Transition Team Recommendations and Council Responses/Decisions
Transition Team Members Co-Chairs: Susan Smies& Ann Steenwyk Team: Sam Hamstra, Carol Dekker, Wayne Haartman, Steve Kiel, Brittney Kramer, Roger Leys, Joel Navis, Jen Otte, Chris Nonhof, Al Sherven, Tom VanderPuy, JavanVandeSlunt
Recommendation #1 • The Transition Team reviewed the current mission statement and determined that it may be too cumbersome to be useful as a teaching tool for the congregation. So, we set out to modify it while remaining true to its spirit. • We recommend that the Council adopt and promote the following:
#1 continued • Visionfor Calvin Church: A people pursuing intimacy with God, community with one another, and connections with our neighbors • Mission of Calvin Church: Reaching Up in worship, Reaching Out with the Good News, Together reaching with love for one another • Mission Tag Line for Marketing Purposes: Reaching Up, Reaching Out, Together • ValuesWhich Govern our Mission: We are a community of forgiven and forgiving disciples led by the Word and led by the Spirit.
#1 continued • In order to complete this recommendation, we foresee the need for the Council to take the following steps: • Commission a graphic artist to design a logo that captures our new vision and mission. • Commission a website designer to update our website so as to reflect our vision and mission. • Design and purchase posters/frames for each item above. These will be displayed throughout our facility. • Design power-point slides featuring each of the above. These will be scrolled on the screens in the sanctuary before our services begin.
Council Action Council adopted the Vision, Mission, Mission Tag line and values recommended by the Transition Team. We also accept the Marks and Measurements of the Healthy church to help us determine if we have been successful. Recommendations for implementation were sent to Administration Committee.
Recommendation #2 • The Transition Team affirms the importance of our worship services, the significant role played by music in those services, the growing complexity associated with planning our Sunday Services, and the valuable contribution of volunteers who participate in those services • We, therefore, recommend that we appoint a half-time Minister of Music/Worship Leader/Worship Coordinator to assist our Senior Pastor in the planning and execution of our worship services. If this person were employed by the arrival of our Senior Pastor, he or she would be employed on an interim basis so that the new Senior Pastor has a voice in the selection of the permanent Minister of Music.
#2 continued • We believe the ideal candidate for this position will be: • A trained musician able to lead worship and train others to do so, • An experienced musician able to lead choir and praise team, • A maturing Christian who understands the challenges facing an established church, and • A gifted coordinator of the volunteers and tasks involved in our Sunday service.
#2 continued • On a subject related to our Sunday morning services, we encourage the newly appointed Senior Pastor and Minister of Music to regularly include the following in our weekly liturgy: • Testimonies - We believe that the testimony is a “thick practice” that helps us hit several markers of congregational health. • Announcements which cultivate and deepen our appreciation for the congregation’s global mission. These announcements could include those placed in the bulletin and newsletter, but can and should be expanded to include presentations by our partners in mission (in person or through video).
Council Action • Council approved the appointment of a half-time Minister of Music/Worship Leader/Worship Coordinator to assist our Senior Pastor in the planning and execution of our worship services.
Recommendation #3 • The Transition Team recognizes the need for a new Sunday School curriculum for our children, one that engages and disciples our children by speaking to both the hearts and the heads of our children. • We, therefore, recommend that Council appoint a task force to select and implement a new curriculum to be launched on September 9, 2013.
#3 continued • Furthermore, we recommend that Council appoint the Administrative Committee to develop and implement a (perhaps three year) plan to upgrade the technology in our classrooms so that each one includes one or more of the following: flat screen TV/DVD player, Smart Board, and LCD Projector (for on-line features).
Council Action • Approval to adopt the curriculum “Orange” for use in Grades 6-8 • Approval to develop a plan to upgrade the technology within classrooms • Approval of a recommendation by the Education Committee that all class be held after morning worship
Recommendation #4 • The Transition Team believes that our ministry to high school students requires a major upgrade, one that expects great things from our students.
