Dear Church family,
As many of you probably know the Long Range Planning Committee has been meeting regarding the needs of this Church for the last three years. The original committee is comprised of 7 members, Larry Jones, Tim Cartright, Donna Hacket, Mari Egloff, Ray Patnode, Don Dylag, and Josh Bailey. Over the last year Pastor Keith and Bruce Hackett have joined us to not only streamline the communication between our committee and the elders , but also to make sure that our vision for North Darien Bible Church continues to line up with that of the elders. As a committee, we believe that we have come to a point where we can confidently share where we feel the Lord is leading this body of believers. We are excited to begin laying the groundwork to better fulfill our mission of pointing people to Jesus and bringing Jesus to people.
When we initially began meeting we enlisted the help of Eric Payer with M3 Development who was working on the Grace Baptist Church project at the time. After many hours of working with Eric, it is plain to see that he has a heart for God, and though he makes his living overseeing church building projects, he’s truly passionate about seeing churches grow. He genuinely cares about this body of believers and wants to see people come to Christ through the work of this Church. We began to extensively look at our existing facility and its ability to meet the needs of our ministries. It soon became apparent to all of us that our existing facility in its current state actually hindered ministries, and even though it feels like home to us, the building can be both uninviting and confusing to guests, family and friends. We then began to look at our Church both structurally and cosmetically to evaluate exactly what we have, as well as what needs to be done. We began to compile data and put rough figures together on the projects that would need to done in order to fix existing problems and also what would be needed to improve our church’s ability to minister to people. Because of the buildings age, construction style, and slowly deteriorating condition, the figures began to add up in a hurry. At this point, it became evident that we needed to look at all possible options before making any decisions.
Over the next couple years, and many meetings, we continued to pray collectively and individually that God would make His will for this Church abundantly clear. We literally discussed everything from closing our doors, to holding church in a tent while we demolished and rebuilt. We looked at the pros and cons of doing everything ourselves versus hiring professional help. We researched and discussed loans, debt, and stewardship campaign options. Not knowing exactly what we were going to do, but knowing something had to be done, we felt it was wise to allow our lease on the barn to expire in order to begin saving money. The youth group and AWANA leaders have graciously made this building and the shared spaces work while we continue to determine our best course of action. We met with other pastors and building and planning committee members, toured both new and remodeled churches and conducted many phone interviews. We listened to exciting success stories of building projects that resulted in growing congregations, new ministries, and spiritual growth throughout the congregation. We also found and spoke with people involved in projects resulting in failure or that are struggling to finish what they set out to do. It is almost impossible to convey all the information that was gathered, prayed about, disagreed on, discussed and resolved in this short letter.
Now here is the exciting part. We are all in agreement that God desires North Darien Bible Church to grow and become a dynamic church that exists to fulfill our mission statement. We exist to point people to Jesus and bring Jesus to people. There are still so many decisions to be made and much to do, but we think now is the right time to begin laying out our vision so that we can collectively and individually pray about what part we will play. We are currently looking to build a new sanctuary which will allow our existing building to become a fulltime youth facility and fellowship space. After much discussion, we feel the scope and magnitude of a building project is more than we have the expertise to handle on our own so we have committed to Eric Payer of M3 Development as project manager. We are now in the infancy stages of building layout and design. The first stage of the total project will be the sanctuary, pastor’s office, nursery, foyer, and bathrooms. We foresee the new building being connected to our existing church in order to continue to utilize existing classroom space. While this is happening, we will begin organizing a stewardship campaign. We will be hiring Chris Stovall at Generis to come along side us and help with this process. His role will be to help us set realistic goals and bring a level expertise in giving that we believe will be critical as we move forward. Most importantly he will work with pastor and leadership to help us all better understand and implement giving practices that will honor God and the work He wants us to do. One thing we saw time and time again in the feedback we received from successful building projects was that increased giving during a successful stewardship campaign rarely goes away. People become passionate about giving back to God when they see it begin to do tangible good works. Ministries are more effective, communities are better reached, and congregations begin to truly find joy in giving.
At this time we just ask that everyone begin to commit some time to prayer about this new and exciting step in the life or our church. We realize that we have had the opportunity to spend the last few years thinking about this and making these decisions and everyone probably has questions, and is feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiousness. We believe that the Lord will continue to orchestrate the work He wants to see done. Throughout this process we’ve dealt with disagreements, opposing views, delays and frustrations, but not surprisingly through discussion, and time spent in prayer the Lord has us all in agreement and confident that we are on track to see good works done. We would ask that you pray specifically for us and church leadership; that we would use discernment in all of our decisions, and that God would continue to clearly lay out the path we should be taking. As the next few months go by we will begin to know more and more about the things to come and soon enough we will begin to have real timeframes, and illustrations of what this will all look like. We will present specifics and more detailed thoughts as this process unfolds. Please don’t hesitate to talk with us, ask questions, or bring us any concerns you may have.
Before ending our last meeting in prayer Pastor Keith may have simply stated it best
“The Lord’s work is important. . . So let’s get to it.”
-Your Long Range Planning Committee