Elder Update May 2016

In this update, we’re sharing a little more detail to give our church family a sense of what happens in our Elder Board meetings.

On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the entire Elder board (with three absent) met with our Executive Staff leadership. The meeting was held on the Rolling Meadows Campus, from 7:00 p.m. until just before 10:00 p.m. 

  • Randy Williams, Executive Committee Chairman, reported on a good Executive Committee meeting. He stated that Pastor James was modeling personal disclosure and accountability during their meetings. Plans were finalized to present the Elder committee structure to the full Elder board.
  • A lengthy discussion, with prayer, was held regarding the moral failure of our youth pastor in Crystal Lake. We reviewed with appreciation the quick actions of our executive staff, who informed the executive committee and worked in tandem to terminate his employment, place his church membership under discipline, and begin efforts to ensure his full repentance and ultimate restoration to his family and church family. We ask the entire body to cover this matter in faithful prayer. 
  • Executive Senior Pastor Scott Milholland led the board through a variety of encouraging reports relative to ministry initiatives, including: 
  • The new Aurora Campus and almost $900k of over-and-above giving, pledged by many Aurora Harvest Bible Chapel members who believe strongly in this opportunity. 
  • The addition of new administrators for Harvest Christian Academy, which is ahead of last year’s enrollment at this time and is seeing a third straight year of improvement in enrollment retention from the prior year.
  • A biblical counseling training event will take place at the Aurora Studio on June 5-7, with counseling leaders from around the world, including David Powlison, Paul Tripp, Steve Viars, and Dr. Higbee.
  • Walk in the Word is seeing wonderful growth in the support of the ministry, to where they are able to make a $100k “first fruits” gift back to the church in June, which will go directly toward mortgage reduction. 
  • Church Treasurer Jeff Smith gave a full financial report to the board, indicating that giving is on projection year-todate, and that both income and attendance are well ahead of this time last year. Spending controls are in place and current conformity to approved budget is not a concern of the finance committee. Bill Sperling gave a supplemental report on the glowing terms with which our church’s auditor described our completed and clean annual audit (available here). 
  • Elder Board Chairman Steve Huston reported on the new Elder board committee structure. Elders will begin meeting in the various sub-committees: finance team, administration team, ministry team. Meetings will shift by end of summer to alternating month-by-month between committee meetings and full board meetings. The intent is to enable more Elders to be directly involved in applying their strengths to the varied needs of church oversight.
  • Pastor James updated the board on his thankfulness for all the good things happening in church ministry this time of year and requested prayer for personal renewal during July, following the Act Like Men Palooza.
  • Several times during the meeting the board stopped to petition or praise the Lord relative to the matters being discussed. 
  • As the final agenda item, Dr. Higbee affirmed the breadth of participation and mutual hearing, as well as the focus on prayer during the meeting.
  • As the meeting ended, the Elders gathered around one of the men specifically, anointing him with oil at his request and praying for a needed healing in his body.
  • In our last two meetings we were briefed by Kent Shaw and pastor Rick about a relational conflict that led the Elders of HBC Orlando to separate from their Senior Pastor Scott Pierre.  The Elders of HBCO are men unknown to HBF and they revealed none of their concerns when Pastor James met with them in January 2016.  HBF found them initially circumspect but in the end unwilling to own their own contribution to this relational breakdown.  For this reason and because Scott Pierre has been continuously humble and reflective on his own faults in the matter, HBF made the difficult decision (after many letters and conversations that yielded no progress) to stand with Scott in this needless parting and inform HBCO that they would not be part of HBF going forward. The Elders of this church are within the parameters of their own authority and accountability to the Lord and because we were unable to influence their thinking, felt it best to respect this churches self governance and release the responsibility for their churches future entirely to the Elders and congregation.

Reports from our Elder meetings will continue to be posted here periodically, and congregational meetings for direct interaction and feedback happen seasonally or as needed. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf as we seek to honor the Lord in this role of oversight.