Pastoral Proximity

A Transition Team Update, May 2017

Brothers and Sisters,

It was wonderful to come together with you in our recent Members Meeting. Partially because of the donuts, but mostly because of you. I am thankful that God led Pam and me to Church on Mill and that He has adopted us into His family of grace, as He has many of you. We are thankful to be members at COM and are grateful for the many, many loving relationships we have with you. Praise God!

Many good questions were raised on the topic of Pastoral Proximity, all of which deserve the most thoughtful answer possible and I am hoping this blog might provide a venue for more comprehensive answers than those able to be given in the meeting.

Most of the questions were centered around ‘how’ (as opposed to ‘why’ which was addressed earlier this year), so this posting will deal with that facet of this issue. Below is a concise summary of the research the transition team has performed to date and what has been discovered in the process.

How close should our Lead Pastor’s home be to church property? Ideally, a home on church property or within a block or two. Proximity at this level would allow for seamless ministry between the neighborhood, church campus, and home.  There are a couple of vacant lots on church property which are possible sites for a home to be built, as well as dozens of homes that could be purchased just off-site.

What type of home?  We are praying for a home of sufficient size to house the Newkirks and allow frequent ministry to groups of people.  Ideally, this would mean a home with an open living room, four bedrooms, and an office with a separate entrance. Abby will soon be a teenager so the possibility of her and Micah sharing a bedroom is not most wise. A fourth bedroom for visiting missionary or resident would be great, as well as an office that supports easy access to Chuck and member confidentiality.

Buy, Rent, or Build?  Financially, the least expensive method is to build a house on church property. A challenge is determining the best method of funding the build and how to equitably distribute proceeds from a future sale if the Newkirks fund some or all of the build.  With the sale of their current home, the Newkirks could afford a new build, but the church might rather own the home.  Buying an existing home is an option of course, but the Newkirks cannot afford an existing home in the area.  Perhaps God will provide funds through the generosity of others, toward either building or buying.

What about the existing resident properties?  We are blessed to have three properties on site, but the plan is to continue to use them as homes for our residents and campus missionaries. The Lord has blessed our training and sending, and we feel it best to continue with all three homes in this manner.

What can members do?  Thanks for asking!  Three things: 1) Please pray with us for God’s will to be clear; 2) If you have thoughts of strategies to bring before the members in how to proceed, please approach a member of the transition team: we desire and need your insights; 3) Consider if God might use you to help move pastoral proximity from a desire to a reality. 

In Christ,

Randy Hagler

(on behalf of your Transition Team)