The makeup of Trinity is changing. No longer are we only an Orange City church. We have 177 non-college folks who worship regularly with us (or are members) who are not OC residents but live in a communities within a 30 mile radius.
In terms of imagining what regional ministry might look like, we want to practice a radical-openness. Beyond just being a church that gathers people from other communities, we want to be a sending church that sends people back to the places where we, live, work and play in our region to be Christ’s witnesses.
Since August Trinity has sent out worship teams to other places 10 times. Locations include First Reformed Hospers, Dover, Granite Church, and OCCS. We believe this is part of the call to regional ministry--to share our gifts and resources with other churches to help support their ministry (to not make it about Trinity).
Both the consistory of First Reformed Church in Hospers and our Leadership Team have discerned the Spirit inviting us into an exploratory conversation about how we might have an even deeper partnership. We’re not sure where this will lead, but we all feel called to take the next step and sit down and talk. That will happen sometime in the next couple months.
This is going to be one of our areas of focus over the next year: discerning and learning what it might look like for us to seek the shalom not just of our immediate community but the larger region.
6. Adjusting our structures to serve our growth and mission:
At our first worship service in our new building, around 500-600 were in attendance. On any given Sunday today, around 1,000-1,200 are in attendance. We have grown 100 percent since moving into our facility five years ago.
While we celebrate this, it also means growing pains. Trinity is no longer a medium size church; we are now (and have been) in the large church category. And that means that we need to adjust our staffing and leadership structures to fit this new size and mobilize us for greater impact.
The staff, Leadership Team, and consistory read an article this past year by Tim Keller on understanding the differences with church size and how it impacts the dynamics of a church. Here are a few of the most important points that are relevant to where we’re at right now:
- Church size transitions are one of the most underestimated challenges that leaders face; it can be harder to move to a church that’s a different size than change denominations.
- When a church reaches the large church category, fewer people need to be making policy decisions, and more people doing the ministry.
- When a church grows, the staff must change their role from “generalists” to “specialists” in a few key areas. Staff also need to shift from being a “leader of workers” to a “leader of leaders.”
- You know you’re hitting a new church size category when you hear some grumbling that goes like this: “Why weren’t we told about that? Who made that decision?”
- When a church grows, it gets more complex and needs to give more intentionality to good communication.
- Trust is essential. The leaders need to lead with transparency, and the congregation needs to trust their intent and competency.
As a result of this growth, we've undertaken a few changes over the last year to "catch up" to our size. We’re piloting a new consistory structure that is designed to match passions and gifts of leaders with ministry areas. So we’ve created different ministry teams, under two main umbrellas (Spiritual Development and Missional Engagement), that have consistory members and congregation at large members on them.
The Leadership Team will continue to function as the primary board of governance, providing the overall direction, accountability and support to the staff as they lead us.
We give God thanks for the way it is going so far. We still have plenty of kinks to work out, but we’ve seen ministries already being multiplied in a way that was difficult under the older structure.
Additionally, we recognize that we are currently understaffed, and the staff we have now are working hard but, as a whole, need more capacity. With the significant growth, we’ve added minimal staff over the years. So built into this new budget are some funds to look at adding some staff positions or developing already existing positions that will give more bandwidth to our current staff and, I’m convinced, increase the staff’s capacity to lead well and empower you, the church, for the work of ministry. The Leadership Team is working on this, and we’ll share more details with you in the next several weeks.
7. Generosity and Stewardship:
A year ago we found ourselves falling significantly behind with giving. There were multiple reasons for this. But we rejoice that we finished 2017 strong with $100,000 excess that was used for more ministry within our walls and beyond our walls.
We continue to be in a financially healthy place. We want to celebrate this! Thank you for the way you are stewarding your gifts (and not just your finances) but your time and your talents! Continue to ask God how he wants you to grow in your generosity.
Some of you are giving sacrificially right now, and regardless of the amount, that sacrifice is making a difference. Others of us may know that we could do more. Consider stepping out and increasing your giving, even if by even 1 to 2 percent. Not only will this have an impact on God’s kingdom work through Trinity, but you will find yourself growing in your own relationship with God.