Highlights and Updates Following Our Elder Meeting, September 17, 2013
- We are excited to report that the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) President and Senior Vice President visited our church on September 10-11, 2013. The purpose of their visit was to conduct a thorough review of all Harvest Bible Chapel financial records, compensation practices and board governance. Audits were reviewed back to 2010 and the church was found to be in full compliance with all ECFA standards. This week their board met and voted unanimously to grant full ECFA accreditation to Harvest Bible Chapel. This third-party accreditation establishes with finality the immense integrity undergirding all financial matters at Harvest Bible Chapel. Take a moment to read the press release they issued nationally about our church.
- Harvest Bible Chapel is changing and growing in some needed and exciting ways. Congregational feed back about the need for greater transparency led first to monthly Elder updates live in weekend services or online. Then, this month, we conducted a member meeting on each of our seven campuses with extended prayer and then time for direct questions from the congregation to Pastor James and members of the Elder Board. These member meetings will continue, one per month, through the spring. And, as promised in those meetings, we have included a more understandable summary of the 2012 audit here, a summary of 5G spending to date here, and a summary of the debt repayment schedule.
Two weeks ago, for only the third time in our churches history and because it involved church leaders, (1 Timothy 5:20) a matter of church discipline was made public in our weekend services. Now that the church as a whole has been informed, the Elders want to assure the congregation of our prayerful hope for the restoration of these brothers. Our goal and great longing is not to hurt these men or portray that we have handled everything perfectly, rather only to see them submit to the Elder request that they stop sowing discord in the church. Please pray that their fellowship with our church family can be restored. Efforts are ongoing. “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1-2).
- In our March Elder retreat with Gene Getz, we reviewed the entire New Testament teaching on Eldership with great blessing. To serve our growing church family more effectively, since 2010 a larger board has been providing increased congregational care and a broader acumen for decision making. Since the retreat and in response to Dr. Getz’s recommendation we became convinced that a smaller team within the Elder board was the most effective way to support and hold our Senior Staff accountable. In our September meeting the entire board approved the change to our structure in concept and we now appeal to our congregation regarding the needed change to our constitution. We are asking the membership of Harvest to give feedback in writing to the proposed constitutional change during the month of October. As per the constitution, a mailing to the church membership early in October will provide opportunity for feedback which the Elders will carefully consider, reporting on a final decision about this change in the November Elder Update.We propose replacing the first sentence under Church Government Structure in the constitution. The sentence currently states; “All elders will have equal authority and responsibility.” In its place would be the sentence; “All Elders have equal responsibility but the Elder Leadership team, composed of no fewer than five non vocational Elders, chosen by the entire Elder board, has final authority in all matters relating to the church including compensation, buying or selling property and accountability of Senior Staff.”
- After many months of reflection upon important lessons the Elders have learned through the years, we approved and adopted a Covenant of Elder Conduct. The outcome of this document is a mutual pledge to make choices individually that best advantage the work of Christ at Harvest Bible Chapel.
- Photos taken during our 25th Anniversary Celebration are now available online! We want to thank the many, many teams that worked to make this event so gloriously grateful to Jesus Christ for His work in and through our church.
The Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel