members, and elders will tour them by the end of May. Jim also reported that two other churches have serious interest in leasing our current space. Property manager Mike Greene is willing to terminate our current lease and start a new one for either of the other two facilities that Grace is considering. After the tours are complete, more discussions about our options and desires will occur.

Baptism Discussion
After deliberation on the topic of baptism and, more specifically, how Grace should respond to baptism requests from individuals who were previously baptized, the following motions were made:
Motion: Barb made a motion for Grace to perform baptisms for any person of age who has:
• Searched and studied the Scriptures regarding the topic of baptism
• Concluded that she/he should be baptized as a sign of her/his trust in Jesus as Savior
• Personally made a baptism request to the pastors or elder board
• Been counseled by a Grace pastor who approves the request
• Received the elder board’s approval

Holly seconded the motion, and it passed.

Motion: Barb made a motion that she (in conjunction with the pastors) craft a new document titled “Belief and Practice of Baptism at Grace” to be approved and incorporated into the Grace policy manual. The motion was seconded by Bill and passed.

Ordination Council Report (Holly/Brian/John)
On May 12, Clark Rinehart met with his Ordination Council, which has recommended that Clark be ordained as a pastor of Grace Community Church.

Motion: Jack made a motion to approve Clark Rinehart’s request for ordination on June 1, 2014. Wes seconded the motion, and it passed.

Preparations for the ordination, which will occur after the 10 am unified service on June 1, are being finalized. The board is happy for Clark and excited about his ordination.

Pastor’s and Moderator’s Reports
Motion: Bill made a motion to approve the May 6 elders’ meeting minutes. Ken seconded the motion, and it passed.
Preparations for Murry and Sharon Haber’s retirement celebration on June 29 were briefly discussed.

Motion: Barb made a motion to accept the Nominating Committee’s recommendation for Chris Latta to join the Personnel Committee. Holly seconded the motion, and it passed.

A discussion of identified action items for growth is tabled until June.

Next elder meeting: Tuesday, June 3, at 6:30 pm, Room 121,

Respectfully submitted,
Jack Curtin

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  May 6, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Ken Taylor

Scripture/Prayer
Barb led a discussion of the 1st chapter (titled “Truth”) of The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning.

Pastor’s and Moderator’s Reports

Motion: Bill made a motion to approve the April 29 elder’s meeting minutes. Wes seconded the motion and it passed.
Motion: Holly made a motion to approve the May 4 congregational meeting minutes. Bill seconded the motion and it passed.

The resignation of Alec Sharpe from the elder board was accepted.

Baptism
The board held an in-depth discussion on the topic of baptism and re-baptism. The goal of the discussion was to decide whether pastors at Grace would baptize a believer who was previously baptized as an infant, but would like to be baptized again as a believer. The board wrestled with the issue but did not come to a final conclusion. The question will be discussed and hopefully decided upon at the next elder meeting on May 20.

Unified Summer Worship Service and Communication
Following up on the April 29 motion to offer a unified worship service at Grace this summer, the board decided that 10 am would be an appropriate time to conduct the service. The unified service will commence on June 1 with Clark’s ordination; the church will return to two services on August 24, at 9:15 am and 11:00 am. Holly agreed to draft an email communication about this change to be sent later in the week. In addition, the change will also be announced from the pulpit on Sunday, May 11.

The meeting was closed in prayer at 10:10 pm.

Next elder meeting: Tuesday, May 20, at 6:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack Curtin

Minutes for the Grace Community Church Special Congregational Meeting
Sunday, May 4, 2014, Commencing at the Conclusion of the 9:15 am Service

Barb Sibley, Board of Elders moderator, called the meeting to order at the end of the 9:15 am worship service, stating the purpose of the meeting was to conduct a vote of the members to elect three candidates to serve on the Nominating Committee. Barb called the meeting to order by declaring a quorum of the members present.

Barb reviewed the role of the Nominating Committee and that a member vote is required for candidates to serve on it.

