Elder Meeting Minutes: December 17, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Present by phone: Alec Sharpe
Barb read a portion of Isaiah 9 and John led the group in prayer.
Finance Update (Harris)
The pastors’ housing allowance proposed by the Finance Committee was reviewed.
- Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve the pastors’ housing allowances for 2014. The motion passed.
In addition, Finance Committee recommended 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.
- Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Alec, to approve the recommendation. The motion passed, with John, Brian, and Harris recused from voting.
Finance Discussions (Harris and Brian)
Brian presented a draft of the 2014 budget generated by the Finance Committee. He asked that the elders be prepared to decide on a percentage of the budget to go to missions at the first January elder meeting and to approve or modify the final budget proposal at the elder meeting on January 21.
The elders had a brief discussion regarding options for facilities once the current lease expires in June 2016. The board continues to pray about this issue and is committed to make a decision in the near future.
Moderator’s Recap (Barb)
Holly, as the primary elder meeting with Clark Rinehart as he prepares for ordination, updated the board on her discussions with Clark. She reported that Clark is requesting his ordination be held on June 1. The elders will consider the logistics of Clark’s ordinations on that date and will work with him on the details.
Barb presented a list of people who have asked to become members at Grace. They include Sally Croteau, Ginny Grimes, Allie Snyder, Ben Snyder, Brad Watkinson, Courtney Watkinson, and David Young
- Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Barb, to approve the list as new members at Grace. The motion passed. These brothers and sisters in Christ will be presented during the January 5, 2014, worship service.
- Motion: In a subsequent email vote by the board, on January 2, Barb made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve Mike Whitehouse as another new member of Grace, to be presented during the January 4, 2014, worship service. The motion passed.
Growth question: At the fall elder retreat, the elders agreed to work on promoting “growth” at Grace. Although several types of growth can be identified at Grace, for now the board will primarily address the subject of growth as the number of people attending Sunday morning worship. The elders agreed that the following statement and questions are an accurate reflection of the growth issue to address: “We all agree that Sunday morning is a positive. What then needs to happen in order to change to the desired outcome? What is the ‘block’?” This issue will be a point of emphasis in 2014.
Barb also discussed the topic of “alignment” for the first quarter of 2014 between the elder board and various other areas at Grace, expressing a desire to do the following:
- Spend time with the members of staff and standing committees of the board.
- Continue family meetings in ways that promote alignment and continued ripple effects among our members.
- Integrate our recent position papers and policy updates (such as tithing and the philosophy of giving) into the policy manual so that these important decisions are part of the operating principles of our church. Holly and Jack agreed to oversee this task.
Harris closed the meeting in prayer at 10:15 pm; the next elders’ meeting is scheduled for January 8, 2014.
Elder Meeting Minutes—December 3, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Absent: Jack Curtin
Pastor’s Report (John/Barb)
Barb led a discussion of mentoring, chapters 4 and 5 of They Smell Like Sheep
John indicated that new members would be presented in worship on January 5, 2014; he also updated the board on the Advent preaching theme of “Flicker,” Jesus’ light coming into the world. Finally, John shared the times for worship on Christmas Eve: 4:30 pm children’s service, 7:00 pm, and 11:00 pm.
Barb led a brief review of the November elder retreat and identified areas that could be initiatives for the board in 2014. Finally, the elders prayed with and for one another.
Finance Report (Harris)
Harris reviewed end-of-year projections for income and expenses and began the discussion on the budget numbers for 2014:
- A finance goal is to to end 2014 with more cash in the bank than the cash with which we begin the year.
- Harris asked the board to consider a reasonable number for overall expenses for the 2014 budget.
- What is the recommendation for % given to missions in 2014?
- What is the recommendation for the Christmas Eve offering
Action Item: Brian will determine how the Christmas Eve offering was dispersed in 2012.
Pastors’ housing allowance discussion was tabled until the December 17 meeting.
Personnel Report (Holly)
Ginger Gentry will be having surgery on December 13 and will be out at least until January 30. Julie Sauls will be doing some of Ginger’s duties in her absence. Judi Harrison will also contribute time.
Moderator’s Recap (Barb)
Nominating Committee: Though the Nominating Committee is open for nominations to replace Erin and Joe, the board decided to hold off on nominations until after the church-wide nomination process for elders is concluded on December 22. Joe Toomey is stepping down as Nominating Committee chair, and Brad Gwinn has agreed to assume that role. Barb will be replacing Alec as the Nominating Committee liaison.
Holly composed an email to go out to the congregation to re-cap the annual congregational meeting that occurred on December 1, 2013. This email was approved by the board and will be sent to Ginger for distribution.
Family meetings update: Barb asked whether family meetings should still be a priority in January.
The majority agreed that family meetings were a great way to connect with the congregation. Even though we are not meeting our goal of completing the first round of meetings in the last quarter of 2013, it is still a valuable way to connect and shepherd the congregation. The suggestion was made to let the meetings happen more naturally by attempting to look one circle away from our current connections.
Elder Meeting Minutes:
- Motion: Alec made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve the November 5 meeting minutes, addendum, and list of members to be dismissed. The motion passed.
- Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Brian, to approve the December 1 congregational meeting minutes. The motion passed.
Clark mentoring by elders: Holly will be taking over for Alec in walking with Clark on a regular basis. In addition, Barb will mentor Clark for the month of December in the areas of contemplative prayer, spiritual direction, and journaling.
Meeting closed with prayer at 9:40 pm.
Next meeting is scheduled for December 17, 2013, at Barb’s house.
Minutes for the Grace Community Church Annual Congregational Meeting Sunday, December 1, 2013, at the Conclusion of the 10:00 am Worship Service
Barb Sibley, Board of Elders moderator, called the meeting to order at 11:40 am, declaring a quorum of the members was present.
Barb stated the purpose of the annual meeting, though typically to elect elders, is to reopen the nomination process for elder candidates at this time. Nominations will be accepted for 3 weeks.
Barb outlined the three reasons why nominations would re-open at this time:
- First, during the initial summer nominating time, relatively few nominations for elders were submitted. At the end of that process, the Nominating Committee was unable to bring forward any elder candidates, resulting in no elders to elect for 2014.
- Second, with the blessing of Erin Winston becoming the Director of Children’s Ministry, elder Harris Winston will be stepping off the board in the coming months to avoid any possibility of a conflict of interest. Harris will continue in his current role as elder until another member of Grace is called and ordained in the coming months.
- Third, Alec and Mary Sharpe have recently moved to Winston-Salem to be closer to their family. Alec, too, will continue in his current role as elder until another member of Grace is called and ordained in the coming months.
Barb explained that our current bylaws call for a range of 5-8 lay elders to serve as active board members. With the transition of Harris and Alec, that number will drop to 3, making the nomination process for elder candidates in 2014 even more important.
Barb expressed full confidence that both Harris are Alec are doing what God has called them to do; she then called upon the members to do what God is now calling them to do, which is to earnestly pray about, and nominate, members as possible.elders. She also urged members who are nominated to really pray about whether God is calling them to step into the elder role at this time. She indicated that the forms that explain elder qualifications and nominations were available in the Atrium at the Welcome Center and also on the Web’s scrolling home page.
In addition, Barb mentioned the opening on the Personnel Committee which will occur in 2014 and indicated that nominations for that position could be forwarded to the church office.
Barb then prayed, giving thanks for being in community with the members of Grace. She also gave the blessing for the soup luncheon that followed the unified worship service.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 11:47 am.
Elder Meeting Minutes—November 5, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Guest: Clark Rinehart
Pastor’s and Moderator’s Report: (John and Barb)
John made the board aware that worship will be consolidated on December 1, at 10:00 am. The sermon series on the Psalms will conclude with Psalm 23.
Adult discipleship initiatives are progressing well; four small groups have been established, with approximately 45 people participating.
Barb discussed the family meetings, which are continuing; our goal is to complete the first phase of assigned families by the end of December. We are committed to making family meetings a priority moving forward as a way to intentionally stay engaged with the congregation. Barb expressed that it has meant a lot to the families with whom she met to have an elder pray with them and then to be able to follow up with them when she sees them at Grace. Alec also expressed the privilege he felt as families extended hospitality to him in his family meetings.
- Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve the October 22 meeting minutes. The motion passed.
- Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve the list of members to be dismissed from the rolls at Grace. The motion passed. List of dismissed members is included with these minutes.
The elders are planning an overnight retreat at the beach on November 10-11; logistics were discussed.
Clark Rinehart’s Ordination Process: (Alec and board)
Clark joined the elders at 7:30 pm; both his desire for ordination at Grace and the evidence of his gifting as a pastor were affirmed by the board.
Clark and the elders confirmed the process for ordination going forward, including the formation of an Ordination Counsel. In addition, the process of each individual elder meeting with Clark in the upcoming months was also confirmed.
- Action Item: Clark will determine the members of his Ordination Counsel and desired date for ordination. Clark will also meet with John and Brian to determine the Scriptural passage on which he will preach during his ordination ceremony. These items will be set by the January elder meeting.
At the close of Clark’s time with the board, the elders gathered around Clark, laying hand on him and praying for him and his calling as an ordained pastor.
