At the congregation meeting I outlined some of the actions we're taking to keep our mission strong even in a time of financial shortage.
- Staffing: While we're not in a position to hire a new Executive Pastor or a Small Groups Director, we have made some staffing changes that put more people on the front-lines of our ministry. Dana and Tim are our Woodbury Campus Pastors. This grew out of a realization that John (our Executive Pastor) actually served in this role for a good part of his job. If everyone that turned to John during weekend services and during the week started to turn to me, I would be overwhelmed and burn out in a few weeks. I've taken on Small Groups and some of the Executive Pastor duties and that's going to be enough of a challenge for me.
We also brought some some three quarter time people up to full-time, added a few hours to some part-time staff and brought on one new key part-time staff member. We were able to do all this at a fraction of the cost of hiring one new full-time staff member, and I believe we're in good shape for the next year or more.
- Outreach: Our evangelistic outreach budget is small, but we believe we can leverage it by focusing our efforts and using some new, innovative tools and some old, tested standards. Also, our January series will focus us again on the value and priority of personal evangelism and we'll follow that with an all-out outreach series in February that will also help believers grow. I don't think money will hold us back one bit from being highly effective.
At the meeting I also addressed the following:
- Future campuses: Ideally right now we would be laying the groundwork for our next campus launch, so we've been slowed down a bit in our vision of 10 in 10. But the vision is still there and slowing down a bit doesn't mean we won't reach the goal. Money is a real issue right now, but it's really only a matter of figuring out how to raise the funds in balance with everything else we need to do. Expect to hear more about this in the coming months.
- A second venue at the Woodbury campus: Some people have wondered if the 10 in 10 vision has supplanted our plans to have a second venue in the CLC. I showed growth projections for Woodbury and Cottage Grove and all indications are that we will eventually not only need to start a second venue (and finish the next phase of building) but that we will run out of space on our land if we don't buy more.
I ended my presentation at the congregational meeting by reassuring everybody that I am committed to continue to take risks for the Kingdom. I'm not about making our critics happy (although I can learn from just about anybody), playing it safe or becoming another milk-toast church (yes, I know that betrays my bias about the state of most churches). I'm risk averse, and I consider that to be a weakness. I want to risk more for Christ. I'm not taking about taking stupid chances. Not sell the farm risk-taking. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about being more bold for Christ, willing to take hits from modern day Pharisees, passionate and obsessed with reaching people for Christ and having a church where the undiscipled can come and see for themselves, dedicated to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, allergic to the inauthenticity of being churchy, committed to both growing in knowledge of God and Scripture and growing in going. You get the picture?
Enough navel-gazing! :) Let's get on with it.