The members were then presented with the three candidates recommended by the Nominating Committee and affirmed by the elders to serve for three years: Scott Greene, Elizabeth Voiers, and G Walker. Barb explained that these three, if elected, would immediately replace three committee members rotating off: Joe Toomey, Erin Winston, and Jim Adams. Barb also reviewed the remaining members serving on the Nominating Committee.

At this point, a motion was made and seconded to open and conduct the vote for this slate of candidates to serve on the Nominating Committee. Barb pointed out the options on the paper ballots distributed throughout Grace Hall to vote for all three candidates or each one individually.

This special meeting was kept open until the end of the 11 am worship service, when Barb reviewed the quorum and the actions initiated at the earlier service and finished overseeing the paper ballot vote-casting for the Nominating Committee candidates.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting after the members had an opportunity to cast their votes, over which Barb presided, until 12:20 pm.

In all, 151 votes were cast via paper ballots; in a subsequent communication, the congregation was informed that Scott Greene, Elizabeth Voiers and G Walker were elected by the members to serve on the Nominating Committee.

Respectfully submitted,
Barb Sibley

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  April 29, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley.
Also present: Elders-elect Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Ken Taylor

The meeting was called to order by Barb Sibley who led devotions from the gospel of John and Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus.

Pastor’s Update: John discussed the new sermon series “Don’t Fight Naked – Putting on the Full Armor of God.” John also mentioned a need for further discussion concerning our policy on baptism.

Growth Action Items:
The elders discussed the pro’s and con’s of moving to one worship service as well as how long to stay at one service beyond the summer.

The advantages include the following: being together in one room; creating energy with more people in Grace Hall at the same time; having some flexibility with other adult ed offerings; having more opportunities for fellowship events after worship; acknowledging the request of members to move to one service; and offering the worship team a shorter day on Sundays.

The risks include the following: losing some members; being vulnerable to not growing in number but shrinking on Sunday mornings by narrowing our members’ options; impacting the children’s ministry offerings and their leaders; not experiencing the encouragement of a second sermon for John; encountering the emotional upheaval that change typically causes; and coming up against the 85% room capacity “rule” and trying to figure out how to handle it by possibly expanding, once again, to two services.

The elders spent more time in prayer and then, one by one, expressed their preferences.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Holly, to move to one service beginning June 1 and lasting through August 17. We will return to two services August 24. The motion passed.

Since time did not allow for further discussion on growth action items in the identified areas of Web site, Web presence, and advertising, Barb collected copies of the elders’ suggestions in these three areas. She will synthesize the lists and distribute to the elders later in the week via email for further discussion at the May 6 elder meeting.

Finance Update

Harris reviewed the financials with the elders, sharing the income/expenses for the first quarter of 2014:
Actual income – $267,970 Actual expenses – $285,368
Budgeted income – $255,000 Budgeted expenses – $300,460
$12,000 over budgeted income $15,000 under budgeted expenses
In addition, the church ended April with more cash on hand than it had in January.

In other general finance updates:
• Facilities: Jim Adams is organizing team to meet in near future.
• Stewardship: Team is being formed with Harris as chairman.
• Communications: Finance Committee will update the congregation regarding the church finances as we head into summer on Sunday, May 18.
• Projected income forecast: The current trend indicates we will meet our income goal of $1,170,000 for 2014.

Moderator’s Recap
Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Jack, to accept the April 18, 2014, minutes. The motion passed.

Barb reminded everyone that this Sunday, May 4, is the ordination/installation for Wes, Bill and Ken. She also confirmed the congregational meeting for Sunday, May 4, to elect Scott Greene, Elizabeth Voiers and G Walker to serve on the Nominating Committee.

Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to accept three new members. The motion passed. The new members are Laura Rinehart and Joel and Allison Brown.

Barb reminded everyone that the elders will begin the book The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning at the next meeting. Barb will facilitate discussion on the first chapter.

Barb closed the meeting in prayer at 9:10 pm. The next elder meeting is Tuesday, May 6, at 6:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Alec Sharpe

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  April 8, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Also present: Elders-elect Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth, Ken Taylor

Dinner was provided by Hope and Ricky Tharrington, who stayed for the meal and the initial portion of the elder meeting. Barb called the meeting to order at 6:20 pm.

Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to accept the March 18, 2014, minutes. The motion passed.
Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Harris, to accept the April 6, 2014, minutes from the annual congregational meeting to elect elders. The motion passed.
Motion: Alec made a motion, seconded by Harris, to accept the proposed slate of nominees for the Nominating Committee. The motion passed.

On April 19, in a subsequent email action of the board, Holly made a motion, seconded by John, to call a special meeting of the congregation for Sunday, May 4, 2014, to commence at the end of the 9:15 service and to adjourn at the end of the 11am service in Grace Hall for the purpose of electing three new members to serve on the Nominating Committee. The motion passed. The three who have agreed to serve if elected are Scott Greene, Elizabeth Voiers and G Walker.

Barb proposed a new book, Brennan Manning’s The Importance of Being Foolish, as the focus of shepherding time for future elder meetings. John shared the schedule for Holy Week and asked for elders to assist in serving Communion at the Good Friday service at 6:30pm.

At 7pm, the staff joined the elders for a joint meeting to discuss action items for the elders’ growth objective for 2014. Barb opened this time in prayer and Scripture from Phil. 2:1-11.

Grace staff present: Becky Crenshaw, Doug Funk, Ginger Gentry, Nathan Head, Clark Rinehart, Julie Sauls, Erin Winston
Staff absent: Murry Haber, Katie Hemp

Key framing question for elders and staff: What three specific action items will contribute to growth (defined as attendance on Sunday mornings) for 2014?

After reviewing the action items previously discussed by the elders—updating the Grace Web site; establishing a Web presence; undertaking advertising; holding onto members, or “closing the back door”; organizing a big event or conference; doing evangelism; and also adding another item, which is moving to one worship service—the elders and staff exchanged ideas, hopes, advantages, and challenges for each idea.

Brian led an overall discussion of targeting a figure of 400 average weekly attendance in 2014 as a worthy growth goal. Average weekly worship attendance so far this year is 394.

At 8:40pm, elders and staff paused for prayer, after which Brian oversaw an initial ranking from each elder and staff member for the growth action items presented.

One item from the ranking that gained momentum was moving from two worship services on Sunday mornings to one. This change, if approved, would commence on June 1, 2014, to coincide with Clark Rinehart’s ordination as pastor.

The remaining items did not garner a clear consensus from the elder/staff rankings.

It was agreed that all present would pray about the worship service change, as well as the other items, so that a total of three specific actions related to 2014 growth could be identified in a timely manner, namely before the onset of summer.

Harris closed the meeting with prayer at 9:10 pm.

The next elder meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29, at 6:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Alec Sharpe
Elder Meeting Minutes:  March 4, 2014
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Harris Winston

Scripture/Prayer:  Brian offered a meditation on John 17.

Elder Candidates — Guest Brad Gwinn, chair of the Nominating Committee – Brad gave a thorough summary of each of the elder candidates that the committee sent to the board last week. Board members then had an open discussion about each of the candidates.

Motion: Jack moved to open the voting for the candidates; Brian seconded. The motion was approved.

The voting then took place and three elder candidates were approved: Wes Lowder, Bill Rieth and Ken Taylor. Barb will talk with Joe Toomey, past board moderator, about logistics surrounding the congregational meeting to elect the elder candidates. Brian will talk to Nathan about videotaping the candidates so that they can be introduced to the congregation before the vote.

Review of growth goals and suggested strategies – Barb — The elders then discussed growth goals for the church related to the following statement and questions: We all agree that Sunday morning is a positive. What then needs to happen in order to achieve the desired outcome (growth)? What is the block?

John reported on the staff’s discussion about growth during a retreat earlier in the week. The staff voiced the following thoughts: the website needs work and we need a greater online presence; we lack visibility and are not known in our community (noting that location is not the same as visibility); we are not a “risky” church; we are not “branded” and have no common language; we should engage the core as well and invite the people who are already here to be part of solving the growth conundrum; the worship service is geared to a traditional format; are we trying to do too much, and operating as bigger than we are?