Personnel Update and Recommendations: (Holly)
- Motion: Barb made a motion, seconded by Holly, regarding a Personnel proposal regarding the worship leadership position. The motion passed.
The health insurance package for Grace staff will be renewed with Coventry of the Carolinas for 2014.
Finance Recommendations and Report: (Harris)
The October stewardship initiative resulted in 91 estimate of giving cards returned, which is about 28% of households. More may be returned over the next several weeks. The amount pledged for 2014 to date is approximately $549,000.
The final quarter of 2013 update shows a deficit of $121,000 through the end of October. To hit the budgeted income goal, giving needs to be $330,000 in November and December. Finance is not recommending any major budget cuts at this time, but will most likely do so for 2014.
Harris will speak to the congregation at worship on November 17 and 24 with a financial update.
Draft budget numbers for 2014 were reviewed. The elders will pray over these figures to determine whether any adjustments are appropriate before Finance and Personnel committees start their own work for 2014.
The meeting closed at 9:40 pm with the elders gathering around Alec, laying on hands, and praying for his and Mary’s upcoming move to Winston-Salem.
The next elders’ meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3.
Additional actions of the Board of Elders:
At the end of a dedicated time of prayer and prior to this November 5 board meeting, the elders, with Harris recused, voted and moved to direct Personnel to extend an offer to Erin Winston as the Director of Children’s Ministry.
In a subsequent email action of the board, on Monday, November 18, Barb made a motion, seconded by Brian, to call for the annual meeting of the members of Grace for Sunday, December 1, 2013, at the end of the unified worship service at 10 am, for the purpose of re-opening the elder nomination process. The motion passed. Annual meeting notice will be communicated to the congregation on November 20.
Elder Meeting Minutes – 10/22/13
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Barb opened the meeting with a reflection on Psalm 23 and prayer.
Moderator’s Update (Barb):
Alec continues to meet with Clark Rinehart fairly regularly. Clark will join us at the Nov. 5 elder meeting to iron out final details of his pastoral ordination process. Alec will incorporate questions intended for reflection into the monthly schedule previously drafted by Barb and will encourage Clark to journal.
Family meetings continue.
The elders will go on a retreat Sunday, November 10 and Monday, November 11.
- Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve the Oct. 1 meeting minutes. The motion was approved.
Discussion of the Three Largest Questions Facing Grace (John):
John led a discussion on the major issues facing Grace. First, we compiled a list of each person’s top three questions.
We next discussed common threads among the questions so that we could pare the list to three questions. The first two questions are:
1) How do we bring our vision statement to life, and what is our 3- to 5-year strategy?
2) Are we living above our means?
Needing to move on to the next topic, we decided to each draft a third question pertaining to growth and email our question to the group.
Facilities Discussion (Brian):
The lease at 6561 Meridien Drive ends on June 30, 2016. This means we will need to decide very soon whether to stay in our current building or move to a new facility.
The facilities discussion centered on the following premise: The vision and purpose of our ministry is not specific to any one location. However, the location chosen will present to us opportunities to do ministry in an area.
Topics and questions discussed included:
- The need to take risks.
- Are we truly a missional church?
- How can we “re-vision” our church and unify the leadership so that we can truly move forward?
The next elder meeting will be on Tuesday, November 5 at 7pm at Grace.
Elder Meeting Minutes – 10/1/2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe (via Skype), Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Harris Winston
Guest: Doug Bergeson
Pastor’s report (John): Discussion of distorted leadership models from They Smell Like Sheep.
The next session of Meet Grace will be Oct. 13.
John met with a congregant who moved to Grace from a large local church (he was on the church’s elder board) and will soon become a member. He loves Grace, our mission program and youth worship. He feels we need to spread the word about all the good that is going on.
The “Stuff” sermon series will end this week; the next series will be on Psalms. Brian will preach on Oct. 20 and Sarah Prince on Oct. 27.
John has been asked to perform a member family’s daughter’s wedding. The daughter lives in Greensboro, but she and her fiancé are willing to travel to Raleigh for premarital counseling.
Nominating committee update: there were two elder candidates – one has stepped away, the other is praying and will make his decision soon.
Adult discipleship update (Doug Bergeson): Doug has been focusing on three main areas as he continues to work toward ensuring that everyone at Grace feels connected:
1) Making the most of Sunday mornings (he noted that the cultural change that needs to take place starts with the leadership, and we elders need to make sure that we are connecting with visitors);
2) Creating new entry points – specifically, via a small group initiative that will be targeted to new attendees and those who haven’t been part of a small group. Jim Adams, Carol Clark and Doug are the core organizers. Small groups will be short term (3 or so months) and aimed at giving people a taste of a small group;
3) Being more intentional in considering that every group of people we are involved with at Grace can be a small group.
Doug reminded the elders to keep him in the loop as necessary. He left us with much “food for thought” in several areas related to our vision statement, effective communication and God’s plan for Grace.
Family meetings (Barb): Barb has met with several families; other elders have met with a few families. Barb reported that many members with whom she has spoken talk about there being something special about Grace.
Personnel update (Brian and Holly): The Personnel Committee has requested permission to work with the church’s insurance agent and the Finance Committee to renew medical insurance benefits effective December 1 through November 30, 2014. This will enable the committee to find the best insurance for the staff before the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January 2014 and more than likely will give us an opportunity to save money on the renewal.
- Motion: Jack made a motion, seconded by Barb, to accept the Personnel Committee’s request. The motion was approved.
Alec asked the Personnel Committee to consider whether there are employees whose spouse could be covered by his or her own employer’s health insurance.
Holly reported that three people from within Grace have applied for the Children’s Ministry Director position. Interviews with the search team have been scheduled. A schedule for the candidates to interview with the elders was tentatively set; Barb will work with Cindy Hays to confirm.
Finance update (Brian): By the end of September, income was $830,000 against a budget of $840,000; expenses are estimated at $940,000, which means we have spent $110,000 more than we have brought in.
The Finance Committee projects income of $85,000 each month in October, November and December. With an expected $15,000 in federal tax reimbursement, that would mean total income of $1.1 million. To reach the budgeted income of $1.25 million, December income must be $235,000.
The copier contract will be renegotiated; the church will receive two refurbished copiers in the month of October with a four-year lease on both.
The stewardship team has finalized the stewardship letter and estimate of giving card; it will go out next week, with a celebration scheduled for Nov. 3. Completed cards will come in over a 3-week period and there will be stewardship announcements during worship each week.
Discussion began of the facilities document that Brian compiled, which represented comments from each elder.
- Action item: Before our next meeting, each elder is asked to go through the document and see which of our own questions we can eliminate. Also, we should consider John’s question: What are the three big questions facing Grace right now?
Ordination process for Clark Rinehart (Alec/Barb): The elders discussed logistics and the process that should be followed leading up to Clark’s ordination.
Executive Personnel Committee update (Jack): The committee, comprised of Cindy Hays, Barb, and Jack, met with Brian recently to discuss his role at Grace, as well as some personal goals relating to his ministry gifts. It was a good discussion.
Moderator’s recap (Barb):
- Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Alec, to approve the Sept. 3 meeting minutes. The motion was approved.
The elders will go on a retreat Sunday, November 10 and Monday, November 11.
The next elder meeting will be on Tuesday, October 22 at 6:45 pm at Grace.
Elder Meeting Minutes from September 3, 2013
Attendance: Present were Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, and Brian Worley. Becky Crenshaw and two representatives from the audit firm Thomas, Judy, & Tucker, P.A., were in attendance for the audit presentation.
Absent: Alec Sharpe
Pastor’s Report: John
John discussed his family’s trip to the Czech Republic. It was fruitful in many ways – John delivered some much needed and appreciated teaching, several people came to Christ, and John’s family was blessed and refreshed!
Finance Updates: Harris, Brian
The elders received the annual audit report prepared by the CPA firm Thomas, Judy & Tucker, P.A. No major issues were noted. The elders received some advice and guidance on the necessity of doing reviews and/or partial or full audits in the future. Becky and the auditors were thanked for their work.
- Harris updated the board on current church finances; Grace is barely within its giving budget at this point of the year.
- The stewardship letter for the October campaign is complete and was reviewed.
- Motion – Holly made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve the elder board’s “Stewardship, Generosity, and Freedom: A Philosophy of Giving at Grace Community Church” document as the understanding of giving at GCC. The motion passed.
- Harris and Brian led a brief discussion on future facility plans. The current lease runs out in June 2016, so Brian suggested some broad questions the elders should answer in the near future:
Why might we want to move?
Do we want to move? If so, should it happen by June 2016?
What are the criteria?
The most important question for the Finance Committee is this: Should Grace move? Once that decision has been made, the Finance Committee can start its work to find a new home for GCC. The secondary questions regarding when, how, where, etc. are important, but can be answered in parallel with the Finance Committee starting their work.
- Action—Brian or Harris will email some starting points from the Finance Committee discussion to jump start the email exchange of ideas among the elders. Barb agreed to pick a date by end of October to start the future facility discussion in earnest.
