This is the season that we celebrate the coming of Jesus, who left the comfort, unity, and perfection of heaven to come into our brokenness that we could have access to a perfectly holy God. Without taking anything away from this supreme celebration, I would like to communicate what has been accomplished in and through CCC over the last six months and then look into the first couple of months of 2018…
- We continue to unify as a staff as we build a culture of trust, laughter, joy, and seriousness regarding our ongoing mission as a God-honoring community of believers (and seekers).
- We began weekly prayer times and Management Team staff meetings to continue to build team focus, communication, unity, and chemistry.
- We held Mid-Career Assessment/Discernment Days for both Pastors Jim and Matt with VitalChurch Partner Dr. Tom Wilkens.
- We are thrilled to add our well-qualified and gifted Student Ministries Pastor, Conrad McKenzie to our Staff!! (Along with Emily and Willow!)
- We have begun to rework all Staff Role Descriptions, which will include both specific Ministry Objectives (MO’s) as well as Personal Objectives (PO’s – developmental) for each staff member. Once the Role Descriptions are finalized each staff member will undergo an initial Performance Review after 3-months.
- Having been a large church that acted in many ways like a small church, we are implementing updated systems and strategies including a “chain of care” (see Exodus 18:17-27) so that, in the long-run, more people will receive better care.
- Transformation Team (which includes the Transitional Leadership Team–TLT):
- We have a high functioning Transformation Team (TT) made up of committed leaders with administrative capacity to plan all-church Summits, other Events, update Policies and By-Laws, Staff Role Descriptions, etc. (The incoming Elders will become ad hoc members of the TT).
- Two sessions for Summit #1 — The Journey Wall Experience have been completed — looking back to celebrate all that God has accomplished as well as learning from our mistakes to assess our current reality accurately.
- The TT is currently processing all of the data collected at the two sessions of the Summit #1. Beginning in January that information will be shared in more detail as we prepare for Summit #2 (date TBD).
- Elder Team Reconstitution:
- Four NE Regional Church Leaders (with collective ministry experience of over 100 years) agreed to interview CCC Elder Candidates and four were presented for an all-church vote of affirmation.
- They determined that no former elders should be considered at this time because there was enough dysfunction in the system to warrant a fresh start.
- We allowed a month for anyone with questions or concerns to express themselves and then held a vote of affirmation. (There were no biblically disqualifying character flaws identified – either from within CCC or in the larger southern Mass community.)
- Both members and attenders were encouraged to vote and the presented elders generated a 95% vote of affirmation!
- There has been a very positive and ongoing process of relational reconciliation with all the former elders except the former Lead Pastor.
- A recent online VitalChurch Demographic Survey indicated very encouraging metrics for CCC vitality and stability along with some “yellow lights” that will require our ongoing attention. (See below.)
CCC’s Staff, incoming Eldership Team, and TT are VERY committed to upholding biblical practices of appropriate and biblical communication patterns.
On a more somber note, it became apparent over the last few months that inappropriate and improper communication (that includes gossip, triangulation, mind reading/second guessing) had become “normalized” at CCC. Our pastoral staff and TLT have all had some difficult conversations seeking to learn, teach, and train people in this area as well as to admonish individuals to discontinue these non-biblical communication patterns. For the most part, we have been quite successful. Others have chosen to discontinue ongoing dialogue and separate themselves. We wish them well. CCC’s Staff, incoming Eldership Team, and TT are VERY committed to upholding biblical practices of appropriate and biblical communication – and to equip CCC in the biblical practices of (inevitable) conflict resolution.
Where We’re Headed
Here is a brief overview of where we are headed in 2018. TRANSFORMATIONAL VISION STATEMENT (with input from Staff, TT, and Leaders):
We desire to simplify and get back to the basics as well as maximize our God-given opportunity to continue to unify CCC by humbly and prayerfully…
- Recommitting to be Christ-centered and gospel-saturated in all we do (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
- Embracing inevitable conflict and growing through it by being willing to have courageous conversations (Ephesians 4:15)
- Developing a biblically-based leadership and governance model that prizes authentic relationships, mutual accountability, and a “chain of care” that reflects a large and vital church (Exodus 18:17-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-25; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
- Rebuild and energize our Small Group Ministry to create safe places for messy people learn the Bible, be authentically known, worship, pray, and serve.
- Re/Design a discipleship pathway that is rooted in the Great Commandment and focuses on the Great Commission (Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 28:19-20)
- Continue to mobilize teams of people to serve lost, poor, oppressed, and brokenhearted people – both locally and around the world (Luke 4:18-19; Matthew 28:19-20)
This will culminate in the calling of a permanent lead pastor who will team with CCC to engage in a new chapter of ministry fruitfulness in SE MA and around the world.
Most Recent Online Demographic Survey Results:
The report covers who is coming, how we got to CCC, and how we are connected. There are strong affirmations in the report as well as some “yellow flags” for us to work on. There are three versions of this report available for your review…
Some Upcoming Events and Preaching Series’ For 2018:
- A “where we’re headed” type sermon on January 6-7 (Read Luke 6:12-19 in preparation)
- All Staff strategic planning day January 9th.
- Treasuring Christ on January 13-14
- An all-church celebration and appreciation of our former elders Saturday, January 20 after the 4pm service.
- Sermon series beginning January 20-21: THRIVE. A 6-week sermon series on how the power of the gospel grows us both spiritually and emotionally. As one church leader points out: “It is impossible to be spiritually mature, while remaining emotionally immature.” Emotionally unhealthy Christ-followers operate in a continuous state of spiritual and emotional deficit, where time spent WITH God is insufficient to sustain what we are doing FOR God. More to come…
- February 10-11: Elder Installation during all services.
- We are bringing in a coach for our incoming elders as we institute a governance model that is often referred to as policy governance. The objective (as stated above) is to develop a biblically-based leadership and governance model that prizes authentic relationships and mutual accountability (1 Pet 5:1-4). Terry Hippenhammer (a friend of VitalChurch) will be with us on February 10-11 to jumpstart our training in this governance model.
- March 3-4: A sermon series employing The Apostles Creed to study the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it’s called The Apostles Creed because it was the early Christian community’s attempt to give a summary of apostolic teaching that contains essential Christian doctrines and beliefs that summarize the gospel and make up the foundation of our faith.
Overall, my first six months at CCC have been quite encouraging. We have an amazing staff, a hardworking and very honest and astute TT, and many dedicated and hardworking volunteers. I am looking forward to working with and mentoring our incoming elders. I love my job and I am VERY excited about the future of CCC. There is no doubt that our best years are ahead.
Here is an email address if you have any questions or input: email@example.com.
I get that the last two years have been difficult. Thank you for hanging in there.