2019 Annual Meeting Minutes

    May 29, 2020 |


    JUNE 9, 2019

    CALL TO ORDER & PRAYER – Amy Warfield opened the meeting with procedural instructions and prayer at 12:44 PM at the Lexington campus.  The meeting was simulcast to the satellite campuses in East Lexington, Foxboro, Watertown and Wilmington. A recording will be available online on or about June 11, 2019. Participants can ask questions and submit questions via text through the campus pastors.

    VOTING SUNDAY, June 16, 2019 – Voting will take place during all worship services on all campuses by paper ballot. Members must be present to vote. For those unable to vote on June 16, they can vote on Sunday, June 23, 2019. Voting results will be posted on the website by June 26, 2019.

    ELDERS’ REPORT - Victor Gerdes presented the Elders’ Report. Victor explained the elders’ responsibilities, which include providing leadership and oversight of the church’s vision and mission and reviewing both opportunities and challenges. They also approve the hiring of new pastors. Elders meet regularly, typically twice a month. In addition, they often serve in other volunteer capacities as well.

    Over the past year, elders focused on topics such as the state of the church, finding a new executive pastor, and reviewing and updating some policies. They’ve done a lot of “listening and learning,” which included reviewing congregational surveys, reports from campus pastors, and changes in attendance and giving patterns. This led to development of a new ministry model (see Senior Pastor report below).

    Victor gave thanks for the congregation, for the many volunteers who serve, for the staff, for the elder board, and for senior leadership. Retiring elders Adonis Vidu, Belle Liang, Donald Jin, Troy Stanfield and Kurt Drescher (who stepped down to come on staff) were recognized for their many contributions to the elder board, as was Paul Bodet, who stepped in when Kurt Drescher stepped down.

    SENIOR PASTOR REPORT - Pastor Bryan Wilkerson presented the Senior Pastor Report. He reviewed the Grace Chapel Vision: To be a growing community of seekers and believers discovering life with God for the good of greater Boston and the world. Discovering Life with God for the Good of the World.

    The ministry focus this year was Belonging. Sermon series included:

    • Fall Series: True Belonging; Romans 12-16
    • Global Awareness Week: Just Jesus
    • Advent & Christmas: Hope is Here
    • Winter Series: True Belonging, Home Edition
    • Lent: Unfiltered: Prayers from the Heart; The Gospels
    • Spring Series: Life Beyond; The Words of Jesus on Eternal Life
    • Early Summer Series: True Belonging: Church Edition; Acts 2

    The shift to a new ministry model was presented. The changes will help position Grace Chapel going forward into the future. There are two major shifts:

    • The focus will be on three Core Ministries: Sundays, Groups, and Next Generation
    • Campuses will be resourced so that they can grow through outreach

    Ministry Staff Transitions

    • Transitions off staff due to ministry model changes included Doug Whallon, Dana Baker, Andrew Breton, and Robert Bloodworth
    • Transitions off staff for personal reasons included Dave Ripper, Jim Ennis, and Bill Burke

    Pastor Bryan expressed gratitude to the congregation for being faithful over many years and through the last year of challenges and change.

    TREASURER'S REPORT – Troy Stanfield presented the Treasurer’s Report. Grace Chapel had $9.3 million in general fund giving in FY19. This was down approximately 2% from the prior year, and below budget targets for this year. Even with financial challenges this year, we are grateful to our great God and to a faithful congregation. With strong year-end giving, and because resources were diligently and carefully managed by the staff, we were able to end the year with a balanced budget.

    In addition, even with the challenges of decreased giving, our debt continues to decrease. Since 2011, our total debt has gone from $11.1 million dollars down to $3.6 million dollars in 2019.

    The proposed FY20 budget includes a 2% increase over the FY19 actual giving. The three largest budget items are ministry, missions and buildings. There is a new budget item, Growth Initiatives. Going forward, all campuses will be moving towards covering their expenses. Funds from the new budget item will be used by campuses to resource their growth to help towards that end.

    NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT – Cynthia Fantasia and Priscilla Seuss presented the Nominating Committee Report, identifying the nominating committee and presenting the slate of nominees for the Board of Elders, Nominating Committee, Audit Committee, Moderator and Clerk. The lists below include the campus that nominees identify as their primary campus.

    New Elder Nominees:

    • Andrea Dacayanan, Lexington
    • Victor Roman, Foxboro
    • Brenda Messervy, Lexington
    • Eric Bergstrom, Wilmington

    Returning Elder Nominees:

    • Priscilla Seuss, Lexington
    • Cynthia Fantasia, Lexington

    The Full Proposed Board of Elders for 2019-2020

    • Victor Gerdes, Chair
    • Jimmy Su, Vice Chair
    • Joan Christel, Elder
    • Cynthia Fantasia, Returning Elder Nominee
    • Victor Roman, Elder Nominee
    • Andrea Dacayanan, Elder Nominee
    • Sandy Shen, Elder
    • Rob Stutzman, Elder
    • Priscilla Seuss, Returning Elder Nominee
    • Brenda Messervy, Elder Nominee
    • Eric Bergstrom, Elder Nominee

    Other Nominations

    • Nominating Committee (one-year term)
      • Craig Lillehei, Watertown
      • Susan Maina, Wilmington
      • Don Vinh, East Lexington
      • Kent Morsch, Lexington
    • Audit Committee (one-year term)
      • Renato Zeppi, Chair, Wilmington
      • Lucy Marchese, Lexington
      • Russ Ayan, Lexington
    • Moderator (one-year term)
      • Amy Warfield, Lexington
    • Clerk (one-year term)
      • Sandy Smith, Lexington

    SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT – Brenda Messervy presented the Executive Pastor Search Committee report. The candidate, Mark MacDonald, has attended Grace Chapel for 12 years and currently serves on the campus leadership team in Watertown. Mark’s professional life includes serving previously as the global director of sales and marketing for Brady Corporation and as co-founder of HeroK12. He and his wife, Susan have three children.

