The big question that used to be common in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons asked, “What’s up, Doc.?” I don’t remember the riveting answers so chances are that not much was up. The more appropriate question around these parts (around First Presbyterian – Connersville) is more appropriately, “What’s next, Doc.?”
Father’s Day? Sure is.
July 4? Certainly.
Vacation? Can’t wait.
Calling a new pastor? Well, not right away. Actually some important steps need to happen first. ..
Calling an interim pastor…we did that last year!
Doing a Mission Study…done!
Being cleared by the Presbytery to form a Pastor Nominating Committee … clearance given.
Calling a 30 something year old idea generator who preaches like Peter and prays like Paul MUST be next on the agenda. Not quite. In fact, some of the decisions we make before a new pastor is ever considered are way more important than who the next pastor is. Seriously. Such as, “What do we do about the serious challenges related to people, economy, aging building and being able to minister to a community that has changed more than we can keep up with. What do we do with our fears related to being afraid that our church is on borrowed time! No pastor can be counted upon to arrive on the scene, ripe with ideas, filled with enthusiasm and charisma and begin the charge in all the right directions. Neither is that wise or fair…it would be a “set-up” as far as the minister is concerned.
But what if we generated some “what-if’s” before the pastor is ever called!! What if we began to strategically think and plan about new and different ways of using our money and our building to reach the community! Such an idea would need to be carefully considered, prayed over, discussed and discussed again, tweaked and changed, deliberated and argued, but eventually embraced as a proactive plan that helped us plan for our future, not react to it once it arrived. The beginnings of such a proposal can be seen below. In fact the proposal has three different directions. There is nothing magical about either. You can cut and paste, change, recreate and mix and match each of them. But at least it is a way of beginning our discussion and a new way of planning for the future from our perspective rather than from the perspective of a pastor needing to have all the ideas and answers.
Read on for the possibilities:
First Presbyterian Church, Connersville
TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012
A Meeting was held on Monday, June 4, 2012 with Eric Herzog, Treasurer Of The Whitewater Valley Presbytery and Carla Beard, Clerk of Session; Larry Zumkeller, Treasurer; Sarah Smith, Personnel Committee and Rev. Mitch Coggin, Interim Pastor.
Mr. Herzog had taken an extensive look at the church finances to determine ability of First Presbyterian Church, Connersville to call our next pastor. He looked at a 5 year trend of pledging, giving and expenditures. Eric determined there have been no major drop-offs in pledging, giving or expenses characterizes the last 5 years.
To call a full-time pastor with 4 years experience or greater, First Presbyterian would be looking at a salary package around 70K. At the current rate of pledging (41 pledging units) a $20K annual difference would need to be raised which would necessitate each pledging unit to increase giving by $50 a week or $600 a month.
The following options are presented for discussion and consideration:
PLAN A: Call a Part-Time or Yoked (share pastor with another Presbyterian church in which regular Sunday worship would continue to be provided). Continue ministry at current levels with office hours, administrative assistance, and moderate session. Dip into the reserves as necessary.
PLAN B: Call a Full-Time Pastor as part of the Partner in Ministry for First Call Pastors program in which the pastor would be enrolled in the internship at 2nd Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis for mentoring and supervision. The First Call pastor will have completed seminary and serving their first call post- graduation . First Presbyterian, Connersville will be viewed as a teaching congregation that helps the first-call pastor grow and flourish as he/she develops effective ministry skills. The Church will form a mentoring team which will meet with the pastor monthly to listen to concerns, evaluate ideas and provide guidance and support.
PLAN C: 3-5 Year Plan For First Presbyterian, Connersville
PART 1. SECURE PASTORAL LEADERSHIP
*Recommend no less than 2 – no more than 3 days in office (excluding Sundays)
*Recommend Designated Pastor – 3 year contract with possibility of renewal for
additional 2 years.
*Provide regular worship leadership, preach, lead special services, preside at
funerals and weddings, moderate session and visit the sick and homebound.
PART 2. STABILIZE CHURCH LEADERSHIP
*Set Session at 5 Elders w/ one 3 year term, two at 2 year term and 2 at 1 year
*Set Deacons at 6 Deacons with 2 for 3 year terms, 2 for 2 year terms and 2 at 1
*Deacons responsible for Worship – set up, clean-up communion,order
cups; set up worship space; fill candles; order oil
*Visit homebound to deliver flowers, assist minister with home communion
*Serve as Deacon Of The Week
PART 3 CONTINUE TO FORMULATE 3-5 YEAR PLAN
*FINANCIAL – How can we be stewards of our financial resources in ways that
will serve Christ and our community
*Where are the funds of the church and what restrictions direct their usage?
*What is a long-term plan for the usage of our church financial resources
*PHYSICAL – What are the needs of this building? How can we be stewards of this
building that will serve Christ to the greatest degree? How should we be using this building?
PART 4 LOOK FOR STRATEGIC CONNECTIONS IN COMMUNITY AND BEYOND
(Eventual goal is to provide a one-stop shop for all community services in
(I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you
*Who in the community needs office space? (Rent free?) (Pay 1/5 of utilities?)
*Could potentially be a way to minister to a whole new segment of
Connersville or to either way to turn the funds/physical plant over to a