Last week at our board meeting, valid questions were raised: “Do people know WHY they are being flooded with multi-site information these days? Do they realize we are headed for a time of decision this spring?” As you know, we have been working on preparing to launch a third site for over a year. We recently reported on our progress in resolving some of the challenges raised in our meetings in February last year. Our hope is to continue providing you with necessary information in preparation for a significant conversation regarding launching a third site at our annual financial meeting April 10, at 7pm.
While we trust you are already praying about this decision, we plan on having a concentrated time of prayer surrounding the 10th and then make a decision regarding go/no go, timing, character and process for launching soon after the financial meeting. My hope is that we will be in a position to launch in September 2016-just six months away.
One of the central questions we work through in launching a third site is staff. One idea that appears to be gaining traction is for Jaron to be our third site-pastor. In this model, Jaron would spend his time in evangelism, training people in faith and service while providing pastoral care. Alan and Ryan would provide the bulk of teaching and preaching for both Highland Park and the new site. This would allow these three men to leverage their dominant gifting and interests. Ryan can hardly wait to get into the pulpit more often and Jaron is thrilled with the possibility of transitioning into site leadership. We will provide more on that possibility in the weeks to come. We want you to know that Jaron will be leaving the youth position regardless of the multi-site decision. He and Robyn are aware that there is no guarantee of a third site. Jaron’s sense of being called in a new direction is independent of our progress toward a third site.
The question that leaps to mind is, “what about our present youth ministry?” We have begun the search for a new youth pastor. Our prayers are that the new leader will be in place by July and the camp season. This will allow for a smooth transition between Jaron and the new youth pastor. Please hold this transition in your prayers. Further, if you are aware of possible candidates please encourage them to contact us. As always, youth ministry is a priority.
Personally, anticipating launching a third site puts a smile on my face. I am very aware, however, that there is much to do before forging ahead. Most importantly, is prayerfully discerning the Lord’s leading in this decision. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psa. 127:1). We also need to flesh out what the site would look like and where it would be located and get as much information to the congregation as possible so an informed and prayerful decision can be made. In my heart I believe the time to launch a third site is upon us. The time to invite these young growing leaders, Jaron and Ryan, to expand their ministry and explore new frontiers is upon us. Honestly, I am restraining my enthusiasm because I don’t want to give the impression that the decision to move on the third site has already been made. It has not. Nobody wants people to feel pressured into feeling they have no choice.
You have a choice.
We must do all we can to discern the Lord’s leading, but boy, do I get excited thinking about the possibilities!