Document published January 28, 2018.
Table of Contents:
Elder Board Report
It has been a full year. As you may be aware, the elders meet monthly to discuss, pray, and plan for both near and far hopes, dreams, directions, and hurts for those within the body and each other. At the start of this past year, God challenged my heart with two main things:
1) that the elder board would continue or become more of a group of men who pray for one another, and that we as a group of individuals would be able to affect those in our spheres of influence with the gospel message that is affecting us; and
2) that we as elders and then the church would grow in our passion to reach the lost, specifically those in the community around us.
However, this last year to me was a difficult one, filled with ministry to many hurting within the body. The elders have walked together and with many people through many difficult and challenging times. Our goal has been to walk well with all and in helpful ways while communicating the Gospel message within the body and to us all who need the support of the body.
I would love to be able to tie a big bow on this package, to be able to say that these challenges have all been completed! While I cannot say with certainty if some or any of these challenges have been accomplished or even really started, we have been praying, and God has been at work among us. I believe God has been preparing us to do these very things. I am reminded of what God said would be a witness to the world about Him. It seems if we are to be effective in reaching the lost, then the gospel message must be at work within each of us.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.
John 13:35 (NIV)
As we look forward to 2018 and what God wants to do in our midst, it is my hope that we can continue loving one another well as passionate followers of Jesus.
Please continue to pray for the elders as they lead. Pray that they can be effective here among us and in their lives away from Elim. Pray for one another as well that we (all passionate followers of Jesus), too, might be effective and grow in love toward each other, that the message of the Gospel would be made known among us and in each of our spheres of influence.
Senior Pastor Annual Report
Into the Unknown
Over the years, the goal of my leadership has been to lead people into a maturing relationship with Jesus so that we are a community who are being transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:28-29). This is at the core of our mission (“To be an oasis for renewal with God and one another”), our vision (“by nurturing passionate followers of Jesus”) and our process (“who know God, grow together in Christ, and go and serve South Hill and beyond”). Helping people know God and grow together in Christ has been 90% of my focus.
In 2018 and beyond, it is my prayer and intention to focus on equipping us for outreach. We need to be disciples who make disciples among those who are not yet disciples. The challenges of this emphasis will be significant but essential. While I am thankful for the six children who professed faith in Jesus this past year through Awana, I am troubled that I know of few adults who came to Christ and entered into a discipleship relationship in 2017. If we are being transformed into the image of Jesus, it follows that we will be passionate not only for Him and our transformation, but also for His mission to “go and make disciples of all peoples.”
How will this begin to take place? Honestly, I cannot answer this question yet. I will begin by calling this community to begin praying for wisdom as we wrestle with ways to become strategic. We must pray for our Father to move us in this direction. I know He will, because this is His will for us. In addition, we must begin praying for a courageous heart (Ephesians 6:19-20). We must embrace our Father’s will to be formed by our identity as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). This identity will expose our fears and doubts. It will push all of us outside of our comfort zone. This will call us to engage with our unsaved neighbors and friends in ways we have yet to discover.
When will this journey begin? We will begin Sunday morning, February 4. Will this be a program? This is not a program. While there may be some program opportunities that emerge in the future, the outcome will not be a program. The outcome I’m praying for is each person praying for the unsaved in his or her life, living out the Gospel among them, and by God’s grace making disciples among those who are not yet disciples. Please, hold me accountable to leading Elim in this direction. If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them with me. I long to see this be a movement that rises up among this community. I would love to see Elim celebrate over the next 12 to 18 months a dozen adults who have come to know Jesus and are being discipled!
In other news, this year has been a year of transition. In February, our Pastor of Worship and Children, Nate Champneys, resigned for personal reasons. This was a shock to those under his leadership, and we have had to work through a number of transition issues. I praise God for our incredible children’s and worship leaders! In Kids’ Ministries, we saw many people step up and lead. We were able to completely renovate the children’s rooms in the annex. In August, we hired Geneva Mooney to serve as Children’s Ministries Director. She has done a great job leading and organizing our more than 60 adult volunteers, even though she was pregnant and gave birth in October.
I have been overseeing the worship ministries. We have three great teams led by dedicated worship leaders. Tomina Sharpe, Brian Waple, and Roger Petersohn have worked hard to develop their teams and lead us in worship each Sunday. I look forward to seeing people develop and new leaders raised up.
I have also been working with a team of people who will facilitate a process to help victims of sexual abuse. One in five men and one in three women suffer from the trauma and shame of sexual abuse. It is our desire to help them begin the redemptive journey toward personal health and wholeness. Within the next six months, it is our goal to host two seminars for our community dealing with this difficult issue.
