The Elder board convened for its regular monthly meeting on January 20, welcoming four new members:

  • Ron Duitsman, Rolling Meadows Campus
  • Mike Lawson, Crystal Lake Campus
  • Brian Musso, Rolling Meadows Campus
  • Doug Dunham, Elgin Campus

These men each bring experienced leadership, godly character, and an obvious love for the Lord and our church. We are looking forward with great anticipation to their contributions to our board.

The Elders reviewed the approved 2015 church operating budget as presented by Elder members of the finance committee, who do the bulk of the work in this area. As reported to the congregation on a recent weekend, collections for last year were fractionally below budget; but spending was below collections and our church’s financial health remains strong. We remain on track to be debt free by 2020-2023, and as of this past December our debt had fallen below $50 million. We remain committed to ‘no new debt’ until that goal is accomplished. Our church remains compliant with all ECFA standards for good governance and has been re-accredited on that basis. A more detailed report of last year’s finances, including our annual audit, will be available in the coming weeks.

We continue to be encouraged by the gracious provision of our Lord, and are thankful for the faithful giving of our church.

After 26 years of ministry and many changes to our culture, a decision has been made to draft a new set of church by-laws, rather than try to edit the previous constitution written so long ago. We sought and reviewed advice from outside Christian legal counsel regarding needed protections in a variety of legal matters, such as security measures for all worshipers, the sanctity of marriage, and documentation of all we have done to strengthen accountability between board and senior staff. The Elders have convened a working group within the board to evaluate the many complexities of a new set of by-laws and bring a draft to our February 2015 meeting. We will keep the congregation informed of our progress in writing these new by-laws and will make them available to the membership for review and feedback prior to finalization.

The Elders remain highly encouraged by the teaching ministry and leadership of our Senior Pastor and staff. As per our policy, Pastor James’ annual performance review was presented to the Elder board and strongly affirmed his growth and effectiveness as our Senior Pastor. In fact, the consensus among those anonymously reviewed was that 2014 was his best year of leadership among us in recent memory. The Elders continue to affirm and commend to you the unique provision of our Lord in the gifting and humble servant leadership of our beloved pastor. We, like you, are thankful for the recent teaching series, Thinc Diphruntly, and are looking forward to the upcoming teaching series, The 10 Commandments of Marriage.

We are anticipating a great year of ministry in 2015. Please join us in continuing to pray for our pastors and staff as they minister.

—Randy Williams and Steve Huston, on behalf of the entire Elder board of Harvest Bible Chapel