Town Hall Meeting FAQ

On Sunday, July 16, we had three very well attended Town Meetings at CLC and in Concord to talk about the merger with Family of Faith. I appreciate the high level of interest and the honest and tough questions that were asked. I would say that they were responsible questions that sought clarification but did not derail the process.  Because of the importance of this vote, I would like to call two additional Town Meetings on August 6 prior to the vote on August 13 to clear up any questions. These will be at 10:10 in Christ Chapel and at 12:00 in the Sanctuary.
By the way, if you missed the Town Meeting, it is posted on our website under Online Worship. So far, we’ve had almost 400 viewings on Facebook Live. Click here to watch on website.
With this letter, I wanted to capture some of the FAQs from the Town Meetings.
This feels rushed. 
I understand that even though the Council has worked a year on this merger and the transition team has been together for four months, most of the congregation feels that they have not had the time to think through the proposal. That’s why I wanted to provide the congregation with more information through this letter and with additional Town Meetings on August 6.
Why have the vote during the low times of the summer?  
True, worship attendance is down about 30% during the summer, but between the two, the Town Meetings drew in almost 200 people (which is more than most congregational meetings).  Plus, the Town Meeting in Concord had 30 people-which is more than they worship on Sunday mornings.  People are still around. As far as timing, strategically, we want to launch Christ Concord in September when people are looking for a church home for worship and Sunday School. If not September, the next strategic launch date would be the first of the year with New Years’ resolutions or Easter when people are naturally looking for a place to worship. We thought that was too long to wait.
Why are we doing this? 
There are at least two answers to that.  First, because we were asked by the Synod and by Family of Faith to help, and we are in a position like no other church to do just that.  Second, because this is central to the command of Jesus to make disciples and it is written into our mission to welcome, connect, equip and send. This is a pilot program where we seek not only to have Family of Faith become a campus of CLC but to replicate this process as we train other medium and large congregation across the Synod and country to do the same within their communities.
What is the financial impact?

Family of Faith has a balanced budget of $120,000 which is heavily subsidized by the ELCA, the Synod and Family of Faith savings, totaling about $65,000 the first year, $55,000 the second year and $45,000 the third year.  With this merger, we will incorporate both their income and expenses into the Christ Lutheran Churches overall budget. They have four acres and a nice sanctuary/ fellowship hall with no debt. While the financial risk will be minimum for these three years, we will have to add two very part time staff members (15 hours per week) to help with programs and music as well as budget for marketing, technology and program costs. To offset these costs, we will have a very intentional and focused stewardship campaign for the fall.

What is the exit strategy in case this does not work and how do we define success?
Just as Christ South is subsidized for three years by the ELCA and the Synod, so would Christ Concord.  After three to five years, worst case scenario, if there has been no growth in membership, attendance and giving at Christ Concord, the congregation of CLC would have to decide whether or not to continue the campus or sell the property or find additional partners.  In terms of success, the rule of thumb to be an independent, self sustained congregation, we need an attendance of about 100 on Sunday.  I believe that we can achieve benchmark before that three year period.
What will the worship style be at Christ Concord? 
That is yet to be determined by their own congregation and discernment team.  While they have always had a very traditional style, they currently are experimenting with a more blended sound.  Our leadership team will help them shape a worship style that is uniquely their own.
Are the people of Christ Concord in favor of this merger? 
For the most part, yes. There were no dissenting votes from their council.  At their Town Meeting, they were understandably concerned about losing their identity and assets, but Pastor Paul helped to assuage many fears by framing this merger in resurrection language. That is, for the new to rise again, we must first put to death the old.  He has been a part of this proposal even before he officially began his ministry at Family of Faith on Easter, 2017. They are people who love their congregation and are willing to step forth boldly in faith to reverse their struggles and become thriving once again.
Will there be another capital campaign? 
At this point there are no plans for another campaign. If and when there will be a campaign in the future, I would imagine it would be something that would benefit all three campuses such as land for South, debt-reduction for Providence and program space for Concord.  But again, no plans at this point for a capital campaign.
What are the demographics of the surrounding community? 
According to the Percept Group that prepared a thorough demographic study of the 1.5 mile radius surrounding Family of Faith, there is a very high projected population density with strong projected growth. The families are primarily traditional in make up and affluent. The largest group of non-white families are Asian. Overall, there is a high level of post high school education. Studies show there is a high level of receptivity to faith and high capacity to support financially. Currently, while there are many Lutheran churches in Cabarrus County, in this southwest corner nearest to Charlotte, Family of Faith stands alone as the Lutheran presence.
What will we vote on and when?  
On August 13, we will one worship service at 10:00, followed by one congregational meeting at 11:15.  Christ South will Skype in.  The vote will have two parts.  The first will be to merge with Family of Faith, Concord, and the second will be to call Pastor Paul Myers as a pastor of Christ Lutheran Church.  Constitutionally, you must be present in order to vote.
What will the preaching rotation be like? 
Currently, I preach at Christ Providence 66% of the time. That will not change. Those days I am not scheduled to preach at Providence, I will rotate in at South and Concord.
Are we losing our Lutheran identity with Christ Providence, Christ South and Christ Concord? 
No. These are primarily for internal communication for clarity as to which campus. You will tell friends that you attend Christ Lutheran Church. Where?  At our Concord, South or Providence Campus. Our sign will continue to say, “Christ Lutheran Church.”  The banner of our website will read, “Christ Lutheran Churches.”  The sign out front of Family of Faith will continue to read, “ELCA.”  The answer is no. Lutheran will remain a part of our signage, title, theology and practice.
It is a big decision for Christ Lutheran and I welcome your interests, questions and concerns. We went through this very same healthy conflict with the Children’s Center, the capital campaigns, the Ministry Center, purchasing land, building the Worship Center and opening Christ South. This dialog is necessary because this is an engaged congregation that trusts its leaders and puts their faith in God, but rightfully does its due diligence.  And for that, I am thankful.
Peace,
Scott Signature rev.
Pastor Scott

One response to “Town Hall Meeting FAQ

  1. What a Blessing it is that there are people of God who are willing to take this “BOLD” step to assist a small, struggling congregation to whom they were just introduced! As Council President of Family of Faith Lutheran Church in Concord, NC, I thank each member of Christ Lutheran Churches for their prayerful consideration of this merger.
    May God’s peace be with each of you always…
    Margaret C. Mauney

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