The staff advised the elders to be decisive and use the staff as a resource. Brian reminded the elders that summertime is a good time for planning, but not a good time for action, since so many staff members are away on mission trips and other church business.

Brian asked whether we will be a board that implements or a board that charts a course for others to implement. That question remains to be resolved.

John reminded us that we should not ask ourselves if we have the perfect growth plan, but rather if we are intentional about trying to grow.

Other questions that remain to be answered: How do we identify which growth issues to tackle first? How we should define growth – in terms of total attendance on Sundays or the number of new worshippers?

Brian added that we need to place priority on resolving what will happen with regard to Murry Haber’s responsibilities once Murry retires on June 30.

Moderator’s recap

Motion: Holly moved to approve the February 18 meeting minutes on the condition that Barb will amend them based on Brian’s corrections of financial information; Alec seconded. The motion was approved.

An email confirming Murry’s retirement will go out tomorrow (Wednesday, March 5). Barb’s letter updating the congregation on staff developments (Nathan’s hiring as the Director of Music and Worship and Clark’s upcoming ordination) and the 2014 budget will go out sometime next week. There will be an accompanying presentation during worship on March 16 – by a finance team member and an elder (in an email after the meeting, Jack offered to be the elder rep).

The meeting ended with prayer.

In subsequent action of the board via email:

Motion: Barb moved that the Board of Elders call the annual meeting of the congregation for the purpose of electing elders for Sunday, April 6, to open at the end of the 9:15 service and conclude at the beginning of the 11 am service; Brian seconded. The motion was approved.

Barb will draft a notice announcing the annual meeting that will be emailed to the congregation next week (and mailed to those members who do not have email addresses).

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, March 18 at 6:30pm at Grace.

Respectfully submitted,
Holly Cook

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  February 18, 2014

Present:  Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Finance Committee members present: Mark Cates, Kathy Starkey, Skip White
Finance Committee members absent: Andy Page, Jim Schaafsma
Also present: Jim Adams

Scripture/Prayer

John read Romans 12:1-2 and discussed how discipleship involves risk and radical submission to God vs. conformity to this age.

Finance Topics

Mark presented the Finance Committee’s recommended budget for 2014 totaling $1,130,119.   Brian and Harris helped explain the details during the discussion with the elders.

One of the items in the recommended budget is a fixed amount of $20,000 for missions outreach.

Motion: Based on the difficult financial picture presented to the elder board by the Finance Committee (in this and the last elder meeting), Barb made a motion to rescind the motion passed on January 8, 2014, to give 5% of the funds given to the operating budget in 2014 to missions.  Holly seconded this new motion (to rescind the previous motion) and it passed.

Motion: Harris made a motion to accept the budget proposed by the Finance Committee totaling $1,130,119.  Holly seconded the motion and it passed.

Cash flow was discussed (and drove the reduced budget proposal this year).  Due to reduced cash on hand, dispersement of the designated accounts will have to be on an as-available basis in 2014.

In order to prevent the amount owed the mission outreach designated fund from growing, the Finance Committee recommended that from this point forward, all new funds designated to missions will be put into a separate bank account (vs. merely adding to the designated account balance on paper).  The remaining amount owed to this fund will be transferred to this account as finances allow.

Motion: Holly made a motion to approve the Finance Committee’s recommendation that all new funds donated to the mission outreach designated fund be placed directly into a separate bank account.  Alec seconded the motion and it passed.

Brian presented the January 2014 financial data which included the fact that we received $15,883 less income than what was spent.

Jim Adams (a member and commercial real estate agent by trade) then led a discussion about our facilities.  The current lease expires in June 2016. The consensus of the Finance Committee is that a substantial amount of Grace’s budget is given to pay the monthly rent, more than we can currently afford.  The discussion centered on options that may be viable and recommended that a team be empowered to further explore options to possibly move or to stay in our present space.  Jim suggested we have two reasonable options to consider:

  • Move to a less expensive facility
  • Seek some individual investors who would be willing to purchase a facility that Grace can then sub lease

Brian presented a third option, which is to stay where we currently are and sign a long-term lease.

