In this update we will brief you on four major areas of interest: The transition process, and what work our Elder Body is currently engaged in; a report from the Pastor Search Committee; an overview of what “Phase 2” of our campus re-opening will look like as we move toward the fall; and a report on our financial situation.
First, we would like to give you a pretty comprehensive update as to what our pastors and elders have been working on (behind the scenes) over the past few months to tackle the issues that our church assessment showed us.
We began by addressing "the why," Why do we exist? Why are we here? A workgroup finalized, and the Elder Body affirmed, that we exist to Love God and Love Others, and we further identified the eight goal areas, or core competencies, that flesh that out.
To build on these goals and address the key assessment areas, we had three elder Body groups that met and worked through the spring and early summer.
- One was a pastor search process team, and their work culminated in the appointment of the Pastor Search Committee.
- A second team worked on staff evaluation and development – we knew that we needed some more intentional processes to help our staff leadership grow and thrive. That group’s work has identified some great new ideas for our staff, which we will be implementing soon.
- And finally, we had a group devoted to looking at our senior leadership and polity structure. Polity is a word that describe an organization’s form of government – how do we lead ourselves? As a growing church, we need a leadership structure that addresses key areas of vision, decision making processes, accountability and more. This was, if you recall, the number one issue Dr. Ewart identified for us in the assessment. The elder body, led by that work group, has been intentionally deliberating on this work for some time now, and we will have some ideas to deliver to you in the near future.
While these elder body groups have been working, we also have various teams and groups within our staff working toward various assessment issues as well, including groups dedicated to looking at the membership process, staff communication, diversity, and more.
That leads us to the present time. Our pastors and elders have recently formed five new workgroups to continue this transition process. All of these groups will be thinking and planning in their respective areas, and bringing recommendations back to the Elder Body (and congregation, where appropriate) for action or approval. Please take time regular to pray for these groups and their work:
- We have a team devoted to reviewing the Creek constitution, and then that team’s work will lead to the elder body bringing any proposed constitutional changes back to you, the congregation. That team consists of John Wright, Gary Workman, Jason Hall, Brian Merritt and Steve Sweeney.
- We have a team looking at our leadership policies and procedures, for staff and pastors, to make sure these manuals are up to date and consistent. Making up this group are Steve Sweeney, Steve McKinion, Brian Merritt, John Wright, and David Satterwhite.
- We have a team that will be looking at our deacon ministry, this awesome group of servants, and seeing how they can serve to strengthen and support congregational care. On this team are Nathan Brown, Jonny Peters, and Eric Garner.
- We have a team praying about our membership and discipleship processes. This is absolutely key: How are we actually structured to intentionally grow in those discipleship goals we have of loving God and loving others? Unless we plan to grow, we certainly won’t. This team consists of Jim Gillespie, Jason Hall, John Nyota, Greg Mathias and Cameron Wagner.
- And finally, we have an alignment team that will take all of this previous work – on discipleship goals, leadership, polity, and structure – and make recommendations on how this affects our staff structure and ministries’ relationships to each other. On this team are Tony Donato, Mike Dowd, Nathan Brown, Stephen Moye, and Ken Coley.
Why are we doing all of this? We are taking this unique historical opportunity to dig deep foundations for our church’s future and anchor them in the Word of God, so that Richland Creek can thrive not just today, or next year, but glorify God and make disciples until Jesus returns, if that is our Lord’s will.
Pastor Search Committee
The Pastor Search Committee is still in the preparatory phase of their work, putting together information about the history, demographics and community of Richland Creek to be able to share with pastoral candidates. They’re also developing a list of questions to ask the candidates during the steps of the selection process. Speaking of questions, the committee is also working to answer a list of questions that candidates may have about our church and the position.
The Pastor Search Committee is praying for you, the church body, and the man God has chosen to be our next pastor, and his family, Please continue to pray for the Pastor Search Committee in their critical work.
Financial And Campus Development Update
Thank you for the generous way that you have always supported the mission and ministry of Richland Creek Community Church! This prayer and financial support is critical, both now and in the future.
In June of this year, we hired a full-time financial manager, Dan Johnson. Dan brings 22 years of church financial management experience to the role, and his presence has already been a huge blessing to our team.
In terms of our finances, here are a few key items:
- We had a strong start to the year financially. Through January and February, we received contributions at a stronger rate than we had received the prior year for the same period. This allowed us to build a cash reserve, since giving outpaced spending.