Personnel Updates: Holly
- Holly led a discussion regarding minor updates to the policy and personnel manual.
- Children’s Ministry Director position: The deadline for the internal candidates to submit their applications for the children’s director position is September 20th. The Personnel Committee requested additional directions for the rest of the process of hiring a children’s director, specifically whether or not to post the job listing on external websites.
- Motion – Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to post the job listing on external websites on October 1st. The external applications will not be reviewed until the internal candidates have been evaluated. If no internal applicants are offered the job, external applications will be processed. The motion passed.
Moderator’s Recap: Barb
- Family Meetings—The suggested discussion points have been set and the process is agreed upon. The elders are encouraged to start their family meetings right away.
- Motion—Harris made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve the August 6thminutes with minor modification. The motion passed.
- Motion—Harris made a motion, seconded by Brian, to grant Clark Rinehart’s request to be given Pastor of Local License status. The motion passed.
- Nominating Committee has 2 elder candidates in process and plans to send their recommendations before the October 1st elder meeting. The rotation of members serving on Nominating, Finance, and Personnel committees was also discussed.
- Next board meeting will be October 1st.
- Barb closed the meeting at 10:10 pm with prayer.
Elder Minutes August 6, 2013
- Present were Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston. Ken Taylor and Doug Bergeson joined us to discuss family meetings and adult discipleship.
- Absent was Brian Worley
- Shepherding led by John Ulrich discussing chapter 1 of They Smell Like Sheep.
- Family Meetings with Ken Taylor
- Ken thanked elders for assuming the role of shepherds and reminded us that this is an ongoing process. Each elder chose names from a list of members to connect with by November 30, 2013. A report form was distributed that will be used as a record of contact. These reports will be filled out immediately after the visit and sent to Ken.
- Adult Discipleship with Doug Bergeson
o We discussed Doug’s paper, “Some Thoughts (a ‘Theology’) on Christian Discipleship and a Modest Proposal for Action,” Doug’s focus is on building community vs. a program and emphasized his need to be in the loop on everything going on in the church as it pertains to adult discipleship and community.
o Motion – It was agreed that an email vote to approve this document would be taken later in the week and that Barb would tally and respond to Doug Bergeson by Friday morning, August 9. Subsequently, on Thursday, August 8, Alec made a motion by email to approve the adult discipleship model and process which Doug Bergeson presented in his document “Some Thoughts (a ‘Theology’) on Christian Discipleship and a Modest Proposal for Action” at the elder meeting on Tuesday night. Motion seconded by Jack and was passed.
- Personnel Report
- We discussed our continuing search for a director of children’s ministry. The following steps will be taken:
- Ask Erin Winston and Julie Sauls to extend their interim commitment beyond August 31st for as long as necessary. It was noted that both Erin and Julie have already agreed to continue in their roles.
- Communicate immediately with the search team, the parents and congregation what has occurred and our path forward. Elders will assist in this. Holly agreed to draft a letter to be sent via email to the children’s ministry parents for review with Barb and Cindy. Communicating with the congregation in worship the weekend of Aug 11 was also discussed. Barb will also contact Elizabeth Voiers, head of search team, to thank that group for its work.
- Suggest that Personnel oversee opening up this position to interested candidates specifically here at Grace as well as those outside of Grace.
- We discussed our continuing search for a director of children’s ministry. The following steps will be taken:
- Finance Report
- Motion – Harris made the motion to reduce our 2013 budget from $1,258,000 to $1,235,000. Seconded by Holly and passed.
- The position paper on tithing has been transitioned to a philosophy of giving. Barb will send out revised document for review with responses needed by August 13th
- Motion – Holly made a motion to accept minutes from July 23 elders’ meeting and was seconded by Alec and passed.
- Next meeting will be September 3, 2013, at 6:30 pm.
Elder Meeting Minutes – 7/23/2013
Present: Holly Cook, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Absent: Jack Curtin
The meeting began in prayer.
The elders discussed an issue pertaining to the hiring process for the new Children’s Ministry director.
- Motion: Holly made a motion, seconded by Harris, to recommend that the Personnel Committee extend an offer to one of the candidates for children’s ministry director. The motion passed.
Tithing and philosophy of giving: Barb had written and emailed to the elders a one-page statement on tithing and a longer draft of a philosophy of giving for Grace. The group spent several minutes discussing the concept of tithing and whether we as a church should use the term “tithe” when discussing stewardship. John expressed the view that tithing can be a meaningful concept and a springboard for new or immature believers.
- Motion: Brian made a motion, seconded by Harris, to accept the top three paragraphs of Barb’s position paper on tithing, which he said answer the question “Are we teaching the concept of tithing at Grace?” The concluding sentence sums up the first three paragraphs: we (believers) are not under obligation to tithe. The motion passed.
- Action item: In the interest of time, the elders decided to continue the discussion on Grace’s philosophy of giving by email. As we pray about and contemplate the topic, we are to consider two questions: 1) is there anything in the document Barb drafted that is biblically incorrect; and 2) is anything missing?
Stewardship letter and initiative: Skip White, chair of the stewardship team, emailed to the elders a draft of a stewardship letter that would kick off the fall stewardship initiative. The fall initiative is intended to be a pledge campaign for 2014.
After discussion about the purpose of the campaign, the elders made the following recommendations to the stewardship team, which Harris will relay to Skip:
1) The objective of the “ask” will be for congregants/members to pledge what they will contribute to Grace in 2014;
2) Congregants should be encouraged to return the estimate of giving cards that they will receive (the specific objective of the estimate of giving card still needs to be determined);
3) The committee should draft another letter, to be reviewed and approved at the September 3 elder meeting. In light of the approved motion related to tithing, the term “tithe” should not be used, nor should any reference to giving based on a certain percentage of income. Once the letter is drafted, Skip will send it to Holly for editing.
Initial discussion, thoughts on discipleship from Doug Bergeson: Doug, asked by the elders several months ago to oversee and shepherd adult discipleship at Grace, requested a few months to undergo “due diligence” on the topic of discipleship. He completed his research and emailed a report to the elders. Because not all of the elders had a chance to read Doug’s report, discussion was postponed until the August meeting.
June finance report and 2013 projections: June was a very strong month – income was above budget and the staff held operational expenses below budget. Giving to missions has been $14,000 year to date, which is slightly more than 25% of the total goal of $48,000.
The Finance Committee updated projections for 2013 – the picture is much brighter than what was presented at the June 6 meeting. The committee now projects little or no shortfall for the year.
- The committee recommends reducing the budget to $1.235 million from $1.258 million, which would mean cutting expenses by $23,426. Discussion and a motion on the recommendation have been postponed.
- Cash flow – There is now $60,000 in the bank; growth in cash flow over the last month has been strong.
Moderator’s Recap, Pastor’s Report
1) Brian made a motion, seconded by John, to approve the July 2 meeting minutes. The motion passed.
2) Alec made a motion, seconded by Brian, to approve the following new members: Martha Bezuidenhout; Bob and Denise Connors; Richard Harris; Dillon Shaw; Tommy Spears; Matt and Diane Stako; and Lisa Thorsey. The motion passed. The new members will be recognized at worship on July 28.
- Action items:
1) We are to read the introduction and chapter 1 of They Smell Like Sheep for the August 6 meeting.
2) Barb will invite Doug Bergeson to the August 6 meeting to discuss his report on discipleship. In preparation, we are to read and analyze the report, making sure to consider the questions posed by Doug in his concluding section entitled “A Few Key Questions.”
3) Ken Taylor, who has agreed to help us with the logistics of the planned family meetings, will come to the August meeting to talk about launching the meetings.
Barb briefly presented an overview of the many substantial topics facing the elder board over the next few months, including: adult discipleship; family meetings; elder nominations; the annual audit; and the ordination process for Clark Rinehart. Barb said we might to consider scheduling a full-day meeting.
John discussed a request from a Grace member to have him marry the member’s brother, who does not attend Grace. He also expressed significant concern about our older members and suggested that we might want to launch the family meetings by making initial visits with them a priority.
The meeting ended in prayer.
The next elder meeting will be on Tuesday, August 6 at Grace.
Elder Meeting Minutes for July 2, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Also present for the personnel discussion: Cindy Hays, Personnel Committee Chairperson
The meeting started with devotion from Jack.
Pastor Update – John
John led the elders in a time of prayer and then updated the elders on the Grace staff, saying that staff is really blossoming and healthy. They’re currently looking to apply the Grace Vision statement in each ministry in these aspects: foundation, framework, and filter.
John asked the elders about doing another book study soon. The elders agreed, and a book is to be chosen soon.
Personnel Update – Cindy Hays, Holly
Cindy discussed how the Personnel Committee is coming along with the hiring process for the children’s ministry director. The committee hopes to have recommendation for elders on July 12. The three remaining candidates are all capable of running our children’s ministry, with no apparent red flags to disqualify any of them at this time.
Family Meetings – Barb
Barb presented a plan for the upcoming Grace family meetings. The board discussed the purpose, rationale, and mode of visits for these meetings and how they differ from the congregational care initiative. The content for information sharing and plan for managing the list of members to visit are to be ready for an August elder meeting.