    PROPOSED BALLOT MOTIONS -- Victor Gerdes presented the proposed ballot motions.

    • Motion 1: Approve the Minutes of the 2018 Congregational Meeting
    • Motion 2: Elect the Slate of Nominees for Church Offices
    • Motion 3: Approve the Ministry Operating Budget for FY2020
    • Motion 4: Elect the Executive Pastor Candidate

    QUESTIONS & ANSWERS – Amy Warfield moderated a time of Q & A, reminding campus pastors at the satellite campuses to text questions to Mark MacDonald.

    1. How did the elders decide on the $9.5 million FY20 budget? Elders started with the $9.3 million of actual giving from FY19. They then identified the direct costs of each campus and added that to actual giving. This created the 2% increase.
    2. Some people have felt that there’s been a lack of transparency in how decisions have been made this year. Can we speak to “where Jesus was in these decisions”? Church leadership has tried to communicate the changing financial landscape as it happened, sometimes rapidly, over this past year. In addition, many hours were spent by leadership praying for the ministry model changes and staff transitions. Pastor Bryan apologized for any appearance of holding back information, as this was not intentional. “The more you know, the better.”

    3. Given shortfalls in FY19 and the goal of reducing expenses, how comfortable are we with having almost the same budget in FY20 ($9.6 million in FY19, $9.5 million in FY20)? Troy clarified that the FY19 budget, including the GO reserve, was $9.8 million, so there is a reduction of $300,000.

    4. Where can we see the direct costs of each campus? If each campus is going to be responsible for their own operating budget, will giving be tracked by campus? Although not broken out in the budget figures yet (the financial staff is still working on formatting of the data), campus pastors have access to the campus financials and what it will take to cover their direct expenses.

    5. How are we setting up campuses for success, with them now being responsible for their own expenses? With ministry changes and the phasing out of some staff positions, funds have been freed up for growth initiatives. (See proposed budget: 9% for growth initiatives.) These funds can be used by campuses for initiatives, identified by each campus, that they feel will help them grow (for example, outreach programs, facilities upgrades, etc.).

    6. The missions budget has decreased over the past years from over 20% to 14%. Can you comment? Over the past few years, the missions budget has decreased from about 18% to the current 14%. Our auditors have benchmarked similarly-sized churches and have found their missions budgets are in the 8% range. We set the budget on what we feel we can faithfully give.

    7. Does the reduction in the percentage going to missions represent a shift in priorities? It’s a short-term shift in strategy. We feel that the budget as outlined makes the best use of our resources at this point. There is continual conversation with the missions pastor on this. (Of note: The budget number doesn’t include special giving, such as the Global Awareness Week and Christmas Eve offerings, which totaled almost $100,000 in 2018.)

    8. Can you provide more details on the biggest budget item, Ministry & Ministry Support? What is being allocated to what programs (Next Gen, Groups, etc.)? About 53% of that is staff salaries. Other than that, it’s more detail than can be accommodated in a summary report, but the details can be broken out for anyone who wants to see it.

    9. It’s been three years since the last all-church Sunday. Are there plans for another? We hope to do it again sometime, but there are no plans yet. Challenges include finding money/resources and an ideal location.

    10. What is church leadership doing ensure Grace Chapel is a great place to work? For the past two years, leadership has been very intentional about addressing staff life/culture. We’ve invested energy and resources into this on a consistent basis. Mark MacDonald brings significant experience here, having built many teams elsewhere. We anticipate a good year ahead.

    11. Are there any changes in the Next Generation programs with new ministry model? There are no substantial program changes, but this is going to be a central feature of church life, and we’d like the whole congregation to help make this aspect of our ministry more visible.

    12. It seems like there will be increasing reliance on lay leadership in the new ministry model. How are we developing new volunteers? With the new, simpler ministry model (Sundays, Groups, Next Generation), it’ll be easier to invite people to serve in one of those areas. For anyone who will be serving in a ministry to adults, it’ll fall under the umbrella of “groups.” All volunteers will get the same training and resources. Training will be streamlined and consistent across different ministries/groups.

    13. Can you expand on what “groups” involves? Putting people together with the scriptures, in community, is where discipleship and transformation happens. Groups will be designed to do this. Most groups will involve 8-18 people that meets consistently to provide care and encouragement. We want to train and resource groups well to have high-quality leaders.

    14. It seems we’re no longer using the Life Community terminology. Will there be a plan to formally migrate from this? We will most likely drop that term and transition to the name “group.” There may be a rebranding in the fall, but we encourage existing communities to continue to meet, even if under the new name/ministry model.

    15. There seem to be many decision-making bodies--an executive team, an elder board, etc. Who is making the decisions around strategies and priorities? And which entity should the congregation be talking with if they have a question about a certain program or ministry? Pastor Bryan explained the organizational charts. Congregation members should speak to the pastor who leads the team you want to have a conversation about.

    16. How is our communication strategy being strengthened to meet the changing digital environment? Leadership recognizes the need to engage more in this space. Some of our growth initiative funds may go in that direction.

    17. Does the church have any plans for corporate fasting and prayer? In the past, a decision to do this as one church would have had to have been vetted and agreed on by all campuses. This was challenging, as different forms may work better at different campuses. In the future, campuses will be able to decide what works best for them.

    CLOSING – Amy Warfield closed the meeting with prayer at 2:03 PM. 

    Respectfully submitted,
    Sandy Smith, Clerk

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