Last Sunday evening Pastor Corey McDonald and I presented a vision for the partnership between Summit Springs Community Church and New Summit Presbyterian Church. For those of you who missed our evening together, here are some highlights.
Based on prayer, reflection, conversations, meetings with members and participants, and consultation with representatives from the Heartland Presbytery of the PC(U.S.A.), we are proposing a partnership between the two congregations:
One church will emerge out of the previous two.
The congregation will be a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), with a covenant partnership option for those who do not want to join a denomination (no vote or ability to be elected as an elder).
The congregation will go through a process to choose the name, much as each congregation did previously.
Everyone will be asked to participate in the membership classes, including those who are already members of either congregation. This will allow us to get better acquainted with one another, and to come together around a shared vision for the future.
The nominating committee, a representative committee of the congregation elected each year, will consider members of the former Summit Springs and choose some to stand for election as elders, including Corey McDonald. If elected, Corey will pursue training as a Commissioned Ruling Elder in the PC(U.S.A.), and in the meantime will still be able to preach and lead worship services along with me.
I will function as head of staff with responsibilities in teaching, spiritual formation, and pastoral care.
Corey will function as the director of worship, evangelism, and student and youth ministries.
Aaron Heilman will function as the leader of our worship teams.
We will shift emphasis from programs to intentional groups, and ask the groups to plan and provide some programming and mission as part of their expression of community.
We will attempt to coordinate our bigger events with follow up opportunities for people to connect, and ultimately ask two primary things of every individual: worship, and get connected with a group.
Administrative documents (bylaws, policies, etc.) will be reviewed by a detail person from each congregation, and revised for the name change and any other recommended edits.
Summit Springs has a buy-out offer on their lease and is in the process of moving out of their previous location.
To use a business term, a "soft" opening this fall with group membership classes and other essential planning, including development of signage, logo, web page, facebook page, etc. A "grand" opening on Christmas Eve.
Heartland Presbytery's Administrative Commission is fully supportive.
I'm always aware that electronic communication like email is a very "flat" form of communication. If you have been present for these last five months, I'm confident that you will understand the summary I've just written is the result of prayer, reflection in God's Word, reading, study, conversation, and the building of relationships. You'll also understand that these words can't begin to fully summarize either the details or the dynamics of our partnership.
Moving forward, we will meet again this Saturday evening, August 29. We'll share a meal- we're providing the meat, and asking everyone to bring other items to share. After eating, we'll meet from 6 to 7:30 to invite your feedback, questions, and conversation. What excites you the most about the proposed partnership? What big challenges do you see? What questions do you have?
Then, on Sunday morning, August 30, we'll worship together outside at 10 a.m. Bring your lawn chairs! Our service will be a service of dedication, and we'll share the Lord's Supper together as part of our worship.
The following months will include many different objectives necessary to the journey, some big things like the formation of small groups, and some things that are more administrative like the change of legal documents regarding the name of the congregation.
In all of this, I welcome your questions, feedback, and conversation. Feel free to communicate by email, social media, phone, or better yet in person- I'll buy the coffee.
In all of this, I'm deeply grateful for the privilege of sharing this journey, and this next milestone, with you. Thank you for the privilege of being one of your pastors.