#4 continued • We recommend the following: • We no longer offer Sunday School classes specifically for High School Students. • On Sunday mornings, we encourage High School Students to take their place with the rest of the adults by serving as a teacher/assistant teacher of a Sunday School class for children or by participating in an intergenerational discipleship class or by participating in the worship ministry of the church. • The High School Youth meet on the first and third Wednesday nights (Wednesday Ministry Nights) during the academic year for food, fellowship, discipleship (Catechism), and for the planning of service projects and other activities.
#4 continued • We also recommend that the Council appoint a High School Ministry Champion/s who leads a High School Ministry Team (HSMT): • The HSMT shall consist of two or three students, one elder, as well as other key adults. • The HSMT shall provide direction, coordination, oversight, and volunteers for student Involvement on Sunday morning, catechism Teachers for Wednesday evening, and for other activities involving high school students. It is possible that the new Senior Pastor may want to and be so gifted to teach catechism to our High School students. • The HSMT would report to the Elders.
Council Action • Sam Hamstraserve as the High School Ministry Champion for the fall of 2013. • High School students will have Sunday school with intergenerational groups • High School students meet as a group on alternating Wednesdays for food, fellowship, discipleship (Catechism), and for the planning of service projects and other activities.
Recommendation #5 • We recommend that we suspend our weekly Sunday evening service on August 25 and that we replace it with strategic and realistic ministry opportunities.
#5 continued • By strategic, we mean ministries which help us meet our markers for congregational health. These ministries could include small groups, combined services with other congregations, special services (such as a Christmas program), congregational meals and meetings, and more. • By realistic, we mean that we should recognize certain Sunday evenings as family nights and not sponsor ministries on those evenings.
#5 continued • The rationale for this recommendation includes: • We need to create time in our church calendar for reaching out and reaching in. Sunday nights, for example, could be a good time for the discipleship and evangelism training mentioned in Recommendation #10. • The attendance for our Sunday evening services has dwindled and will most likely continue to dwindle. • We believe it imperative that our Senior Pastor embody our mission of reaching up, in and out. Towards that end, we don’t want to fill his week with sermon preparation. Instead, we want to provide time for him to lead us into the community. • We believe that the resources committed to the Sunday evening service could be used more efficiently.
Council Action • The Council moves to suspend our weekly Sunday evening service on September 15, and replace it with strategic and realistic ministry opportunities. • The Elders will be responsible for determining the Sunday night opportunities. • Beginning September 15, Elders will lead a study on “The Art of Spiritual Conversation” from Q Place
Recommendation #6 • Many wise leaders within the Christian Church encourage local congregations seeking renewal to discern where the Holy Spirit is already at work in the church, rather than trying to create a fire where one does not exist. • Following that advice, we affirm that the Holy Spirit is at work in Calvin Church through our ministry to teenage mothers.
#6 continued • We, therefore, recommend that the Council prioritize our Teen MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) ministry by encouraging broader participation by the congregation. • Furthermore, we recommend that the Council ask the current leaders of Teen MOPS to develop a plan (including a budget) which encourages participants to take additional steps in their spiritual journeys with the final goal of their full participation in the life of the church. These opportunities could be small group studies, participation in service projects or the community garden, a “Classic Mops” ministry, a ministry for Teen fathers, and the like.
Council Action • The Council approved all recommendations regarding the prioritization of the TeenMOPS ministry, and the congregations participation in it. • Plans are being made for the inclusion of a MOPS program on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Recommendation #7 • The Transition Team recognizes and affirms that Calvin Church excels in the area of generous and sacrificial service. • We also recognize that we can improve our service as a corporate body to Sheboygan County (our local community): • Finally, we recognize that occasionally our corporate service flows from our agendas rather than allowing those we serve to determine how we serve them.
#7 continued • We recommend that Calvin Church partner with Volunteer Sheboygan, a civic group in our community, and regularly participate in volunteer events in the community, beginning with the July 19 “Day of Caring.” • Furthermore, we recommend that the Council delegate the responsibility for establishing and maintaining our partnership with Volunteer Sheboygan to the Deacons. • Council approved all recommendations
Recommendation #8 • Calvin Church has been blessed with green space that can be used in such a way to develop both our fellowship as a congregation and our impact on the community. • We recommend that we dedicate some of our green space to be used as a community garden. • We envision this as an inter-generational ministry with the potential to develop connections with our neighbors. • Council approved the recommendation
Recommendation #9 • The Transition Team envisions Sunday morning as our primary “reaching up” time as a congregation and Wednesday Ministry Nights as our primary “together” time as a congregation. • We have made recommendations (2 & 5) to establish and strengthen Sunday morning as our “reaching up” time.
