UPDATE: December 1st, 2022
Dear beloved congregation,
We, the elders, want to thank you so much for your participation in our annual business meeting. We were able to move forward with the motions that were presented by us, the elders, and also the deacons.
- The 2023 budget was approved. The continued faithful giving of members and attendants of WCC allow us to fully fund the ministries here and abroad that we are committed to.
- The transfer of funds from the unreserved general fund to the designated building maintenance fund also was passed. This will allow needed repairs to be made so that other ministries using this facility will continue on unhindered as much as we can plan ahead.
- The passing of the motion to pursue a combined worship service followed by a dedicated Sunday School time for all ages starting Sunday, January 1, 2023 also passed. We listened to the voices at the meeting about securing the times in relation to the time spent in travel to the church and also morning preparations to settle on the following schedule.
9:30 - 10:40 - worship service
10:40 - 11:00 - fellowship/transition to SS classes
11:00 - 11:45 - Sunday School classes
Setting these times are important for our communication with all the teams involved (ushers, worship, security, office, etc.).
As more details are developed we will communicate them with you so you can participate in this venture with us to foster greater fellowship with one another and also with God's word.
UPDATE: October 09, 2022
Dear beloved congregation,
Every conversation between the elders and the congregation represents an opportunity to better serve one another. We the elders thought it important to provide more clarity regarding the proposed Sunday morning schedule change given some of the questions and feedback we have received.
What the Elders are bringing before the congregation is a Yea or Nay vote on the following motion:
We motion to go to a single Sunday morning worship gathering to be followed by a dedicated Sunday School hour for all ages starting in January 2023.
The Elders have been considering this move in light of the WCC mission statement:
"We exist to give God creative and meaningful worship
and to discover and develop disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ."
The Elders are also guided by the purpose statement of the WCC Constitution which reads,
A. To provide a ministry that confidently teaches God's Word with the result that individuals are introduced into a personal relationship with our good and loving God and thus enable believers to take on a more Christ-like life. (Ephesians 4:12)
B. To allow the Holy Spirit to create an atmosphere where believers can be drawn together into a strong and supportive spiritual family. (Acts 2:41)
C. To prepare believers to follow Christ's command to spread the gospel to the community and to the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The Elders have been charged, by the affirmation of the church body, with many responsibilities. One of these is to interpret and apply this Constitution. The Constitution states the following:
- The congregation has final approval governing all major decisions and policies concerning all aspects of the operation of the Church.
- It is understood that God has intended that the organizational structure of the local Church should be overseen or directed by spiritually competent men (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 3:1-7).
- The congregation shall be therefore guided by Elders who are evaluated by the existing Elders and recognized by the congregation.
The Elders affirm that our Sunday morning worship service plays a major role in fullfilling our mission and purpose statements. However, it is critically important that we further pursue our mission to discover and develop disciples, and the dedicated Sunday School hour is the first step in this direction. Our desire is that Sunday School would present an opportunity a) for all ages to dig deeper into the teaching of God's Word, b) to be drawn together into a strong and supportive family, and c) to prepare us to spread the gospel to the community and the world.
Prior to bringing this motion to the congregation, the elders have been working on the logistics of this potential change in terms of space and timing. The goal of the previously provided proposal and FAQ was to paint a picture of our what Sundays might look like in the future. However, we want to emphasize that the main thrust of this proposal is to fulfill, in increasing measure, our mission to make disciples.
A secondary reason for this proposed change is the fact that our congregation size has changed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the departure of the youth and senior pastors. Would coming to one worship service help us to have greater unity since we now have an opportunity for the entire congregation to engage in worship together? The Elders are proposing to venture in this direction in order to allow a unified presence in worshiping and glorifying our Lord on Sunday mornings.
Historically, attendance at WCC is highest in the months of July-September. This year, the average attendance during those months was 228 across both services. The church has a seating capacity of 299. Parking has also been taken into consideration. We currently have 186 parking spots, 10 of which are handicap. We believe this is more than enough space given our current attendance and estimating that each car arriving in our parking lot averages two or more people. We would be asking those who are able to fill the lower back parking lot in order to free up spaces in the upper. God has also blessed us with additional acreage to develop in the event that more parking is eventually needed.
Sunday School: The Elders see the adult Sunday School option as a crucial step in the discipleship process. Sunday School for all ages has been a tried and true practice over the years that has sadly been abandoned by most American churches. The Elders seek to revive this tool. We see the front door of the church as our website and its online resources (step 1). Hopefully a person would visit for a Sunday morning worship service (step 2). We want them to get involved in a small group (step 4) for maximum discipleship, but a step toward that involvement could be an adult Sunday School class (step 3) where they would be able to interact more with God’s word and have more fellowship with other congregants. Pastor Robert has helped us identify meeting areas throughout the church for these adult Sunday School gatherings and we have been exploring potential facilitators for this possible venture.
Every plan needs a starting point. The preliminary plan is to use the 9 am and 10:30 am times that we have established. The reason for suggesting a worship service first and a Sunday School hour second is to provide the "base" for our adult Sunday School, which is a "deeper dive" into the message that we just heard. Each Sunday School group session would be led by a facilitator who would walk through a set of predetermined questions and create an atmosphere of connectedness. In the future we would like to offer additional classes. Some possible examples would be a new believers class, a women's or men's class for a quarter, a class on a specific spiritual discipline, or a membership class. These classes would be scheduled out so planning and decisions could be made. Another consideration for having the Sunday School hour after the service is that it presents the opportunity for regular attenders to invite visitors to a class to meet others in our fellowship.
With regards to the IPM process, the role of the interim pastor is to come alongside the leadership of the church and help them with their responsibilities to the congregation. Pastor Adam has diligently been fulfilling this role within the 5 stage process of IPM. The elder board, with Adam’s assistance, has engaged in strategic planning based on biblical interpretation of WCC’s mission and vision. Included in the IPM process is the creation of a transition team that comes alongside the leadership of the church. The task of the transition team will be to both a) assist church leadership in developing actions steps to move the strategic plan forward, and b) address church health issues identified via the MIT survey and Adam’s congregational interviews. It is important to remember that IPM works with the local church’s Constitution, leadership and polity structures.
We know that this letter has likely not answered all of your questions. However, our hope is that it helps you further understand why we have put forth this proposal. We desire open communication between leadership and the congregation. The Elders view this proposal as a possible strategic move within the framework of the IPM process with the goal being, if the Lord wills, to see a new lifecycle arch formed at WCC.
The Elders will continue to be available in the library following each service to answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to stop by. We have also planned a Q&A session following the second service on October 23rd. Remember, this is ultimately a decision that the congregation will make, not the elders. Please be in prayer as you consider this motion.
Per the church Constitution, the process will be as follows:
All votes within the Board of Elders must be unanimous. (Therefore this motion comes with the unity of the Board of Elders.) Also a proposed major policy change shall be read at no fewer than two consecutive congregational meetings (either at regular Sunday services or specially called meetings) prior to the time that policy is voted on. A policy is passed for approval when at least 2/3rds of the voting members present at the meeting approve of that decision.
Again, we pray this has been helpful. If you have questions or concerns, please take advantage of the previously mentioned opportunities to speak with an Elder.
The Elders of Waushara Community Church