Motion: Barb made a motion that we release the Finance Committee to appoint an ad hoc team to actively explore our facility options.  Harris seconded the motion and it passed.

Elder business/moderator’s recap

Motion:  Alec made a motion to approve the February 4 minutes.  Harris seconded the motion and it passed.

John let the group know a new member class is scheduled for Feb 23.  (Subsequent to the elders’ meeting, this class was canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.)

Murry Haber has submitted his letter of resignation to the elders. He will retire from his current position at Grace on June 30, 2014, and move to the mountains at that time.  Murry and Sharon are greatly loved by the members of Grace and will be missed. In addition, it was decided that an announcement in worship regarding Murry’s upcoming retirement will be made on Sunday, March 2, with an email to the congregation to follow that same week.

Barb shared that the Nominating Committee hopes to present the elders with a slate of new elder candidates to be voted on at the March 4 elder meeting.

Holly let the group know that Clark’s ordination process on track for his ordination on Sunday June 1, 2014.  Elder involvement in the upcoming months to mentor Clark was discussed.

Barb and Pat McInnes will be facilitating a small group for 7 weeks during Lent called “Engage,” which involves intentional focus on spiritual habits involving community.

The meeting ended with prayer at 9:15 pm.

Next meeting is scheduled for March 4 at 6:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack Curtin

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  February 4, 2014

Present:  Holly Cook, Jack Curtin (via phone), Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley

Personnel Committee members present:  Cindy Hays, David Matzer, Ken Taylor, Greg Westfall

Personnel Committee members absent:  Kay Gamble

Finance Committee members present:  Mark Cates, Andy Page, Jim Schaafsma, Kathy Starkey, Skip White

Scripture/Prayer – John and Alec

Financial Discussion Review

Harris, Brian and Mark led a review of the financial discussion from the January 21 elder meeting (detailed in the minutes from that meeting).

First, we reviewed the general principles that define “financial health” at Grace. The principle related to attendance was expanded. It now reads:

Attendance and/or growth is directly connected to the financial health of our church. Our long-term health requires a consistent pattern of growth in attendance as measured by a matrix to be created by the elders. A declining growth pattern over several years will undermine the church’s financial health. An increasing growth pattern each year may provide increased resources to support our financial health.

Greg (from Personnel Committee) asked if the general principles defining financial health should include a statement about personnel expenses (currently 50%-54% of the operational budget).

Brian asked whether the language contained in the principles should be stronger (i.e., more definitive) and noted that the principles should be added to the Finance Committee section of the church Policy Manual.

Barb said that we need as well to communicate the definitions to the congregation.

We next reviewed the “parking lot” topics discussed on January 21 and set dates for future discussion:

  • Missions giving – discussed during this meeting (see below)
  • Future facilities (current lease ends on June 30, 2016):  February 18
  • Attendance in Grace Hall and/or growth:  February 18
  • Method for forecasting projected income: March 18 (Finance Committee will present a proposal to the elders by the March 4 meeting)
  • Financial summary simplification for church communication: March 18 (Finance Committee will make a recommendation to the elders)
  • Designated fund plan  (deciding if and how to consolidate and fund Grace’s designated accounts):  May 20

Next came confirmation of the church’s 2014 financial goals:

  • End the year with $100,000 in the general fund; to do this, income must exceed expenses by at least $45,000
  • Continue the stewardship campaign as an annual initiative – grow contribution income by 1%
  • Set missions giving as a percentage of the operational budget (or as a flat number)
  • Release a search team to explore available facility options; possibly move even before June 2016 (assuming current building is sublet).  Question to resolve – who will the team report to?

Finally, we began a discussion of financial goals for 2015:

  • Begin 2015 with more than $100,000 in the general fund
  • Prepare to save an additional $50,000 as a result of income exceeding expenses and end 2015 with at least $140,000 in the general fund
  • Grow contributions to operational giving by 1%-2%
  • If moving, pay for the possible upfit of a new facility in some type of capital campaign that would last 12-36 months
  • Set giving to missions as a percentage of operational giving

Discussion of 2013 end-of-year financials

Mark, Harris and Brian led a review of year-end totals for 2013.