Finance – Harris
The giving figures through June were discussed, along with the messages from Harris and Jack on consecutive Sundays regarding summer cash flow. Harris will work with Becky Crenshaw to see that the message is available via the Grace Vine or an email to the congregation, and a possible third message in worship will be considered in the upcoming weeks.
Brian is working on the cutting $50k from the budget for the Finance Committee to discuss at its July 22 meeting. Preliminary plans for a future location may be discussed at the July 22 finance meeting as well.
The elders had a brief discussion about bringing in more people to Grace.
The “Time and Talent” stewardship campaign in August was discussed. Skip White would like direction on the purpose and goal (measure of success) for the October financial stewardship campaign. For example, is there an “ask,” and if so, what does it look like? A concrete plan will be dependent upon the elders’ position papers on tithing and giving that are in the works.
Moderator recap – Barb
- Motion: Harris moved to approve the June 11 meeting minutes, and Holly seconded. The motion passed.
- Motion: Holly moved to approve Jim Schaafsma for Finance Committee, and Harris seconded. The motion passed. Either Harris or Mark Cates, finance chair, will contact Jim to invite him to the next Finance Committee meeting.
The next steps for Clark Rinehart’s ordination were discussed. Brian is in the process of asking Gordon-Conwell for its ordination process as an example to glean from. Alec has asked that the elders respond to him with their input on Clark’s questions by the end of July. Alec has met with Clark four times and will continue to meet with him when their summer schedules allow.
The elders are to email their views on tithing and giving to Barb as soon as possible. Barb committed to sending the elders a first draft of our church’s position on tithing by Tuesday, July 9. By July 16, Barb will send out a philosophy of giving paper for discussion. After discussions, Barb will finalize Grace’s philosophy on tithing and giving.
At their next meeting, on July 23, the elders will discuss Personnel Committee’s recommendations for the children’s ministry director and come to a decision about extending an offer to one of the three candidates.
Elder Meeting Minutes for June 11, 2013
The meeting started with a devotion from Holly.
Updates from John:
In their recent all-day meeting, the staff developed four major prayer goals for the next year: 1) making disciples; 2) revival—asking God to move; 3) encouragement; 4) peace and freedom.
The staff also agreed on three main objectives for the next year: 1) assimilation; 2) ministry cohesiveness – i.e., incorporating the vision statement into the ministries; and 3) ensuring that the new children’s ministry director has a great first year. “Honorable mention” objectives were: advertise; revitalize adult education; and develop areas where people can connect.
The most recent new-member class is complete. John is now waiting to hear from class participants with their decision on whether they will join Grace. One other likely addition to the next group of new members will be the mother of a long-time Grace member who recently moved to Raleigh from South Africa. This woman was not comfortable enough with her English skills (she speaks Afrikaans) to attend the class, but would like to join Grace. John will likely offer to meet her a few times to go over class topics.
Cash flow and family meetings:
Barb launched a discussion of Grace’s ongoing cash flow issues and the elders’ interest in launching family meetings in the near future. The main purpose of the family meetings will be to hear the congregation’s heart, invite engagement, share the vision statement and answer questions. The purpose is not to solicit for funds, although the topic of church finances will likely be one component of the discussion. These meetings will be an excellent shepherding opportunity.
Regarding cash flow, the question is: do we need help to get through the summer, or is this more of a systemic problem based on projected monthly shortfalls?
Harris – We need to let people know where we are and how truly healthy we are as a church. However, low cash flow during the summer is an annual problem. So we should encourage the following: 1) give now what you would give at year end; 2) give above and beyond; 3) make a stock donation now rather than at year end. Moreover, explain that expenses have been pared as much as they can be. Share the elders’ commitment for the family meetings in the near future.
Brian – We as elders should commit to having open dialogue on the church’s financial situation and conversing with as close to 100% of the congregation as possible.
John – We need to ensure that our expectations align with reality, and to have an honest conversation about the church’s financial situation. At the end of the conversation, if faithful giving at Grace is less than our current expenses, then we’ll simply need to cut expenses.
- Motion: Harris made a motion, seconded by Brian, to move forward in preparing for family meetings beginning in mid-August, with content to be determined over the next six weeks. The motion passed.
Attendance and giving:
Brian reported that attendance and giving were up in May; June 2013 should be a better month than June 2012.
Year-end projections and proposed actions:
Harris opened discussion on a memo to the elders from Mark Cates, Finance Committee chair, presenting year-end projections based on five months of giving. Estimated total income through June is $516,000. Projected 2013 income is $1,032,000; projected shortfall could be $118,000.
The only way to make up the difference without taking some sort of action would be to borrow the funds. Alternatively, Finance presented five options: 1) cut expenses by 10%; 2) run a campaign to raise additional funds; 3) encourage stock donations now; 4) delay the new hire of a children’s ministry director or put the hiring on indefinite hold (would save just $15,000); 5) cancel the goal of 4% giving to missions this year.
We as elders received a midyear report from Finance; we owe the congregation a report as well. Offer to them as well the three options we would like for them to pray about (#1, 2 and 3 above).
Brian suggested that, in order to simplify numbers, we project a $100,000 shortfall, look at cutting expenses by $50,000 and ask for $50,000 in additional income by August 31.
- Action items:
1) Barb will ask Ken Taylor if he can plan and track who has been contacted for the family meetings;
2) Brian and John will develop the content and visuals for the family meetings;
3) Brian will develop the financial materials and will prepare a report for the elders and Finance Committee on what $50,000 in budget cuts would look like.
4) Harris will develop a communication plan on finances and the “ask,” both general announcements on 6/23, 6/30 and 7/7 and individual contacts.
Stewardship questions from Skip White:
The elders agreed to discuss Skip’s questions on various aspects of a planned fall campaign by email by Friday, June 14.
The elders will formulate a position on tithing by our August 6 meeting.
- Action items:
1) Until the end of June, each of us is to continue to research pro and con positions on tithing in the New Testament church and share that research (or links to the research) and our thoughts on the research with each other via email.
2) Barb will formulate a draft of our position on tithing once our research is complete. We will meet in July (outside of the elder meeting) to discuss our thoughts.
The facility discussion has been moved to the August elder meeting.
1) Brian made a motion, and Jack seconded, to leave as is the current language of the personnel policy on the hiring and termination of ministry directors until the children’s ministry director is hired. The current policy is: The Personnel Committee will hire and terminate ministry (program) directors, with the approval of the Board of Elders. The motion passed.
2) Brian made a motion, and Harris seconded, to conduct Skype interviews with Scott Shipes, a children’s ministry director candidate who is currently in Botswana. The motion passed.
3) Holly made a motion, seconded by John, to approve the Personnel Committee’s recommendation to reword a policy in the Personnel Manual concerning the 10-year tenure benefit. The policy would now read: “each 10 years of continual service” rather than “after 10 years of continual service.” The motion passed.
4) Alec made a motion, seconded by Harris, to approve a Personnel Committee recommendation related to Chris Sasser’s departure from Grace. The motion passed.
Brian distributed the staff’s summer schedule for our information and so we can pray for them.
The ministries will join together for a combined kick off on August 25.
- Motion: Alec made a motion, seconded by Holly, to approve the May 14 and May 21 meeting minutes.
The elders agreed to approve new members by email.
Alec met several times with Clark Rinehart, high school ministry director. Clark then wrote a letter requesting ordination. He still has several questions, which we need to answer for him by our August meeting.
The next elder meeting will be Tuesday, July 2 at Grace.
The meeting ended in prayer.
Elder Meeting Minutes for May 21, 2013
Attending: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Meeting began at 6:30 with devotion from Harris, followed by prayer.
The Finance Committee report was reviewed. Topics included cash flow, communication to the congregation regarding our financial shape, and the next steps to be taken in the event we run out of cash and are unable to meet monthly expenses.
- Motion: Harris Winston made a motion seconded by Barb Sibley to accept the Finance Committee’s recommendation to use up to $34,000 of the line of credit if necessary to meet expenses in 2013. The motion passed.
Additional discussion about the means of communicating to the congregation followed. Meeting in groups of 15 to 20 members with an Elder and Finance Committee member present was agreed upon as a way to have a healthy dialogue versus the one-way information flow from the pulpit. Financial information will still be shared from the pulpit on June 2 or June 9 as well as the plan to have “family meetings” in smaller groups.
Action Item: Content of the “family meetings” will be discussed by Brian, Barb, Jack and Harris the week of May 27. Topics may include the following: This is who we are. This is where we are going. We want to hear concerns and stories as part of the Grace family. We will have numbers ready regarding finances.
Giving and attendance numbers were reviewed. Attendance seems steady and outpaces 2012 for the month of May. Giving is still inconsistent week to week. Expenses are exceeding giving.
The topic of “tithing the tithe” was discussed in length to answer the question posed by David Osborne.
