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Church Board Report to the Congregation – June 2017

The Church Board’s monthly meeting took place on Thursday evening, June 4th.   Here is a summary report from the June Board meeting:


Each month one of the staff meets alone with the Board for approximately 30 minutes before the rest of the staff joins the meeting.   This is done on a rotating basis with Pastor Shaun’s turn coming this month.


During a Board meeting in 2016, the question was raised regarding how the decision regarding Additional Terms for Directors would be made.
Some background information: In our denomination the Senior Pastor is hired and retained through a process involving the Bishop of the Conference and the local Church Board.   At Five Forks we add the additional step of having the congregation vote on whether or not to retain this Pastor after the initial term. The Pastor must be approved by at least 80% of the total votes cast by the congregation in order to continue serving.
Additional Staff (Pastors): In many Brethren in Christ churches, additional pastoral staff is hired and retained at the discretion of the Senior Pastor. However here at Five Forks, the Church Board assumes the responsibility for the initial hire (a 3-year term). Decisions regarding additional terms begin with a Church Board recommendation to retain the Pastor for a 5-year term, and the congregation votes on this recommendation over a 10-day voting period where again, the Pastor must receive at least 80% approval in order to remain. While it has never happened, the Board could also make a recommendation not to retain a Pastor.
Additional Staff (Office, Janitorial):   Our current practice is to have the Church Board responsible for hiring and retaining (annually) office staff and janitorial staff. Our Grounds & Maintenance Committee provides input in regards to our janitorial staff. In other words, the congregation does not vote on these positions.
Additional Staff (Directors): This past month we picked up on the discussion that initially began in 2016, that is: How should the decision involving additional terms for Directors be made? As with all staff (pastors, office, janitorial) the Church Board assumes responsibility for the initial hire, including Directors.
Discussion revolved around two primary options regarding additional terms: 1) Use the same process that is used for the pastoral staff, or 2) use a process similar to the one that is used for non-pastoral staff.
The Board is leaning towards the 2nd option where the Board assumes the responsibility for both the initial hire and additional terms.   The Board desires ongoing input from the congregation on all decisions, and views the Board’s responsibility as representing the congregation in all matters. The Board is concerned that for positions with a focus on a specific ministry such as Youth Director, that many in the congregation would not have firsthand information for an informed vote.
An awareness of how well (or not) this individual is doing would be limited primarily to those who are involved with the particular ministry. A majority of the congregation would possibly be voting with little awareness of the person’s actual performance.
At the same time the Board wants to maintain and increase an atmosphere where the congregation’s voice is heard.   In order to ensure that this happens, if the Board decides on the 2nd option, there would have to be a process established where the congregation would be able to provide input to the Board prior to any decision being made.
The board recognizes that the mutual trust between the Board and the congregation is paramount.  In this process the Board is genuinely seeking to function in a way that is best for a church of our size.
Even now – especially now – the Board is looking for your input. Please share your thoughts with any Church Board members who are listed below.
In the months that followed January’s Annual Council meeting, a number of individuals from our congregation expressed concern over the makeup of the Church Board, specifically the fact that the Board consists of 12 voting members with 11 being male and only 1 female. This concern was widespread, in other words coming from both genders and various age groups.
While the topic of a woman in ministry might first bring up the issue of whether a woman can or should be a teaching pastor, most of the discussion revolved around the imbalance that currently exists on the Church Board in regards to both gender and age. The Board’s discussion involved a brief review of our denomination’s stance that “affirms women’s ministry in the life of the BIC church.” Time was also spent looking back, discussing various ministries that have been led by women in the past and present here at FF.
We will be coming back next month and discussing different ways to potentially bring better balance onto the Board in the hopes of attaining broader representation.
If you have any suggestions please pass them onto any Board member listed below.
Your Church Board consists of…
Staff: Voting members: Bill Shank, Shaun Kipe. Non-voting members: Ray Kipe, Brian Black, Jim Recard, Josh Roach
Congregational Representatives (elected at Annual Council) :  Matt Nolt, Harvey Payne, Angie Petersheim, Todd Smith, Joel Wenger, Lin Yoder
Deacon Representatives: Darwin Chamberlin, Mike Garland
Grounds & Maintenance Representative: Mike Hawbecker
Church Treasurer:  Gene Gorman
Sandy Gray serves as the recording secretary (non-voting member)