The year ended with a little more than $59,000 in checking. Giving was $1,188,040.

Missions giving as budgeted was $47,522, or 4% of income. Overall missions giving (including designated contributions) totaled $82,889.

The total loss in the general fund was $33,111.16.

MotionHarris moved to approve the end-of-year financial statement; Holly seconded. The motion was approved.

Discussion of final budget for 2014

The Finance Committee recommends expenses of $1,116,000: $566,000 in staff expenses; $455,000 in operations expenses; $55,000 in ministry expenses; and $40,000 in mission expenses.  With projected income of $1,166,000, this would result in a $50,000 surplus that can be placed in savings.

Before the Finance Committee left the meeting, there was additional discussion focused on staffing and mission expenses.   One proposal was to set aside a flat amount for mission spending in 2014, then if contributions exceed projected income, to designate a percentage of the surplus to missions spending.

The Personnel Committee and elders spent the latter part of the meeting discussing staffing expenses.

Near the end of the meeting, the elders discussed creating a line item for mission expenses this year rather than setting aside a percentage of contributions for missions.  The recommendation is to budget $20,000 to missions.

The Personnel Committee will make adjustments to staffing expenses, and the Finance Committee will present a final budget for approval at the February 18 elder meeting.

MotionHarris moved to approve the minutes from the January 21 elder meeting; Holly seconded. The motion was approved.

The meeting ended with prayer.

The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, February 18 at 6:30pm at Grace.

Respectfully submitted,
Holly Cook

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  January 21, 2014

Present:  Holly Cook, Jack Curtin Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley

Finance Committee Present: Mark Cates, Andy Page, Jim Schaafsma, Kathy Starkey, Skip White

Devotional/Prayer (Barb)

Barb opened our evening with a reading from Psalm 103 followed by prayer.

Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Jack, to approve January 8 meeting minutes. The motion passed.

Review of the Past, Present & Future (Harris/ Brian)

Brain and Harris led an introductory discussion focusing alignment between the Board of Elders and the Finance Committee to define financial health and develop financial principles.

General Principles Going Forward (Mark, Finance Committee Chairperson)

Financial health would include:

  • Sufficient cash flow

◦      Enough cash on hand to pay our bills without borrowing from line of credit or savings. Ideally, the church should have $200,000 cash on hand at the beginning of each year.

◦      This item is our top priority.

  • Future planning (lease/facilities)

◦      Based on our current financial situation, plan now for 2016, when our current lease expires, and know that expenses will be incurred whether we stay at our present facility or move.  Currently 33% of our budget is rent.

  • Designated funds in a separate account

◦      Fully funded separate accounts. To date, our designated accounts are underfunded by $130,000.

◦      Make decisions on whether to have these accounts and how we plan to fund them.

◦      This issue is sidelined for future discussion between elders and Finance Committee.

  • Missions giving and its relationship to operational giving

◦      While the budget is fixed, giving to missions is variable because it is a % of income. Should it be a percentage or a fixed amount?

  • Stewardship of our congregation

◦      All agreed this should be done both as a spiritual discipline and as a practical way to meet the financial needs of Grace.

◦      It should be a focus of yearly adult education and become integrated into the church.

◦      This issue is sidelined for further discussion.

  • Attendance at worship

◦      Correlation between attendance and giving unquestioned by all.

◦      We should observe attendance trends relative to forecasted income.

◦      This item is our second priority.

◦      Method to reliably project income is sidelined for further discussion.

  • Simple financial picture

◦      Expense vs. income as a tool of communication.

◦      This issue is sidelined for further discussion.