- Motion: Brian Worley made a motion seconded by Harris Winston to accept the principle on “tithing the tithe” as written by John Ulrich as our summary statement on this topic. The motion passed, and the statement follows:
The Board of Elders of Grace Community Church agree that we will honor our 4% commitment to Missions giving for 2013. We also agree that at year end, we will re-evaluate what we give to missions moving forward. Our eventual goal is to get to at least 10% giving to missions from our operational budget. While we are all for our church giving a portion of its money to missions, we do not believe we have a direct biblical obligation to tithe the tithe. In our opinion, even if we assume that we are under obligation to tithe, “tithing the tithe” would not be fulfilled by the church giving to missions. In the relevant passages (Num. 18:24-28; Neh. 10:38), this phrase is used to describe Levites tithing from what they received, so the resources that the Levites tithed, would then go back into the same temple system from which it came. Thus, the equivalent of “tithing the tithe” would be our church staff tithing, not our church giving to missions.
General discussion of a “tithe” as a biblical principle versus a moral principle followed. The elders agreed to come to a position on this topic and in what manner it will be taught at Grace.
- Motion: Brian Worley made a motion seconded by Holly Cook to table the topic of tithing until September so the elders may research it and come to a position as a church. The motion passed.
Stewardship update was reviewed from questions posed by Skip White, stewardship committee chair. Skip asked some great questions that the elders need to answer which will provide direction for the stewardship team to move forward with its fall stewardship plans. The Finance Committee will be invited to the June 4 elder meeting. Action Item: Barb will extend this invitation.
Doug’s wish list was reviewed. Wall painting has been completed. Michael Bruton will install the cross by June 15. Michael is donating the materials and labor to construct the cross. Name and branding design will be reviewed by elders and added to the wall by August 15. No funds have been approved for Welcome Center furniture.
The Personnel Committee: Follow up steps from the elders’ discussion with Clark Reinhart were reviewed. The elders will develop the process for ordination. Brian and Alec will get information from Gordon-Conwell on their process and edit to fit what Grace wants this to look like.
Action Item: Alec is going to get the questions Clark asked at the May 14 meeting so we can ensure they are answered.
Children’s ministry director search and update: The search committee is conducting second interviews and narrowing the pool of candidates who will be invited to weekend on-site interviews in June.
- Motion: Barb Sibley made a motion seconded by Alec Sharpe to revise the salary range for the children’s ministry director position. The motion passed.
- Motion: Harris Winston made a motion seconded by John Ulrich to approve a 2-night hotel stay for each of the 2 local candidates during their interview weekends. The motion passed.
Personnel manual changes regarding the hiring process. Personnel’s recommendations were referred back to chairperson Cindy Hays for clarification. The elder agreed to vote via email on recommendations once that was received. Action Item: Holly Cook will request that clarification.
A farewell love gift for Chris Sasser will be given to him by May 31.
Action Item: Brian will provide information for the elders to discuss via email regarding a gift for Chris.
Many thanks to Hope Tharrington, Karen Latta, and Cindy Hays for the ordination fellowship work!
Meeting was closed in prayer by Brian Worley.
Elder Meeting Minutes for May 14, 2013
Attending: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley
Meeting opened with dinner with Clark Rinehart and a discussion followed about the ministry/ordination process that Clark may desire to enter into. Great dialogue with Clark about his heart for ministry and how he has seen his time under Sass increase his desire to be in ministry.
Clark provided the elders with some questions that he would like answered in regards to the process of ordination and a time line that he could expect.
Time with Clark concluded with the elders laying hands on Clark and praying for his summer mission trips and the next steps towards his request to be ordained at Grace.
Tithing the tithe: Part 1:
Discussions around the three main areas of this topic were defined:
- Tithing the tithe
- Tithing as a principle of giving as a congregation
- General philosophy of giving/stewardship
Topic was tabled until the May 21st meeting with the question posed: What are we trying to decide?
Nominating Committee forms and process:
Joe Toomey attended the meeting to walk the elders through the flow chart and time line of the elder nomination process.
Joe asked for guidance from the elders on the number of elders for nomination this year. The consensus was 1 to 2.
- Motion: Harris Winston made a motion seconded by Jack Curtin to accept the flow chart, nomination form and elder candidate information form proposed by Joe Toomey, Nominating Committee Chair. The motion passed.
The elder nominations will begin as of Sunday, June 9, and Joe will make the announcement and explain the process in worship that Sunday.
Elder shepherding and pastor’s report:
John UIrich led the discussion on the final two chapters of Third Conversion. Question posed: What is our mission or calling?
Adult discipleship: Discussion about Doug Bergeson helping to set up a plan for adult discipleship on a volunteer basis. All were excited about Doug being willing to step into this area.
John made a request to do premarital counseling for Jordan Brown and Dillon. Request was approved.
- Motion: Alec Sharpe made a motion seconded by Holly Cook to approve the April 16 elder meeting minutes. The motion passed.
Process for Chris Sasser’s ordinations was discussed. Barb Sibley will follow up with Sass and communicate to elders by Friday on final flow of service.
John Ulrich invited the elders to attend the current new members’ class on Wednesday, May 22.
Jack Curtin reviewed the Executive Personnel Committee meeting on April 30 with John Ulrich. All went well.
Meeting concluded with prayer.
Elder Meeting Minutes—April 16, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Brian Worley
Absent: Harris Winston
Barb Sibley called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm with prayer for Alec Sharpe.
- Motion for 2012 audit. Prior to this meeting, an email motion was made by Brian Worley and seconded by Harris Winston to approve a full financial audit for 2012, table all discussion regarding the 2012 audit, and ask the Finance Committee to review policies and recommend procedures for future audits by May 30, 2013. Barb Sibley asserted that all elders must consent to voting in an informal setting, in this case, via email. Consent was obtained, and the motion passed by a 4-3 majority vote.
- Motion to approve Andy Page for Finance Committee member. Moved by Holly Cook and seconded by Brian Worley. The motion passed.
- Motion to approve April 2 meeting minutes. Moved by Holly Cook and seconded by John Ulrich. The motion passed.
Policy Manual Review:
Holly Cook distributed the latest updates and proposed changes for the bylaws, policy, and personnel manual, which will be combined into one notebook. The bylaws are subject to changes only through a congregational vote; the policies and personnel procedures are subject to changes and updates through a vote by the elders.
Some of the changes noted and discussed include the following:
- updating and adding wedding and funeral policies at Grace
- handling requests from outside ministries for scheduling and using the building
- endorsing and caring for seminary students
- defining when pastors on staff are eligible for sabbatical
- addressing unlawful harassment and/or sexual abuse of children or youth by staff or volunteers
Various proposed changes in staff titles throughout the policies eliminate references to outdated organizational structures at the church and replace those references with current titles and organizational reporting.
In addition, both the Finance and Personnel Committees are reviewing policies that pertain to their responsibilities.
- Motion to accept changes in the policies and personnel manual as presented and also suggested amendments, as of April 2013. Moved by Alec Sharpe and seconded by Brian Worley. The motion passed, with many thanks to Holly Cook for her work and oversight of this project.
Stewardship is ongoing at this time.
Chris Sasser’s Ordination:
On Sunday, April 14, at 4:30 pm, the Board of Elders met with Chris and Karin Sasser to receive Chris’s request for ordination at Grace. Chris and Karin reflected on their ministries over the years and their next steps in Wilmington, NC. The elders accepted Chris’s transcripts from Fuller Theological Seminary and also Gordon-Conwell as Chris continues to pursue a master’s degree in Christian leadership. At that meeting, the elders affirmed Chris’s call and vocation as a pastor, recognized that Chris and Karin were being sent out to expand the kingdom of God at Port City Community Church, and prayed for them and their family.
- Motion to approve and affirm Chris Sasser’s request for ordination at Grace Community Church. Moved by Holly Cook and seconded by Jack Curtin. The motion passed. Chris Sasser’s ordination will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2013, at 4:30 pm.
The meeting closed at 10 pm with prayer offered by Alec Sharpe.
Next Board of Elders meeting: May 14, 2013
Elder Meeting Minutes April 2, 2013
Present: Holly Cook, Jack Curtin, Alec Sharpe, Barb Sibley, John Ulrich, Harris Winston, Brian Worley Also present for the children’s ministry discussion was Cindy Hays, chair of Personnel Committee.
- Alec Sharpe gave devotional on being a servant from Philippians 2:3-4.
- Prayer over Mary Sharpe and Chris Radtke
- Prayer for their upcoming women’s retreat in upstate New York
- Elder Shepherding and Pastor’s Report
- The Third Conversion (“A Glimpse into the Kingdom”)
- Vision statement
- Elders will give a brief talk to the congregation about the vision statement either in person or by video.
- Action Step: Nathan Head will be contacting us to arrange.
- Chris Sasser ordination and follow up with Clark Rinehart.
- Clark will meet with the elders after April 8th
- Action Step: Alec will tell Clark the elders want to meet with him possibly at the beginning of the May meeting.
- May 19th is the final Sunday for Chris at Grace. There is a process that needs to take place before that Sunday in order for ordination to occur. A task team must be formed immediately and the process undertaken over the next 5 weeks. Order for May 19th is regular services followed by a reception after each service which will be hosted by the Personnel Committee. The ordination service will occur at 4:30 pm that day with a dinner to follow. The dinner will be hosted by the church.
