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Church Board Report to the Congregation – September 2017

The Church Board’s monthly meeting took place on Thursday evening, September 6th.   Here is a summary report from the September Board meeting:


Every month at the start of the meeting one of the staff meets alone with the board for approximately 30 minutes before the rest of the staff joins the meeting.   This month the Board met with Worship Director Josh Roach.
Pastor Bill reported that our average Sunday morning attendance in August was 680, up slightly over July but down from last August when our average attendance was 753. Our average Sunday morning attendance for the year stands at 741 (771 last year at this time). Giving for the month of August came in at $76,496 compared to last August ($86,632).   Our giving for the year stands at $732,125 ($732,950 last year at this time).
Bill provided the board with a condensed version of an article written by Luke Keefer Jr. (former professor of church history and theology at Ashland Theological Seminary). Keefer makes the case that the Brethren in Christ denomination has been and continues to go through an identity crisis as we struggle to be true to our original beliefs and points of emphasis. As we look to define our purpose and identity as a local church, the board will read and discuss Keefer’s article – and how it pertains to us – at our October meeting.
The Board met with Pastor Brian for approximately 45 minutes at the conclusion of the Board meeting. Brian’s current 5-year term expires in January and the congregational vote on whether or not to retain Brian takes place over a 10-day period at that time.


*   The Board approved the hiring of Brad Gift for the position of part-time maintenance supervisor. Brad has previous experience in the role of Maintenance Supervisor and Maintenance Coordinator for various business and organizations in the community.   He will start to become familiar with the many different systems we have at the church and will be working 8 hours per week for the remainder 2017.
* The Board will be setting aside a 10-day period in October for the Congregation to vote on repealing the Brethren in Christ Constitution as a “stand alone” document. The Constitution is also found in the Manual of Doctrine and Government (It’s 1 of 4 parts that make up the MDG) and so a stand alone document is redundant and unnecessary.
The denomination needs the approval of 2/3 of the congregations for this repeal to happen and so the Board will see that ballots are placed in church mailboxes after a period of promotion/explanation.


The Board continues to discuss how to handle “end of term decisions” when it comes to Directors (Worship, Youth, etc.).   In our denomination, the hiring (and in some cases, termination) of staff (Associate Pastors, Directors) is the responsibility of the Senior Pastor of that church.   Here at Five Forks however, we have looked to the congregation to determine whether or not a staff person is retained (with 80% approval needed).
The Board is aware of a number of challenges that make it questionable whether or not this is the best approach to take. The larger the congregation, the more difficult it is for every voting member of the congregation to be aware of what takes place behind the scenes (whether positive or negative). The more specialized the role (such as a Worship or Youth Director), the more challenging it is for the congregation at large to make a fully informed decision.
One option that the Board had been considering was assuming responsibility for not just the hiring but also the re-hiring of our church Directors. However at this month’s meeting the suggestion was made to put ballots in church mailboxes just as is done for Pastors and allow the congregation to indicate whether or not they believe the Director should be retained or not. There would also be the opportunity for the congregation to write comments on the back of the ballot (as is done with the Pastor’s vote).   The Board would not be bound by the results, but would be able to weigh input from the congregation before a decision is made.   The Board will continue this discussion at the September Board meeting.
For the past several months the Board has been discussing the imbalance that exists on the board in regards to both age and gender. There are 12 voting members with 11 being male, and with the exception of Pastor Shaun, all in their mid-40’s and up.   The Board feels that a more balanced composition would allow for different views to be shared and considered. One way to help the Church Board attain more balance is by increasing the number of Congregational Representatives.
Historically, we have had 6 representatives that are elected by the congregation. The Board has approved expanding the number of Congregational Representatives from 6 to 8 by eliminating the position of Grounds and Maintenance representative and 1 of the 2 Deacon representatives.   (When there is an issue on the Church Board agenda that pertains to grounds and maintenance, the chairman of the GM board would be invited to attend that portion of the Church Board meeting). This change will take place at the conclusion of Annual Council in January 2018.
This does not mean that a more balanced representation will be attained in regards to age and gender, but it will give the congregation a greater voice when it comes to representation on the Church Board.
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)