There are many other issues we are working on: developing our leadership pipeline, expanding our children’s ministry space, and making property improvements. Through it all, it is a great privilege to serve alongside the staff, elders, and many leaders God has allowed us to raise up at Elim. May our Father continue to guide us into the future.
Senior Associate Pastor Annual Report
I hate writing these things. I am not sure if it is because I am insecure about writing. It could be because I am not sure what people want to hear about or just not sure if people read this. But here goes nothing!
This year, 2017, was an interesting year. It had many highs and lows. Nate’s resignation was a low, but being able to hire Geneva to take over Kids’ Ministries was a high. Geneva has done a wonderful job of bringing organization to our Kids’ Ministries. She thinks in terms of tools and systems, and it shows. Cheryl being diagnosed again with cancer was a low. But getting Lori to fill in for her was a high. I look forward to seeing how Lori makes this job her own until Cheryl comes back.
The communications team has grown, which is a high. This team knows how to push me and my leadership in ways I need to learn. They ask questions that I didn’t know needed to be asked. Jason and Hannah Comerford, Larry Short, Gregg Zimmerman, Tatum Patefield, and Lori Cantu have been a huge blessing to me. They are helping me become a better leader. Not to mention they produce amazing material!!! Ross Fitzpatrick has done a great job with the usher teams. It has been a high for me that he stepped in and is leading this team. Ross and the ushers are doing a great job keeping people safe and pointed in the right direction on Sunday. The greeters and Joan Wilde are doing a great job at welcoming people at the doors. With Nate stepping down, I took on the sound team, and they are doing a fantastic job every Sunday helping make the service an enjoyable place to attend. Nate, Chris, Luke, Cally, or Hannah need to be at any event that needs sound support, and they have been there. The Common Ground leaders have been a huge high for me. I watch these leaders invest in students almost every Sunday, during retreats and activities and at one-on-one times. Elim’s students are well cared for because of the leaders that have volunteered so much of their time.
Elim is blessed in so many ways, one of the biggest being the sheer number of volunteers we have. Most churches have one or maybe two teachers per kids’ class, with a helper. We have, in most cases, four teachers and four helpers per kids’ class. This is a huge high. Common Ground has 10 leaders, and most of us have been on the team for more than five years. This is huge in Student Ministries. Having leaders with the long tenure that we have helps create a safe environment for students to grow and parents to feel confident in what is going on. Student Ministries is a hard ministry because it never stops, and these leaders are always willing to be here. We are blessed as a church. Our usher teams serve one month on and two months off. When the average American churchgoer attends twice a month, these guys are willing to be here every Sunday during a month! We are blessed by all those who serve, including Julie Davis and her Awana leaders; men’s, women’s, and community group leaders; MOPS leaders; coffee crew; greeters; communion prep team; tech team; presentation team; and property volunteers. I am sure I am missing some team or group of people, but we are blessed by all the committed volunteers and we are thankful for them!!!
I am excited to have the directors of the different ministries in 2018 create and start to implement a leadership pipeline. The implementation of this pipeline is critical toward the development of our current and future new leaders within Elim. This is going to be a long but beneficial process. I am also excited to see how God is going to use Challenge in the lives of the senior high students this year. Challenge has been an event where we have seen God show up in mighty ways in the past, and I cannot wait to see how He is going to use it this year. I am excited to see what God is going to do in our Children’s Ministries as Geneva continues to lead. I am also excited and hopeful that we will be able to get some more classrooms for Kids’ Ministries. Please join me in praying that God would provide this much-needed classroom space.
All in all, there is a lot to be thankful for and excited about here at Elim. Like in any church, there are highs and lows that are needed to remind us of our need for God and the fact that He is at work here. The future is bright for Elim as we seek to nurture passionate followers of Jesus Christ who know God, grow together in Christ, and go and serve South Hill and Beyond.
Children’s Ministries Annual Report
In 2017 we had some big changes within Elim’s Children’s Ministry. We had a change in leadership and we launched our new ministry, 2:52 Kids. Much has been accomplished in the short time since August when I became the Children’s Ministry Director.
The T+ and K-2 classrooms were switched, both rooms in the portable were painted by a group of volunteers, and Jen Severns created the beautiful murals in each classroom. These changes could not have occurred without the heart, time and willingness of the great volunteers we have within our church body. In addition, we have moved into the 21st century and begun utilizing technology in our classrooms.
I am looking forward to this summer and bringing back VBS, as well as the possibility of a new portable to house our growing population.
As we move forward into 2018 my hope and prayer is to have an abundance of volunteers for Sunday mornings, our summer VBS and our Awana program and that those volunteers and their families will thrive so the kids in our ministry can grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man as Jesus did (Luke 2:52).
Women’s Ministries Annual Report
Small Groups – Our small groups continue to be the highlight of WM as we have close to 40 women involved in different groups this year. This is where discipleship really happens as women get to know each other on a deeper level and are transformed in their walk with Christ.