- Action Steps: Barb Sibley will check the policy for the necessity to have a task team and what is responsible for the ordination. Barb will share her thoughts with Brian Worley and John to develop a plan. Set a time for Chris to meet with the elders to receive their blessings.
- Personnel Report-Children’s Ministry Director search
- Task team summary – Shared in document form with the elders.
- Philosophy of ministry – Shared in document form with the elders. Brian Worley recommended the 17 concepts delineated in the philosophy of ministry document be clearly understood by the search team and elders.
- Motion: Harris Winston made a motion seconded by Holly Cook to accept the philosophy of ministry as proposed by the Personnel Committee. The motion passed.
- Clark will meet with the elders after April 8th
- Director profile – Four characteristics listed: pastoral shepherd, engaging communicator, relational equipper, and team player.
- Motion: Holly made a motion seconded by Jack Curtin to accept the director profile as proposed by the Personnel Committee. The motion passed.
- Job posting/ description – The posting will be on the web in the coming week.
- Motion: Alec Sharpe made a motion seconded by Brian Worley to accept the job posting / description as proposed by the Personnel Committee. The motion passed.
- Next steps with search process
- Barb Sibley recommended we decommission the task team composed of Barbara Osborne, Michelle Starbuck, DJ Hill, Beth Gentile, Katie Hemp, and Brian Worley. A sincere “thank you” by the board will be sent to the members.
- The children’s ministry director search will be nationwide.
- Personnel update
- Personnel Committee will host a reception after each service on May 19th for Chris Sasser.
- Post-evaluations have been completed with pastor evaluations remaining.
The remaining discussion pertaining to personnel centered on confidential staffing issues. In the course of that discussion, three motions were proposed, the first of which not seconded and therefore not passed. Harris Winston motioned a staffing recommendation which was seconded by Holly Cook and was passed. In addition, a corollary motion regarding staffing was proposed by Holly and seconded by Jack Curtin. The motion passed.
- Stewardship and Finance Updates
- Budget 2013 confirmation
- Brian confirmed that everyone had a copy.
- Budget 2013 confirmation
- Finance Committee Report March 2013
- Discussion about the Finance Committee providing an exact number for the budget vs. the varying recommendations.
- Missions giving continues to be raised in terms of it be 4% of the giving or $36,000. If it is 4% of budget that would be $54,000 and not $36,000. The $36,000 is being used in the budget as a number of record. The statement of the board is 4%. Concerning the months of January – March, we will need to catch up by allocating 4% of the giving for each month and adding it to April.
- We have $8,000 in the budget for a full audit. We had discussed doing a partial audit saving $2,000 every other year. Our policy requires a yearly audit but whether a full or partial is the question.
- Action item:
- Brian Worley will request a recommendation from the Finance Committee on the audit.
- Action item:
- Stewardship initiative updates
- Stewardship recommends we not send a letter thanking the members for giving.
- There will be a meeting of the members on April 14th to discuss stewardship with refreshments served. Present will be elders and members of the Finance Committee.
- Attendance and giving through March 2013
- January attendance was down 12% from previous January.
- Giving was down 4%.
- Net loss was $23,317.
- February attendance was up 2.6% from previous February.
- Giving was down 25%.
- Net loss was $43,541.
- March attendance was up 12% from previous March.
- Giving was down 12.4%.
- Net loss is $30,670.
- If April and May reflect January and February, we will be out of cash.
- Discussed informing the congregation of our financial condition.
- Barb recommended we spend the next 2 weeks in prayer about what next steps we take.
- Elder administration:
- Discussed going to one service for the summer. Decision was to stay with two services.
- Motion: Brian Worley made motion and seconded by Jack Curtin to approve minutes for February 19 and March 5th. Motion was passed.
- Procedures for future minutes
- In the future, all minutes will be sent to Barb Sibley for editing and collaboration. She will then send out final minutes.
- January attendance was down 12% from previous January.
- Motion: To the motion on Feb. 19, 2013 related to the savings account and years of repayments from 2013-2015, the elders agree to change to a specific yearly amount and agree to pay back to the saving account by December 31, 2016, $83,000. This motion was made by Brian Worley and seconded by Jack Curtin Motion passed.
- Update from Nominating Committee
- Process being developed for committee members including questions.
- Four names were given to serve on the Finance Committee. A recommendation will be forthcoming within the next week.
- Elder nominations will begin in May.
- Report on policy manual revisions
- Holly Cook will send out the policy manual prior to next meeting with changes highlighted.
- Close of meeting in prayer by Jack Curtin.
Next meeting: April 16 to review policy manual
Board of Elders Meeting Minutes March 5, 2013
Also present for stewardship/finance discussion: Skip White and David Osborne
Barb Sibley called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm, and John Ulrich opened with prayer.
John led a discussion of “New Wineskins” chapter of The Third Conversion.
Stewardship and Finance
Skip, a member of the Finance Committee, was invited to share his sub-team’s plans for the upcoming stewardship campaign in April. Much discussion centered on the overall goal of the campaign: Is it to gain financial commitments or to present an opportunity for members to think about their giving in terms of overall discipleship and to find joy in their giving?
The consensus was that the stewardship time would be more about “inside out” giving, with members having the chance to spend time asking God how He would direct their giving, rather than “outside in” giving, which puts pressure on people to give because they feel obligated.
Action items: It was decided that members would have the option to return pledge cards or keep them. Still to be determined: whether to handle follow up with thank you letters. Finally, if anyone had specific questions about the budget figures, he/she would be referred to the Finance Committee.
The elders offered special thanks to Skip and his team regarding stewardship.
From there, David Osborne, chair of the Finance Committee, led a discussion about the options for the 2013 budget. He reviewed giving and attendance for January and February of 2012 vs. the same two months of 2013. He also made three recommendations from the Finance Committee for the total budget for the elders to consider. They are as follows:
- $1,208,000 (which is based on a projected 1% giving increase over 2012)
- $1,260,000 to $1,275,000
- Whatever the elders decide should be based on where they feel God is leading them
Regardless of the final budget figure, Barb requested that the Finance Committee monitor income/expenses and keep the elders updated as the year progresses. David was thanked for his time and work on the budget.
Personnel Report and Budget Recommendations
Holly Cook presented a report from Personnel Committee from its most recent meeting. Regarding the 2013 budget, Personnel recommended a range from $624,000 to $651,000 for personnel expenses. A variety of options were discussed.
Brian Worley facilitated the budget discussion for three main areas comprising the 2013 total budget: staff expenses, operational expenses, and ministry expenses. A large range of options and possible decisions were discussed and prayed over. Regarding staff expenses, the following actions were approved:
- Offering a contract for Nathan Head, current contract worship leader, through December 31, 2013
- Hiring a full-time director of children’s ministry to begin August 1, 2013 with the interim position now in place ending August 26, 2013
- Hiring a part time coordinator of adult ministries, with a primary focus on small groups, to begin by July 1, 2013
- Distributing no 401K match for employees for 2013
Regarding operational expenses, the following actions were approved:
- Budgeting for atrium improvements to enhance a “welcoming community” atmosphere
- Reducing, as much as possible, expenses for items such as printing, maintenance, and furniture and equipment
- Removing a $13,000 repayment to the savings account
Regarding ministry expenses, the following actions were approved:
- Providing for missions as a percentage of operational giving.
Action item: With several line item budget figures still undecided, Harris Winston made a motion, seconded by Holly Cook, to accept a final budget with a ceiling of $1,255,000, with the actual final figure being agreed upon in the next few days via email approval. This motion passed.
In a subsequent email exchange, a motion was made by Holly Cook and seconded by Jack Curtin to approve a total budget of $1,250,000 for 2013. This budget includes staff expenses of $641,268; operational expenses of $496,232; and ministry expenses of $112,500. The motion passed.
Ordination process for Chris Sasser
The elders discussed the procedures for Chris Sasser’s ordination in May.
Action item: John will review current procedures and email the elders.
In a subsequent email exchange, the elders affirmed both the letter and the spirit of recommending Chris Sasser for ordination through Grace Community Church.
Moderator’s Recap and Next Steps
Barb asked for a motion to approve minutes from the January 15 and February 5 elder meetings—along with the end-of-year financial statements that were reviewed at the February 5 meeting—as well as the minutes from the February 10 special meeting of the members to elect the 2013 Nominating Committee. Jack made the motion and Holly seconded. The motion passed.
John presented a list of Grace members seeking dismissal from the church rolls. The motion to accept their dismissal was made by Brian, seconded by Holly, and approved. See attached list.
The next elder meeting will be April 2; the meeting in May will be on the 14th.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 pm.