- Since COVID-19 hit in March, donations to the church have been 85% of what we received during the same period in 2019. While 85% may sound bad, we have been able to reduce costs in a corresponding manner. Year to date, our income has exceeded our expenses. We have not been running in a deficit.
- We are moving ahead with our expansion of the office suite in the Family Life Center. The majority of that project is being funded by previously donated restricted funds. The project slowed down because of COVID issues and permitting delays, but is now ramping back up.
- All parking lot improvements and upgrades have been completed. Praise the Lord!
To continue to move forward in our ministries, we will need additional resources. We have done a great deal of belt-tightening, but are nearing a point where difficult decisions will need to be made. We are grateful to all who have continued to support the church since the crisis has begun. Some have even increased their giving during this time. We understand that circumstances such as job loss or sickness may make some unable to give at this time, but if you have been blessed with stability and can give, please remember the church.
Reopening Plans for the Fall
Here are a few things we’re planning as we look ahead to bringing even more people back on campus this fall – “Reopen Phase 2”:
- These updates are general. We’re looking to move ahead with these plans sometime in mid-September, and you will be notified of details as we get closer to that time.
- We’ll be adding a second service at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
- Also for Sunday mornings, we’re looking to reopen the lower level of Legacy and the FLC and bring children and student’s activities back on campus, from birth to 12th grade, including children with special needs.
- On Wednesday evenings, the RC Students will be inside for an Overflow service, while we’ll be inviting adults and children to an outdoor Family Worship on the lower athletic field.
- Our monthly Sunday evening prayer gatherings will also be moving outdoors to the lower athletic field starting in September.
- For all outdoor worship and prayer services, masks will not be required, though anyone who feels most comfortable wearing a mask should feel free to do so.
Again, more details on rollout and logistics for these plans will be coming in the next few weeks. Please be in prayer for these plans, for servants to step up and minister, and for Jesus to be glorified in our church.
“Disconnectedness” is something that we are all feeling in this unprecedented time. None of us have ever experienced a pandemic before, and there is no playbook for what to do next. But we do want to remind and encourage you that connections within the body are the responsibility of us all. Among the biblical commands that still remain during a pandemic: Love one another (1 John 3:11). Encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13). Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16). Serve one another (1 Peter 4:10).
Here are a few things you can do to proactively remain engaged and connected at Richland Creek:
- First, participate in corporate worship. If you’re tired of the screen, I understand, but pray and trust the Lord that worship begins here, in the heart. I encourage you to come back to an on-campus gathering if you’re comfortable doing so. We are working hard to provide safe options for all of our people, as Pastor Jim has described. Decide to trust God and make corporate worship at the Creek a priority.
- Second, if you are in a Life Group, decide to participate in whatever your Life Group is doing. If it’s Zoom, get on Zoom. If you don’t like Zoom, try it anyway. If it’s an outdoor gathering, or even a smaller gathering, and you’re comfortable with it, make it a priority to be there – shift your schedule, do what you need to do to be a part of the ministry of the body. If you don’t know what your Life Group is doing, or you’re not sure what’s going on, be proactive. Your Life Group leaders are working hard, but they’re people too, with pressures and challenges, and they get overwhelmed, just like you. Contact your Life Group leader and talk to them about it. Offer to help, to participate, to organize. If you don’t know how to contact your Life Group leader, contact someone else in your group that you do know. If you don’t know anyone in your group, or you’re not in a group, go to the Life Groups page of the website or contact the office, and we’ll help you.
- Third, if you’re feeling stagnant in your growth in Christ, or feel stuck in your Bible reading and prayer, don’t just accept that. On the discipleship goals page on the website, there is a link that says “I need help.” There is a form there that you can fill out so that someone can help you. You won’t regret taking that step of faith.
- Finally, pay attention to electronic communications from the Creek. Read the e-mails. If you’re not getting the e-mails, go to the bottom of this page and subscribe. Sometimes e-mails get stuck in your spam folder; check and make sure the e-mails are coming through. If you’re on Facebook, set a reminder to yourself to visit our page and see what’s there. It’s important that you train yourself to stay informed.
To close out, don’t forget that this website has dozens of videos, articles, prayer guides, and other resources to keep you focused on the Word. Pay attention and take advantage of these things.
We love you, church family, and can’t wait for what God has in store for us!
The Elder Body