A recap of last night's Vision Night at BCC and some reflections. This will be hit-and-run style, 'cause my three-year-old is asking me to play Candyland with her, and I cannot say no. :-)
If you happened to miss last night, I've been told video of the "presentation" portion of the service will be available at the BCC website sometime today. If you weren't able to make it, you should definitely watch it.
Lionel started us off with a great time of worship. It's been a while since I've sung "Spirit of the Living God" (which may not be the right title, not sure), but I love that song.
Dennis presented a neat "imaginary reenactment" of the Last Supper for us while we celebrated communion.
I don't know if you realize this -- heck, you probably do -- but communion is a vital ingredient in the life of the Body of Christ. I will probably post on the Lord's Supper sometime in the coming weeks, but for now I just want to say how grateful I am that it seems to be more at the forefront of our corporate worship than ever before.
After worship and communion, Bill West took the stage to address the congregation.
Okay, can I just say I flippin' love this guy? It was not a planned portion of the evening, so Becky and I were holding our breath, afraid he was about to announce his resignation. I've sat through a few such announcements before, and they are heartbreaking when the minister making the announcement is someone you've grown attached to.
But Bill said two things that needed to be said. First, that he has a great peace about knowing he is not God's man for the lead pastor position. Second, and perhaps most importantly, he knows BCC is where he's supposed to be and he is not going anywhere.
You need to watch the video at this point, because the spontaneous and lengthy standing ovation Bill received at this point was the most powerful moment of the entire night.
Look, we've needed a pastor, and Bill has more than filled the role. I have to confess in always suspecting I was in the minority regarding my appreciation of Bill. It was an encouragement to me to know I'm not alone, and what a dramatic statement it was to Bill and to each other that everyone felt the simultaneous compulsion to let Bill know we love him, appreciate him, and praise God for him. And obviously it was a great encouragement to him, as well.
After Bill's address, the elders began taking the stage to make their individual presentations.
Mike Hueneke introduced us to the four incoming elders. They are:
These are four great guys with a lot of faith, wisdom, intelligence, and expertise between them. I think our elder board has made a great move in voting these guys in. Let's remember to keep them in our prayers as they take the reigns of our leadership during this continuing transition. And if you happen to see one of them at church sometime, please tell them congratulations and thank them for their service.
The update on the lead pastor search is that there is really only one guy in the pipeline, and it was the candidate we heard from last weekend. Our elders are continuing to talk with him, and all parties involved are continuing to pray for God's leading in this area. The next stage may be inviting him back for a town meeting-type Q&A with BCC folks. The elders are well aware that you can't know much about a guy just by hearing how good a speaker he is.
Minister Search, the firm we are using to find candidates for us, does not have any other viable candidates for us to engage with us at this time.
Alex Poston took the stage to tie up a loose end from the original cottage meetings, a final piece of data from the initial "fallout." Lots of folks continue to wonder about the expense account audit, and as recently as the last Tennessean article, dollar amounts continue to get bandied about. The elders felt it important to address this clearly and directly.
Apparently the final figure the auditor came back with is $369,000 of undocumented expenses; that is to say, $369,000 charged to expense accounts that did not have receipts. There is no way to know what this money was spent on.
A few folks in the Q&A time wanted to know what this means. Nobody would really say what they meant by "what this means" and consequently the elders did not really just lay it out there.
This is my interpretation, and I'm sure it could get me in trouble. :-) Basically, we had to turn in a real figure to the IRS for our own tax purposes. It was not done in any retaliatory way against the Fosters. But to maintain the church's non-profit status -- essentially, to stay in good with the government regulation of churches and non-profit agencies -- we had to cooperate in this process. But after handing this information over, it is now out of our hands. That could not be more important to say. Anything that happens from this point on is not the responsibility of BCC. Anything that may result from this data's surrender will not be done by BCC or done on BCC initiative. And when I say "anything that may be done," I'm talking about any legal ramifications involved.
It is in the IRS's hands now, and whatever is to be done about this unaccounted for 369K, if anything, will be their decision.
Randy Holland addressed the ministry needs of the church. There is a huge need here for people to continue stepping up to volunteer in some ministries (particularly in the student ministry, which is growing extraordinarily (from 12 to 60 in a few months) and in Kids Place). He also announced a family and couples focus for a new small groups initiative. Randy will be spearheading that effort, and he is looking for 2 or 3 couples to volunteer to lead these groups. He is committing to assisting and "mentoring" the leaders.
Conexus will continue, as well, and we are always looking for new leaders.
Trey Adkisson gave us a financial update, and I won't even attempt to recall the exact figures involved, because I have a terrible memory with such things. I've been told that last weekend was great in terms of giving, as would be expected given the larger than ordinary crowd present to hear the lead pastor candidate, but in terms of per capita giving it was a huge spike.
But we are still in need of increased giving. Thankfully we have enough money at this point to maintain with current staff and mortgage and such at least until Fall, but we are hoping and praying for increase in meeting budgetary needs in the coming weeks. The general view here is sober but optimistic. And as the lead pastor process progresses, and as attendance continues to improve, we are trusting God will provide the resources necessary to keep BCC itself a full-capacity resource for all who come.
Well, that's the short of it. I probably missed something, and I'm not even going to try recounting the entire Q&A with the elders at the end. I'm not sure if that portion of the evening will be included on the video, but if is not, the elders continue to make themselves available for questions or concerns. Their e-mail addresses are available on the BCC website, and the incoming elders' addresses will be, as well. Don't hesitate to ask somebody.
And please watch the video when it is available. It will fill in all my gaps and give you a greater sense of the flow and spirit of the evening.
It's Candyland time for me! And Grace has been very patient, as this post was not as brief as I intended it to be. :-)