Respectfully submitted, Alec Sharpe
MEMBERS TO BE DISMISSED
Elder Meeting 3/5/13
- Boersma, Todd Transferred to Summit Church (Briar Creek)
- Creech, Lindsay Transferred to Summit Church
- Sullivan (Futrell), Jan Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church
- Hamrick, Katherine Austin Edenton Street United Methodist Church
- Hess, Brenda Sunset United Methodist Church, Sunset Beach, NC
- Hess, Glenn Sunset United Methodist Church, Sunset Beach, NC
- Johnson, Carolyn Christ Baptist Church
- Johnson, Dale Christ Baptist Church
- King, Joy Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church
- Mason, Mary Christ Baptist Church
- Mason, Thomas Christ Baptist Church
- Meyer, Beth Holy Trinity Anglican Church
- Patterson, Sara Restoration Community Church
- Scott, Marian North Raleigh United Methodist Church
- Trumbower, Cindy Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church
- Viemont, Jenn United Church of Chapel Hill
- Viemont, Tom United Church of Chapel Hill
- Webster, Patrick Hayes Barton United Methodist Church
- Webster, Gwendolyn Hayes Barton United Methodist Church
- Weeks, Dawn Wake Forest Baptist Church
- Weeks, Kevin Wake Forest Baptist Church
Elder Meeting Minutes – 02/19/2013
Jack gave a devotional on the glory of God from Exodus 32-34 and Revelation 4-5.
The elders discussed the next two chapters of the book “Third Conversion” by R. Scott Rodin to help them examine the topic of stewardship.
Budget/Finance discussion (Brian/Harris)
Motion 1: The board considered a suggestion from the finance committee to use a “tithing the tithe” model for funding missions. A motion was made by Brian and seconded by Harris to table a decision on this until May in order to allow the elders to prayerfully consider this request. The motion to table the discussion until May passed.
Motion 2: Harris made a motion seconded by John to direct 4% of operational giving to missions. This funding would be above and not to include any funds directly designated for missions. The motion passed.
Motion 3: Brian made a motion seconded by Harris to rename the Forray/Money Market Account to ‘General Saving Account’ and to operate it as a savings account for the Church. The savings account is to be managed by the Elder Board and all transactions must be approved by the Elder Board. Motion passed.
Motion 4: Brian made a motion seconded by Harris to add a budget item to contribute $27,000 in each of the years 2013, 2014, and 2015 (for a total contribution of $81,000) to this savings account. Motion passed.
Motion 5: Brian made a motion seconded by Harris to table discussions regarding future facility needs until June 2013. Motion passed.
Next meeting March 5th
Grace Community Church Special Meeting of the Membership
Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 9:15 am
Barb Sibley, Board of Elders moderator, called the meeting to order by declaring a quorum.
Barb stated the purpose of the congregational meeting was to elect the Nominating Committee for 2013; she also explained some of the changes with the governance structure and timing of calls for the board committees, with the Nominating Committee commencing on a January-December time line and with committee members serving 3-year terms.
Barb also explained that the Nominating Committee’s role is to recommend members to serve on the Board of Elders as well as on Personnel and Finance and that according to our bylaws, the election of men and women to the Nominating Committee requires membership approval.
The members were then presented with nominees whom the Board of Elders was recommending to serve on the Nominating Committee. These persons include:
Jim Adams Chris Radtke Martha Sumner Erin Winston
Brad Gwinn Jim Salisbury Joe Toomey
Barb added that with the changes in governance structure enacted in 2012, Alec Sharpe, a current elder, serves on this Committee as a board liaison. John Ulrich also serves.
Barb then asked if there were nominations from the floor: none were presented.
A motion was made and seconded by the members to approve the slate as presented. A vote by raised hands was taken. All who voted were in favor of these candidates to serve on the Nominating Committee. No voting members opposed.
Barb declared that the nominees for the Nominating Committee were thus approved.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.
Barb closed the meeting with prayer at 9:25 am.
Subsequent to this meeting, Barb also introduced Erin Winston as Interim Director of Children’s Ministry; in addition, Barb communicated the membership vote taken at the 9:15 congregational meeting at the beginning of the 11 am worship service and again introduced Erin Winston.
Grace Community Church
Elder Meeting Minutes – 02/05/2013
The elder’s discussed the 1st two chapters of the book “Third Conversion” by R. Scott Rodin to help them examine the topic of stewardship. Many aspects were examined, including the idea of raising up faithful stewards vs. just raising funds. The joy of generosity was discussed. Afterwards, there was a brief discussion regarding the upcoming sermon series and the shepherding discussion ended with a discussion of the new vision statement under consideration: “Growing together in a faith that makes sense; being transformed from the inside out”.
Barb talked about our upcoming meeting to approve the list of folks recommended for the nominating committee at the 9:15 service on Sunday 2/10/13. She agreed to lead and take the minutes for the congregational meeting. The congregation would be asked to vote on the following nominees that were selected by the elder board and sent to all the church membership for review:
Jim Adams, Brad Gwinn, Chris Radtke, Jim Salisbury, Martha Sumner, Joe Toomey, Erin Winston
Next, the elders approved the membership of those who just completed the new member class:
Christy and Scott Burkey, Gregg and Tracey Margosian, Derrick Flynt, Tom Harrington, Jennifer Marko, Lynn Scott, and Glenn Vanover
Brian and Harris led a finance discussion. The elders were asked to review the annual balance sheet and end of year report for 2012. A few important statistics are that income for 2012 exceeded 2011 and that Grace ended the year with a healthy cash balance of about $104k. Brian suggested we should strive for an even healthier end of year balance of $175k in the future.
The end of year reports were approved by the board. These documents are attached.
Brian told the board that there are many issues that the church committees are waiting for the elders to make decisions about or at least give them a timeframe in which to expect answers. The following are the areas that need to be addressed:
1) being a tithing church (tithing the tithe). Top priority
2) saving/repay Forray account? Second priority
3) missions income/expense?
4) June, 2016 facility? negotiations summer of 2014. If we are going to move, this becomes the top priority.
5) stewardship campaign 2013? Finance is already working on this
1) 4 possible positions vacant
-music (coverage, interim, hire)
-children – interim in place, philosophy research in progress, search to follow
2) If we only could afford one position, what is the #1 priority? Brian shared this is important to resolve quickly.
And overall, we have these unresolved issues
-questions-> * how does a church grow with this vision?
2) sr adults
3) adult ministries
-education/discipleship (small groups)
Brian asked the elders to prioritize and make decisions on these items. The elders very briefly discussed some of them. The decision was made to make decisions on the top priority items before March 5th.
Brian accepted an action item to look into what it would take to pay Unemployment insurance for the staff since Grace currently does not pay Unemployment insurance (and is not required to do so by law).
With this list of issues to be resolved as background, Brian/Harris presented the initial (draft) 2013 proposed budget (final budget due March 5th). After the budget was presented, the elders were asked to pray and consider the proposal in the next few days.
Harris reminded the elders that by Feb 19th we need to let the Finance committee know if/how we want to finance missions because of the budget vote March 5th.
Barb also asked the elders to pray about adult ministry and shepherding at Grace. The meeting ended with prayer.
Next meeting Feb 19th
Elder Meeting Minutes – 1/22/2013
The meeting started with a devotion (Holly).
The elders then visited the Stephen Ministry class to pray with the new students.
- John — pastor’s thoughts
- John suggested a book for us to read and discuss as a group – The Third Conversion by R. Scott Rodin
- Sunday’s sermon will be about giving: financially, in service and in worship.
The concept of “wherever the gospel is embraced, generosity follows,” is all through the Bible. There is a difference between sacrifice and generosity. If we share with an open, generous heart, we need to accept the resources God has given us. As a church, what if we let go of entrenched expectations and die to ourselves?
Next week, the sermon will address who we are as a church and where we are going.
- Barb – elder administration
- Feb. 3 is Communion Sunday – Jack is scheduled to be elder of the month, but he is involved with Metamorphosis and will be busy that morning. Barb offered to switch with Jack and will coordinate communion servers. Nathan Head will take care of communion supplies.
- Nominating Committee — Harris moved to accept the Nominating Committee’s recommendations for nominees to the Nominating Committee. The motion passed. The congregational meeting to approve nominees will be Sunday, Feb. 10. The vote will be at the 9:15 service. Notice of the meeting will go out via email and by regular mail to those members who do not receive email.
The first order of business of the new Nominating Committee will be Corey Simpson’s replacement.
- New member class – John said it was a good class on Sunday night; there are nine candidates for membership. The elders will meet the class on Sunday, Feb. 3 at lunch. Barb, Harris, Jack and Alec will go (Holly will be out of town). An issue that remains to be resolved — What is the next step for these people once they become members?
- Minutes – Once minutes are approved, they will go on the website. Barb wants unanimous approval.
- NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings – Whether to have NA meetings at Grace is a staff issue. Brian sent an email to the elders explaining the process to be followed. The request goes to the executive pastor, who discusses it with the senior pastor, and then they discuss with staff. Jack said that NA will submit a formal, written request to the church.
- Joanne Salisbury — for Hospitality Team (First Impressions)
The elders went out to the atrium to meet with Joanne and talk about plans the FITS team has to improve Grace’s hospitality toward visitors, especially first-timers. Main issue: How do we become more proactive in caring for those who visit Grace?
Joanne presented sketches of modifications to the Welcome Center to make it more inviting and open. The new furniture would be mobile rather than stationary and would be moved to the center of the atrium to make the Welcome Center more visible. The cost could be up to $9,000. All hospitality would be moved to the Welcome Center, including the serving of coffee and tea. The team also is looking at an electronic name tag system similar to that used by Children’s Ministry.
