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August 18, 2013

Announcement: Update on Plans for Responding to Numeric Growth

Chapel Family, I am before you tonight to share a brief report regarding our efforts to work through the blessing of the numerical growth we are experiencing. I’d like to start by previewing what I will be sharing. First, I want to restate our commitment to frequent and open communication. Second, I want to let you know what has been done in this building since we last updated you. Third, I’d like to tell you the results of the exploratory process we engaged upon, searching out the possibility of a second campus. Fourth and finally, I’d like to let you know what our next steps will be.

Commitment to Communicate

On May 12, when we last gave an update of this nature, we told you that we would work hard to communicate regularly, clearly, and consistently. At the Chapel, we do communication about this kind of issue from the pulpit, through the website, and at flocks. Of those three methods, the only one that really allows for deeper interaction over the topic is flock. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to attend flock meetings on Wednesday night.  As we often say, when it comes to body life, this is where the action is. It is also where the opportunity to interact extensively with your pastor over reports like this one is. With that said, we want to restate our commitment to work hard at communicating regularly, clearly, and consistently and to correct our communication when necessary. This report is just over 3 months out from the last one – probably just on the edge of being not frequent enough. So we’ll continue to work on this. If you have thoughts and ideas about how we can improve in this area, please let an elder know.

Update on Changes in this Building

During our previous announcement we outlined a number of changes that were being worked on to accommodate more people at this facility. Here is succinct update:

·  The tables are gone! We use to store a large number of folding tables in the rear of the auditorium. These have been relocated to open up floor space .

·  The mailboxes are gone! We use to have all the mailboxes also in the rear of the auditorium. These have been relocated to the lobby where the bookstore was and the bookstore has been moved across the lobby to the infant nursery drop-off area.

·  Moving the tables and the mailboxes have allowed us place another 15 or 20 chairs in the auditorium bringing our seating to 340 or so.

·  The sound in the overflow room is in the process of being improved with new speakers and new ability to mix the sound from the auditorium. We anticipate completing this project in October.

·  We are exploring the possibility of creating more parking in the grassy space beside the play area and are awaiting quotes on engineering, excavating, and paving.

If you have thoughts and ideas about how to further maximize room in this building, please let an elder know.

Off-Campus Expansion

In May we told you that we were going to begin exploring to possibilities. The first was to move to a larger building and the second was to develop a second campus. We also stated that these efforts did not preclude the exploration of other options such as expanding our current campus. Pastors Tim Nixon and Russ Kennedy, with your help and suggestions, explored many different options for larger buildings and second campuses. The bottom line of their findings is simply that we don’t have enough money as a church to wisely embark upon either of these efforts at this time. Unless the Lord were to bring along a unique opportunity, which he may yet do, it is not financially feasible for us to buy a larger building or lease an additional property at this time. If you’d like more details, your elders will be happy to discuss further in flock meetings or in 1:1 conversation – just ask.

Next Steps

So now what? As a church and as your elders we have committed to maximum truth to maximum people. We believe that the Scripture constrains us to no less and therefore believe, at the conviction level, that we must continue to work to find a way to bring the Word to all the people that God brings to the Chapel. We were hoping and perhaps even anticipating that something might make sense in terms of a second campus or larger facility. That has turned out not to be the case. As much as we would like to appear to be a group of pastors who have all the answers, we don’t. This keeps us humble and dependent on our Savior. Given these circumstances, we are going to explore another direction and I’ll discuss that in a moment.

In the meantime, we will do a couple of things. First, we will stop actively pursuing a larger facility or a second campus. This does not mean that we are no longer open to these ideas. Again, if the Lord brings along such opportunities that we can wisely move into, we will ambitiously do so. We are simply going to redirect our energies for the time being. Second, we will continue to investigate ways of making yet more room in this building. This may mean changes in type of seating or seating arrangements. It will likely mean some additional changes in our utilization of the overflow room. If you have other ideas, we heartily invite you to share them with an elder. Third, we will expedite the process of paying down our current mortgage.  This will include allocating more of our budget to paying down the mortgage (you’ll hear more about that in our upcoming annual report) and planning for a major campaign-style approach to further mortgage reduction. The good news on this front is that the Chapel went into this mortgage with a significant down payment and you have continued to give very generously over the last several years since we have added the classroom space. We are not terribly far from paying off the mortgage.

Then what is the next direction we intend to explore in efforts support our commitment to maximum truth to maximum people? The answer to that question is expanding on this campus. While there is little appetite for moving toward another building program prior to eliminating the current mortgage, there is much that can be done to gather the facts and information needed to make a decision about the feasibility of this option. Hence, we will be forming a team to bring together the information that would be needed to identify the necessary requirements and requests for an on-campus expansion. This information will be passed on to a builder who will provide us with a cost estimate. We will continue to prepare for whatever the Lord brings next financially as well. Once the current mortgage is paid off, we will convert both the mortgage budget line and the mortgage reduction fund to an expansion budget line and expansion fund.

We are not sure where all of this will lead. We remain open to all options but are attempting to strategically work our way through each possible course of action wisely. I’ve said it a number of times but will repeat it once more – We desire your wisdom and input. Please feel free to ask the elders questions, ask for clarification, offer suggestions and thoughts. Maximum truth to maximum people is not simply an initiative the elders dreamed up. It is the work of the kingdom and we all, therefore, must engage the work seriously and joyfully. May God mature those who are believers through the work done in this church. May he save those who are not believers through the work done in this church. And “… may we all be one, just as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, may we be in the Father and the Son so that the world may believe that the Son comes from the Father. In our unity here at the Chapel, may the world see and believe in Jesus Christ our Savior.

As with the previous announcement in May, this announcement will be posted on the website shortly and be available to you in future days. Let’s pray.

Pastor Devon Berry
For the Elders