2014 Financial Goals (Harris)

  • Under-spend income
  • Growth
  • Facilities plan–release search team to see what options are available
  • Missions:  percentage of giving confirmed for 2014 (may be different than the 5% motioned at the 1/8 meeting)
  • Stewardship as an annual initiative

Foundational Principles (Harris)

  • Based on the items identified to promote financial health and the financial goals discussed for 2014, the elders and the Finance Committee will thinks about these and share via email.

Sideline issues (parking lot) discussed and listed by priority

  1. Forecasting projected income. Finance Committee to present proposal to the elders by the March 4 meeting.
  2. Giving to missions. Finance Committee to discuss with elders at Feb. 4 meeting.
  3. Deciding if and how to consolidate and fund Grace’s designated accounts.  Discuss in May 2014.
  4. Simplifying financial summary for church communication. Finance Committee to make a recommendation to the elders.

Moderator’s Recap (Barb)

Barb asserted the need to approve 2013 financial reports at the February meeting, if not sooner via email. One primary issue is the 4% commitment to missions giving for 2013.

Motion:  Harris made a motion we adjourn the meeting, seconded by Brian. Motion passed.

John closed the meeting with prayer at 9 pm.

Next meeting is February 4, at 6:30 pm. The Finance Committee will participate in part of the evening’s meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Alec Sharpe

 

Elder Meeting Minutes:  January 8, 2014

Present:  Holly Cook, Jack Curtin Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley

Devotional/Prayer (Jack/Barb)

Jack led discussion on chapter 6 of They Smell Like Sheep, Barb read a prayer called “The New Year,” and the elders prayed for one another.

Pastor’s Update (John)

Doug Bergeson will continue to move ahead with his 5 core values in building an adult ministry at Grace as he searches for leaders. John also discussed his sermon series on “The Fruitful Life” and the role of pruning in bearing fruit.

Finance Update (Harris/Brian)

Projected year-end numbers showed a shortfall in income to expenses of $62,803. Based on an income of $1.2 million, we contributed $42,000 or 3.6% to missions. Our commitment to give 4% operational income to missions will be honored once all figures are finalized.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Jack, to approve giving 5% of income to missions in 2014. The motion passed.

In addition, the elders reconfirmed the Finance Committee’s recommendation, approved on December 17, that the Christmas Eve offering be dispersed in the following manner: The first portion is to celebrate and thank our staff in the form of monetary Christmas gifts. The second portion of the offering is to replenish the benevolence fund. The third portion is to fund continuing education for staff at Personnel’s discretion. A miscommunication about where the funds would go will be corrected via an email from the Board of Elders to the congregation. Barb agreed to draft the email and gain input from the elders.

Elder Initiatives, 2014 (Barb)

Barb introduced a discussion about possible initiatives for the board in three specific areas:

  • Spiritual goals: New elder assimilation; Clark’s ordination; family meetings; shepherding and what specific form it will continue to take; single service and adult Sunday school taught by elders; public spiritual leadership and prayer during worship.
  • Leadership goals:  Intentional visibility for our church, perhaps in the form of events; growth and facilities issues; continued alignment among elders, committees, and staff; role of resting  elders; adult Sonship/metamorphosis-type weekend.
  • Administrative goals:  Continuity regarding elder liaisons to committees, more interaction with committee chairs at elder meetings; continued updates on the Policy and Personnel manual, with a decisions regarding the hiring process for ministry directors;  monthly communication from elders to congregation.

Moderator’s Recap (Barb)

Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve minutes from December 3 and 17, 2013. The motion passed.

Barb reported the Nominating Committee has received 17 nominations for elder, with 9 declining and 8 remaining in the process at this point. The Nominating Committee recommended Kay Gamble for a position on the Personnel Committee.

Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve Kay Gamble for the Personnel Committee. The motion passed.

Barb closed the meeting in prayer at 9:40 pm; the next meeting is scheduled for January 21, 2014, at 6:30 pm at Grace.

Respectfully submitted,
Alec Sharpe

Minutes from 2017

Minutes from 2016

Minutes from 2015

Minutes from 2013

Minutes from 2012

Minutes from 2011

Minutes from 2010

Note:  Minutes from elder meetings held prior to May 2010 are archived in binders at the Grace offices.