- David Osborne — chair of Finance Committee
David came to the meeting to discuss the 2013 budget and Finance Committee initiatives.
- The committee is preparing the 2013 budget to present at the February elder meeting.
- David introduced the concept of “tithing the tithe” (discussed in the Old Testament –Deuteronomy) in which 10% of offerings go outside the walls of the church (in our case, to missions). Attendees would be challenged to increase their operational giving to the church by $5 each week. This increased giving could total as much as $260 per attendee per year, for a total increase of as much as $115,700, which would be earmarked for Missions. Designated giving to Missions would still be allowed.
John — If we endorse tithing, it is not because theologically we are under the law. Rather, we give generously as a biblical expression of our faith. This is not the only way to fund missions—we could do faith promises (as we did last year), wherein members are moved to make designated contributions to the Mission Ministry.
The idea of tithing the tithe represents a major shift. We need to pray about this and perhaps even set aside a day of fasting.
- David next discussed the Finance Committee’s thoughts on a Savings Plan – a “rainy day” fund to help us through the “dry spells” of summer so that we do not need to make emergency pleas for additional giving.
However, the previous board voted to withdraw $83,000 from the Forray account for building renovations and to pay back the funds as soon as would be practical. That repayment could be the priority.
The church can be a role model for members through the management of finances.
Timeline – final decision on “tithing the tithe” and the savings proposal will be Feb. 19.
- Barb, Brian – Personnel Issues
Barb had previously distributed a progress report from Michelle Starbuck, chair of the children’s ministry task team. The team is working to research, develop and write a philosophy of children’s ministry at Grace. The group is meeting frequently and expects to finish by the end of February.
Members of the task force are studying scripture, reading books, analyzing curriculum and contacting children’s ministry staff at several other churches in the Southeast. Among the important issues they will consider: How will children’s ministry segue into the middle school and high school ministries?
Elizabeth Voiers will chair the search team for the new Children’s Ministry director. The team should be in place by Feb. 1.
Brian reported that the Personnel Committee will meet on Jan. 29 and will be preparing the 2013 compensation package for the elders to approve. What the elders must consider at the same time is the ideal organizational structure at Grace now and into the future. What will be the staffing priorities – someone for discipleship and education; someone to foster growth; the children? How do we best steward the church in staffing? As elders we need to consider how we can get in front of this issue and stay in front of it. Brian would love to say to Personnel –“here is the order of the hire.”
- Barb — Moderator’s recap
We need to clear up confusion regarding the vision statement and whether we all consider it to be final. There is some concern about the phrase “a faith that makes sense.” John’s explanation: The more I think like God, the more faith makes sense; it is like saying “renewing of the mind.”
While everyone feels comfortable with the concept of the vision, the phrasing may have to be tweaked a bit.
John will work on clarifying the statement, we will all pray about it, and we will share it with those close to us.
Nathan will be leading music on Sunday. Please pray for the congregation’s reception.
Next elder meeting: Tuesday, February 5, at Grace
Elder Meeting 1/15/13 – Vision Discussion
The meeting opened in prayer.
John launched the discussion by referring to the following passage:
“ Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
- He then asked: Do we (Grace) need to die to ourselves as a church so that we can then produce many seeds?
- Our goal is for God’s kingdom to grow inside of us so that everywhere we go, ministry is getting done, whether it supports Grace or not. If we take care of God’s business, He’ll take care of ours.
- We must trust God to bear fruit.
- The Church’s mandate is the Great Commission. Each church takes facet of the mandate to live out. Moreover, vision is discerned, not decided.
- She suggested using the acronym VIM – vision, intention, means—as our guidepost.
- Let’s not just put a “vision” on a shelf once we are done. How does it trickle down to the rest of the church?
The discussion then moved to a dissection of the statement that John made several months ago in assessing his personal vision:
Building a faith that makes sense by transforming people from the inside out.
- Rather than “by transforming,” should the statement read: “and transforms”?
- John said he would prefer “growing in a faith” rather than “building a faith.”
- John referred to Romans 12:1-2 — Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- John explained what he meant by “a faith” – not belief (as a verb), but as a belief system that defines who we are and informs how we live our lives. He also explained what he meant by “building” – we are never done and are always learning and discovering.
The discussion then moved to how John’s statement (or a revision of the statement) could apply to the various parts of Grace:
- Missions –as we are transformed, we think outside ourselves and our own needs and reach out to those beyond the walls of the church to spread the Gospel, in our own city and throughout the world.
- Worship – preaching informs how to think, not just what to think – yet there is a piece of worship that is a mystery and will always be a mystery.
- Discipleship—ultimate goal – renewing of the mind – if faith is right, actions will follow.
- Children’s ministry—parents have a faith that grows in them and they are able to disciple their children.
- Youth ministry—same thing as children’s ministry—small moments that lead to transformation.
- Finances – longing for the congregation to give joyfully from the inside – giving doesn’t come from guilt or need.
- Community/fellowship – relationships that grow the Gospel or the kingdom.
- Outreach – bringing the hope of Christ with you at all times; it’s not a program; it’s an outward result of our inward growth.
- Staff and leadership– growing staff and leaders from the inside out – nurturing them to grow the kingdom.
This way of ministry involves risk, because it requires trust.
How to measure success?
- A church body that has variety and movement – non-believers, seekers, people who are growing, people with deep faith–broad enough that all types are connected in the church body and all have a place in the church. Disciples are being made.
- To see God’s kingdom grow within us and outside us in all that we do.
- Life change, captured.
- Successful small groups.
Statement as it is written does not address:
- The corporate
- The mystery
- The word “building”
- The word “by”
- The heart – is the statement too logical?
What is God calling us to do for this leg of our journey? This is not an eternal statement.
Each person then took 10 minutes to rewrite the statement so that it would address our concerns. The revised statements were as follows:
Alec — Building on faith that transforms Grace from the inside out.
Jack – Develop a community grounded in a faith that makes sense, a faith that transforms people from the inside out.
Brian – Developing a community of people exploring the gospel of Jesus Christ as God transforms each person from the inside out.
Harris – Inviting our community to grow in a faith that makes sense, transforming people from the inside out.
Barb – Investing in a faith in Christ that takes root, makes sense and transforms people from the inside out.
And finally, John’s reworked statement, which we all agreed will be the one we use:
Our vision: Growing together in a faith that makes sense; being transformed by Christ from the inside out.
John’s final question for us all to ponder: How do we get buy-in?
The meeting ended in prayer.
Next elder meeting: Tuesday, January 22, 6:30pm, Room 114, Grace
Elder Meeting Minutes – 1/8/2013
- The meeting began with scripture, reflection and much prayer.
- We then moved onto administrative issues:
We will continue to follow an alphabetical schedule for “elder of the month.” The elder of the month will be responsible for communion, writing meeting minutes and offering a devotion at the start of the elder meeting. Holly is January’s elder of the month.
Alec agreed to organize the weekly 9am prayer time with the worship team. Resting elders will be invited to join us, and there will be no formal schedule. Pat McInnes, who initiated the prayer time last year, has expressed an interest in continuing.
Alec, Harris and Holly said everything is going well so far in their roles as liaisons to the Nominating, Finance and Personnel committees. Jack’s work on Executive Personnel will start soon.
- Update on progress with a new Nominating Committee–Six people have been confirmed for the Nominating Committee: Jim Adams, Brad Gwinn, Chris Radtke, Jim Salisbury, Joe Toomey and Erin Winston. Joe will serve on and chair the committee this year. He would like one additional voting member.
- Corey Simpson has had to step off the Finance Committee, leaving a vacancy on Finance that will be filled once the congregation has approved the new Nominating Committee.
- This Sunday morning between services, a “Meet and Greet Grace” will take place in room 123. It will be an opportunity for visitors to find out more about the church.
- Finance report (Brian, with input from Harris)
2012 estimated expenses totaled $1,235,000, $15,000 below budget.
Total income from contributions is expected to be $1,195,000.
The year ended on a much more positive note financially than had been expected, with December contributions totaling an estimated $210,000. In addition, giving increased year to year for the first time since 2007. Cash in the bank stood at $119,000 as of Friday, Jan. 5.
- Personnel report (Holly and Brian) – Erin Winston has started as the interim director of children’s ministry. The task team that was formed to assemble a philosophy of ministry and a profile for the next director has been working since December under Michelle Starbuck’s leadership. A chair for the Children’s Ministry search team should be finalized very soon, followed by formation of the rest of the team. The elders and the Personnel Committee will make sure to communicate regularly as the search for a new Children’s Ministry director continues.
The remaining discussion on personnel centered on confidential staffing issues.
Harris moved to accept a staffing recommendation proposed by the Personnel Committee. The motion was approved.
- John shared his personal vision statement – “I am trying to build a faith that makes sense by transforming people from the inside out.” He asked each of us to study this statement over the next week – are we OK with it? Our meeting on Tuesday, January 15 will focus on a discussion of the statement and its implications for Grace.
- The meeting ended with prayer led by Harris.
Next meeting: Tuesday, January 15, 6pm, at Grace