Who is the outside consultant?
Will Heath who is Lead Navigator with Auxano.
What is Auxano? Why choose them?
Auxano is a church consulting firm based in Houston, TX. For more than 15 years, Auxano has partnered with pastors and ministry leaders in North America to help them grow. They have helped many churches much larger and much smaller than ECBC. All of their clients are Christ-centered, Biblically rooted and evangelical. They were chosen after a thorough review of three potential partners and after contacting several of the churches that they have helped.
What led the Elders to make this decision?
• We do not currently have a perceived, shared, and compelling vision for ECBC’s life and ministry that leads us into the next 5-10 years.
• A group of Elders and key volunteers conducted a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) March of 2018 which served as a catalyst to examine our church’s health and begin addressing some of the priority issues.
• The pastoral staff and some elders have extensively worked on developing, articulating, and implementing a vision and plan like this, particularly through something called the Vine Project, but hit a few key road blocks for unity and implementation.
• We are experiencing a consistent (but not drastic) decline in attendance, giving units, and conversions. We are not responding to these numbers with alarm, but they have led us to evaluate ourselves and see our need for help.
• We do not currently have a clear path forward for senior pastoral succession and other aging staff members. We have seen our need for outside help in navigating these issues well.
What is the Vine Project, what were the outcomes and how does it correlate to Vision Planning?
A group, made up of pastors and some key leaders, took part in a 9 month evaluation of how our church was organized around the primary function of making disciples. In part, we discovered that we lack a clear compelling articulation of a vision and see the need to rethink the stewarding of our resources (people, programs, budget, facility etc.) to accomplish our mandate of making disciples. Specifically, we want to increase the level of training our body receives to reach lost people with the gospel, grow them in their faith, and deploy them for making disciples and serving His kingdom for future generations.
How was the Vision Planning team formed?
A group representing most of the CLT (Church Leadership Team*) identified people who would do a wonderful job representing their ‘constituency’, e.g. millennials, women’s ministries, family, etc.
*The Church Leadership Team (CLT) is made up of 10 people: Elder Chairman- Jeff Armfield, Elder Vice Chairman-Rick Rummler, Elder Secretary- Bill Watson, Senior Pastor- Buster Brown, Executive Pastor- Craig Harris, Director of Operations-Derek Walden, Campus Outreach Board Chair-Mike Weeks, Palmetto Christian Academy Board Chair- John Graham, and Deacon Chair- Kip Gearhart.
How will the church membership be kept informed?
We will invite ministry leaders to quarterly update sessions. We plan to communicate to the larger body through several e-news updates.
How long will this Vision Planning last?
Our contract with Will is scheduled to last nine months with an additional two-month option.
What is the schedule for the vision team?
The Vision Team will meet monthly, 6 hours total, from 6-9:30 PM on Tuesdays and the following Wednesdays from 6-8:30 AM. Vision Team meetings are currently planned for the following dates:
• October 22-23
• November 19-20
• December 10-11
• January 14-15
• February 11-12
• March 17-18
• April 28-29
• May 12-13*
• June 2-3*
* These dates have been planned to start the vision frame integration which we anticipate will take a while to fully implement over the 2020-2021 ministry year.
What will this cost ECBC?
The cost for the 9 to 11 month consultation is approximately $53,000. This has been budgeted due to a surplus from a previous ministry year giving.
Why do the Elders think this attempt at long term planning will be more successful than past attempts which bore little or no fruit?
We have a new Governance structure in place to sustain a high level of implementation, accountability and evaluation.
How can I help the Vision Planning Team?
First and foremost, please be praying for this team. As they regularly meet over the coming months, pray that the Lord would give them wisdom as they seek to discern and develop the future vision for our church. Additionally, please keep an eye out for periodical updates on the process and feel free to ask questions of our Staff and Elders.