As you know, in the spring we began planning a significant staff restructuring project to reduce our budget by a million dollars this year. Staffing changes were made out of a commitment to steward our resources and better align ministry operations. The first step of this process was shared earlier in the year at the Summer Congregational Meeting and the August Fireside Chat. The next step in our restructuring process is to blend the Adult and Family Ministries into a new “Congregational Life Ministry Division” by March 31, 2023. Combining these two ministry areas will bring a holistically integrated approach to our discipleship ministries from the youngest to the oldest in our church family. The ministry division will be led by a new associate pastor position. I have decided to lean on a search process to identify the best person to serve in this critical ministry role. The Ministry Council will be forming a Pastoral Candidate Selection Committee to find the individual that will be presented to the Congregation for the role of Associate Pastor of Congregational Life.

While the search begins, Associate Pastor of Family Ministries, Chuck Hunt, and Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries, Jeanine Smith, will continue to lead their ministry areas toward a future consolidation in March of next year. We are so grateful for their faithful leadership that has provided stability to ministry while difficult decisions were made through a pandemic and a senior pastor transition. Our Personnel Committee will be walking alongside each to discern what the timeline of transition will look like for them in this next phase of their ministry.

Because of the reimagined ministry structure, a discernment process has led the Director of High School Ministries, Perry Hawkins, and the Pastor of Small Groups, Annie Neufeld, to end their season of ministry at Lake Avenue Church. Perry’s last Sunday will be on December 11, and Annie’s will be on December 18. Both have determined with leadership that the next season of ministry would not fit well with their giftings and life stage. This hits home for me personally, as they both have played a significant role in the spiritual formation of our daughters. Countless lives have been relationally pastored over their last 14 years of ministry, and we are immensely grateful for their contribution to our church family. We are diligently working toward filling the vacancies created by these staff transitions. Future updates will be shared as restructuring details are confirmed.

Pray for the church staff in this season of transition. Many roles are evolving, and each staff member is adapting to the impact of this year’s strategic reorganization. Despite the difficult decisions that have been made, our team has been faithful in adjusting to new ways of doing ministry and serving our community. I am grateful for their resiliency and unwavering commitment to their calling.

While change is difficult, I believe this restructuring will position the church for the future. I will dedicate the November Fireside Chat (Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6:30 pm) to answer any questions or concerns you may have on this next step of the strategic reorganization. In the meantime, I covet your partnership with our staff and elected leaders in guiding our church community to a new and adventurous season of ministry to our community and beyond.

Mathew, Senior Pastor