In the spring, various topics were studied by our Thursday-morning group led by Joan Pavey and Marilyn Joslin. In the fall, Ann Grace and Jane Quine took over leadership. and they studied Finding I Am by Lysa Terkeurst.
The Tuesday-evening group, led by Candy Shattuck and Jo Cherland, studied Psalms in the spring and Finding I Am in the fall.
Cindy Waple led several groups throughout the year focusing on dealing with shame and vulnerability. In addition, Gretchen Miles led a group on Sunday evenings.
This fall, we started a morning MOPS as well as the evening group.
Events – In January, we held a Made retreat, which was a meaningful time of guided creative projects and small-group discussion focused on our relationship with God and our value and worth as God’s children. We had our Women’s Tea in May and Cozy Christmas in December, both led by Sam Naron.
Women’s Retreat – This year’s retreat was again held at Natapoc near Leavenworth October 20-22, and we were blessed to have Cindy Waple speak to us on the theme of “Courageous.” Janine Lawrence and her team did a wonderful job of coordinating the retreat.
As we close out 2017, the WM team is re-evaluating what our core values and ministries are as well as how we can develop and train leaders in WM. My hope for 2018 is that we would gain additional members of our WM team who are passionate about reaching and loving women and that the current members would have a renewed sense of direction. You can pray for Janine Lawrence, Janna Gilli, Samantha Naron, and me as we walk this path.
MOPS Annual Report
This past and current MOPS has gone by too fast. Last year we as a steering team felt called to start a daytime MOPS group. The workload has been as expected, but wow, do we see the Lord moving!
We have an incredible steering team who give more than 100% of their hearts to this ministry. Heather Williams is our amazing finances manager, Lisa Biggins is our hospitality leader, Rochele Griffin does all our publicity, Terese Severson is our MOPS kids coordinator, and Frances Amos and Jennie Hirschfelder are our giving mentor moms. The Lord is so great and strategic in His placement of these women!
We have had the opportunity to do fundraising for our MOPS group through a bazaar. These funds are going toward a trip in 2019 for training. Thank you to all those who supported it! We appreciate you!
The focus of MOPS at Elim is to create an oasis for renewal and an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord and Savior. How we go about providing this space is through invitation to moms with young children. As a church, we ask that you would continue to cover this ministry in prayer as we seek to reach the unsaved mothers and their families. Also, we ask for prayer that we would remain focused on the plans that Jesus has rather than our own desires.
Community Ministry Annual Report
We love our community group! Being involved in a group has allowed our family to get closer to other families at Elim. The biggest impact is probably hearing each other’s stories. This helps us develop empathy and have an understanding of where people are coming from.
It has also given our girls play time with other kids. They always ask, “When is the next community group?” And our group provides us the opportunity to pray for each other during meetings and throughout the week. Community groups have also given us the chance to get into the Bible. They challenge us to get out of our comfort zones, and to become passionate followers of Christ.
~ Lee Severson
2017 was a great year for community groups at Elim! As of our official fall kickoff in October, we had a total of 14 groups actively meeting, including four women’s groups and four men’s groups. Currently, 72% of Elim’s adult attending population are involved in one of these groups (nearly three out of four)! I think this incredible factoid in itself is the single biggest testimonial about the impact of groups in the lives of brothers and sisters in Christ here in this church. If connection in the Body of Christ is important, and we know it is, groups are the glue that will make it happen.
Groups range in size from four to 15 members, but the average group has 10 members. Groups meet at all different days and times during the week. Some meet weekly, and some every other week. Most (but not all) groups take time off during the summer.
Of the six groups not exclusively for men or women, two are intergenerational, two are focused on marriage, one focuses on supporting young married couples, and one focuses on young adults (both single and married).
Elim has 29 leaders who help lead these 14 groups. Some are led or co-led by couples. About half of Elim’s groups have one or more identified co-leaders or leaders-in-training.
Three of our groups (two of the men’s groups and the young families support group led by Ben and Rochele Griffin) were brand-new in 2017. Also, one of the intergenerational groups transitioned leadership from its long-established leader couple to a leader-in-training couple.
My New Role and What I’m Learning
I officially became the director of community ministry last October, inheriting the role from Jim DeAngelo, who had the gall to move away to Arizona. My primary goals during 2017 were to meet with group leaders (and Kim, the director of our women’s groups), to get a feel for leaders’ needs and vision for their groups, and to understand how I could pray and support them. We also had one group leaders’ BBQ at our home at which we were able to share stories and encourage one another.