#9 continued • We now recommend that Calvin Church prioritize Wednesday Ministry Nights as the primary “together” time by considering one or more of the following: • Encourage each person to participate, • Increase publicity and promotion, • Add ministries (like High School Catechism, discipleship classes, a time of “praise and worship”), and • Invite the two other Christian Reformed congregations in Sheboygan to join us in the planning and delivery of ministries like • Cadets and Gems.
#9 continued • We recommend, furthermore, that the Elders appoint a volunteer or part-time Mid-Week Ministry Coordinator to plan and supervise the Wednesday Night Ministry. We envision that this person will: • Create an annual budget, recruit ministry leaders, promote mid-week ministry, coordinate space and volunteers, • Create and meet regularly with a team of mid-week ministry leaders, and • Report to the Senior Pastor. • Finally, we recommend that the Administrative Committee recruit and select a Ministry Coordinator and recommend to Elders. • Council approved all recommendations
Recommendation #10 • The Transition Team acknowledges that we fall well short of two of our markers of congregational health: Discipleship and Intentional Evangelism. Hence, we believe it imperative for the Council to take decisive action to address these two deficiencies. • We recommend that the Council consider adopting and taking the appropriate steps to implement the following ministries as soon as possible: VantagePoint3(discipleship) & Q Place (evangelism)
#10 continued • We like both VantagePoint 3 and Q Place for the following reasons: • They are grass roots rather than congregation-wide ministries. Hence, they can co-exist and complement each other as they develop ministry leaders. • They come highly recommended by other congregations in the Reformed tradition, • Thy are multi-year endeavors rather than one and done programs, and • They come with excellent support.
Council Action • Council approved that QPlacephase 1 begin September 8. • The QPlace training will take place in the Sunday School hour and during the 5PM timeslot. • That the Elders investigate Ascending Leaders as an alternative to VantagePoint 3
Recommendation #11 • We recommend that the Council appoint a task force to align the “Policy and Procedures” manual with the vision, mission, marks, and strategies of Calvin Church, and to do so in such a way that our policies and procedures create and sustain flexible structures which include accountability while empowering individuals and groups for ministry.
#11 continued • This task force may want to consider, as examples: • Appointing the Administrative Committee the responsibility for “Flexible Structures” (as noted on Appendix A), • Appointing the Diaconate the responsibility for both “Sacrificial and Generous Service” and “Local Mission.” • Appointing the Senior Pastor the responsibility for “relevant preaching, pervasive prayers, and passionate praise.” • Appointing the Elders the responsibility for the markers which remain.
Council Action • Council approved all recommendations • The Pastor will be responsible to the Elders, but develop a pastoral relations group to carry out the yearly review.
Recommendation #12 • The Transition Team has discovered a great deal of uncertainty about the role of women as officers in the church. We have also uncovered some frustration with the perceived process by which elders and deacons are selected.
#12 continued • The best we can tell is that the by-laws of Calvin Church (#5 in particular) state that we affirm the Church Order of the CRCNA (both in its current and future forms). • This means that, unless Calvin Church amends its by-laws, the offices of both elder and deacon are open to spiritually qualified men and women. • In other words, the congregation currently affirms the Egalitarian position. If the congregation wants to limit the office of elder to men (Complementarian position), and amendment is required.
#12 continued • We recommend the following: • When the Council solicits nominations for the offices of elder and deacon, the congregation be clearly informed as to the current policy of Calvin Church. • When the Council solicits nominations for the offices of elder and deacon, the congregation be clearly informed as to the process by which elders and deacons are selected. (This process is included in the “Policies and Procedures Manual.”) • That the Council, with assistance from Pastor Hamstra, plan a series of listening session/s during which we study and discuss the different biblical positions regarding qualifications for the offices of the church. • That the Council consider adopting an official position on the qualifications for the offices of the church.
#12 continued • We also recommend that the Council consider insuring that the Diaconate includes women and that, over the next two to three years, we work toward a Diaconate that is 50% men and 50% women. • With our growing ministry to teen mothers, we expect more opportunities to share love and mercy with that segment of society. Wisdom suggests that the best people to do so are women, not men. • The Diaconate would be blessed by the presence of both men and women. • The role of women as Deacons is supported by Scripture (Romans 16:1) and need not influence the conversation about the role of women as Elders.
#12 continued • We recommend that the Council consider the following options: • Fall of 2013, replace the two outgoing male deacons with two female deacons, and in the Fall of 2014 replace the outgoing male deacons with one male and one female. • If the Diaconate thinks it advisable to increase their numbers to eight, • In Fall 2013, add two female deacons and replace the two outgoing male deacons with two male deacons, • In Fall 2014, replacing two outgoing male deacons with one male deacon and one female deacon, and • In Fall of 2015, replacing two outgoing male deacons with one male deacon and one female deacon. • As this recommendation is deliberated, the Council shall prioritize accurate and pertinent information to the congregation. They may also want to consider “Listening Sessions” in an effort to be proactive.
Council Action • The Council affirms that the office of deacon is open to men and women. • The Council approves that the Diaconate includes men and women, and that over the next two to three years, we work toward a Diaconate that is 50% men and 50% women. • The Council approves the recommendation to consider the options from the transition team to achieve a balanced deaconate. The Council will ask the congregation for additional input.
Council Action • Furthermore, the Council approved the recommendations that: • With assistance from Pastor Hamstra, Council plan a series of listening session/s during which we study and discuss the different biblical positions regarding qualifications for the offices of the church. • That the Council adopt an official position on the qualifications for the offices of the church.
Recommendation #13 • The Social Media - our Facebook page and our web site – is the face of Calvin Church to the community. It is the first place inquirers look for information about our ministry. It can also serve as a vital communication tool for the congregation. • We recommend that the Administrative Committee appoint or commission someone to upgrade our web site. • We recommend that the Administrative Committee consider a Twitter account that must be administered by the new pastor and our ministry leaders. • We recommend that the Administrative Committee insure that our social media are maintained through the appointment of volunteers or the expansion of the Church Secretary position description. • Council approved all recommendations
Recommendation #14 • We recommend that the Council approve a position description for the Senior Pastor which affirms the mission of the church to reach up, reach out, together. In other words, the Senior Pastor’s position description should include the following three components:
#14 continued • A reaching up component – The traditional role of pastor as responsible for relevant preaching, pervasive prayer, and passionate praise. • A reaching out component – We need for our new pastor to walk alongside us as we reach out into our community. He need not be an expert, but must be willing. • A together component – The Pastor will practice traditional modes of pastoral care in partnership with the Elders. He may also connect with a segment of the congregation with whom he can develop deeper relationships. One potential segment is High School Youth. If the Senior Pastor connects with this segment, we hope that he would consider teaching or team-teaching on Wednesday Ministry Nights. • Council approved all recommendations
Recommendation #15 • In order to strengthen our community as a church family, we recommend that the Council adopt and promote a • “Calvin’s Family Covenant.” • We envision this covenant being promoted in the following ways: • During a worship service as a unison or responsive reading, • In a “Membership Class,” • Through posters distributed throughout our facility, • A sermon series, • Through a power-point slide that is included in the pre-service scroll of announcements, and • Elder visits • The Council also affirms that this covenant must be lived and modeled by the leadership of the congregation, rather than be dictated.
Calvin’s Family Covenant • As a follower of Jesus Christ, I commit, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to: • participating in weekly worship • prioritizing the fellowship of the church • providing for the church’s ministries • practicing personal planned and proportionate giving • protecting the church’s unity, as forgiven and forgiving disciples • promoting church life, and • praying for the unimagined blessing of the Lord upon Calvin Church. • Council approved all recommendations