As you know by now, your elders responded to a difficult situation in February regarding one of our ministry staff members. I made a statement on our behalf at the close of congregational worship on February 11. If you were not with us that day, you can stop by the church office to read the statement any time during our normal weekday hours. My purpose this month is not to rehash that situation, but to address broader concerns members may have regarding our children’s and student ministries.
We now have two fewer ministry staff members today than we did seven months ago. Even more, these transitions leave us with no ministry staff members exclusively devoted to leading families with children in the home. As we’re rapidly approaching the summer, you may wonder what/if any affect our staffing situation will have on our ministry footprint. I want to speak with clarity to both our short-term and long-term plan.
First, I’ll begin with the bigger picture. We remain committed to ministering well to people of all ages, including infants, preschoolers, elementary-aged children, middle and high school students and college students. Recognizing that the home is the primary place for discipleship, we strive to cultivate an atmosphere of discipleship and design our ministry programming to partner with families to make disciples. Our goal is to undergird, resource, and stimulate gospel conversations, growth in biblical understanding, development of Christ-like character, and the fruit of God-honoring obedience. In short, we want to help families lead their children toward the fruit of multiplication in fellowship, obedience, service, and missions.
To this end, we also recognize that some children will not receive this type of investment and leadership at home. Therefore, we are ready to take the lead for those who have unbelieving and/or spiritually stagnant parents. While we hope to reach the parents also, we assume responsibility as the lead disciple-makers for these children.
Second and moving in a bit more closely, we plan to add ministry staff that will allow us to continue our basic ministry design. Following Tori’s departure last fall, God provided a temporary solution that has enabled us to continue our basic ministry programming. We continue to be blessed by the invaluable contribution of key church members serving in temporary staff positions and by the experience and leadership of our other ministry staff who have pitched in to help. However, we do not view this as a permanent solution.
The delay in filling the children’s ministry position stemmed from two primary factors.
1) We faced budgetary limitations last fall. By God’s grace, we are in a much better financial situation today.
2) I asked our leadership teams to pause and evaluate our ministry footprint. This evaluation will help us reorganize as needed and pursue the best candidate, not only for this ministry but for our church as a whole.
Staff additions are what I call “steering moments” because they are present decisions that will affect our future trajectory. While new staff will meet immediate needs, their impact in the long-term will be more significant. Therefore, we want to hire wisely for today and tomorrow.
With the additional staff opening, however, we sense the urgency to bolster our team. Please know that I will present a draft of a staffing plan to our elders this month and look forward to moving ahead in the coming weeks.
Third and zooming all the way in, our staff is pulling together under Pastor Matt’s leadership to maintain our ministry footprint for 2018. You can expect to see our staff serving in different ways to cover the gaps as we continue pressing forward. Please pray for us. In addition, please come to us (staff, ministry leaders, and elders) with ideas, encouragements, and questions. We are ready to carry the weight of leadership, but we want and need your help.
I’ll leave you with a verse I quote often and is true for us, especially in this season. God is working in and through all these seasons for our good and His glory.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)