I also got involved in denominational “Leadership Pipeline” training with our pastors and with our women’s ministries’ director, Kim Schlomer. I attended a cohort meeting in Minneapolis that was a great learning and fellowship opportunity, and also participated in leadership-pipeline planning and development with other Elim ministry leaders.
In addition to meeting with and praying for leaders (and participating in two groups myself, one as a leader and the other simply as a group member), the primary focus of my effort in 2017 was to prepare group leadership and promotional materials for the website and for group leaders and to develop a comprehensive list of all groups and their members. This also enabled us to give leaders a list of Elim adults not yet in groups so they could invite new people when they had available space.
Community Ministry Plans and Goals for 2018
I have five key goals for this ministry for 2018:
1) Increase prayer cover, support, and training for group leaders. I would like to continue to meet with group leaders or directors at least quarterly, to attend various groups as a guest on occasion, and to host at least two more leadership training/fellowship events.
2) Encourage all group leaders to have both “Pauls” (people they look up to for learning and encouragement) and “Barnabases” (other group leaders they can fellowship with and encourage), as well as “Timothys” (new/potential group leaders they are training). I would like to see co-leaders or leaders-in-training in all Elim’s groups.
3) Approximately 28% of adult attenders at Elim are currently not yet involved in groups. Assuming current groups are more or less “full,” that means we would need an additional five groups (approximately) to accommodate everyone. I realize not everyone will get involved in a group, but personally I’d like to see us raise up at least three more group leaders/groups in 2018 to accommodate as many Elimites as possible next fall.
4) Continue to participate in the “Leadership Pipeline” process development, including another cohort meeting In Houston in January. One of the Pipeline principles is that for every five groups, we should have a group coach. The men’s ministries’ director currently performs that role for the four men’s groups, as the women’s director does for the four women’s groups (and I am also seeking to encourage/equip/resource these as I am able). I am also currently filling the coaching role for the six other groups, as well as the director role. But it’s clear to me that in order to succeed (particularly if God were to allow us to raise up three more groups this year), I will need to recruit one or two group “coaches” (from among experienced group leaders) whom I can work with.
5) I believe groups should be the “tip of the sword” in reaching out to serve our community and the world beyond. In 2018, I would like to see every group think and pray about how God will use them in ministry to others outside their group. My goal would be for at least half of our groups to be actively reaching out in some way.
In short, at this time next year, I’d love to look back and reflect on how God has allowed us to raise up more leaders, create more groups, see more people at Elim experiencing the blessing of participating in community, and see our groups become more missionally-focused! Please pray with me to that end.
Prayer Ministry Annual Report
During 2017 we saw many miraculous answers to prayer (such as the phenomenal result of our own pastor’s eye surgery!). We also had many “answers” that we didn’t expect. For instance, while Mary Price and I have had the blessing of co-leading Elim’s Prayer Chain for the past few years, this past year we also had some assistance from Judy Beer; so, it was a sad day indeed for us when Judy passed away on June 10. Her encouragement to us and to many others in this ministry will never be forgotten. But we do know that God has answered our prayers for Judy’s healing—as she is now worshipping God, in His presence, in her new heavenly body!
The primary function of the prayer ministry is to mobilize prayer support and cover for specific needs. We do this primarily through the Prayer Chain, which is activated when we learn of a need (the Prayer Chain has a dedicated email address where people can reach us, firstname.lastname@example.org) and post that need on a private Facebook prayer group or via email to Prayer Chain members.
Mary and I will both pray with people who call us with a prayer need, but this is her primary function while mine is focused on recruiting prayer warriors and communicating prayer needs and updates to them. And we are deeply grateful for the work of a cadre of nearly 90 prayer warriors who support the goals of this ministry.
I counted 57 specific prayer requests (and updates) that were posted to our Facebook page during 2017. In addition to the 83 prayer warriors on Facebook lifting up these requests, we communicate with a few more (who are not on Facebook) via email. We also received and prayed for a handful of requests directly as a result of a form on our website, though that is utilized primarily by non-attenders.
During 2017 we were also able to mobilize some intercessors to pray at the bedside of people (such as Judy and numerous others), upon request.
Prayer Ministry Plans and Goals for 2018
In addition to running the Prayer Chain, in past years we have held specific meetings with intercessors just for prayer purposes. We did not do this in 2017, but hope to resume doing so in 2018 as needs arise.
We would also like to do more “hands-on,” on-scene intercession, so if you or a loved one has a specific health need or is undergoing treatment in the hospital, please be sure to let us know and request someone to come pray with you. James 5:14 instructs:
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
This is a great privilege we have, in the Body of Christ, and I am always surprised how few people actually take advantage of it and follow James’s instructions.
Also be sure to let us know anytime you have a prayer need by emailing email@example.com or calling either Mary or me. And if you would like to join our cadre of 83 prayer warriors, please do let me know!