Congregational Meeting

July 12, 2020

The congregational meeting will happen during the worship service. In order to vote, you must be a member of NSF, and attend the meeting in person. 

In this meeting we will:

Vote on Releasing Robby as Senior Pastor of NSF

Discuss the Pulpit Committee Nomination Process

Hear the 2020-2021 Budget

Releasing Robby

The vote to release Robby is the final step that NSF will play in Robby’s obedience to a call to a new pastorate.¬†Voting “yes” to releasing him means that you trust that Robby is right in believing that he is being called to serve Jesus in a new way.¬†It is also an act of faith in God’s sure and good provisions to NSF, in that we are releasing our beloved senior pastor without knowing who will fill his shoes.¬†We understand that the timing of this change is potentially particularly hard on many of you.¬†It is hard on us as well.¬†If you feel inclined to vote “no,” or if you have particular concerns, please reach out to us by text before the meeting (423-521-2224) and we would be happy to respond.

Pulpit Committee

The PCA’s established process of calling a Senior Pastor (while it can get very complicated) breaks down into¬†just 2 major steps:
 
  1. Forming the Pulpit Committee
  2. Voting on the Committee’s Candidate
 
1. FORMING THE PULPIT COMMITTEE
 
A. Nominating Members for the Committee (We are here).
 
The Session (your elders) encourages all voting members of NSF to prayerfully consider who they might nominate to serve on this committee. The Session would like the committee to consist of men and women, young and old, with creative thinkers that have the time required to serve the body well.  
 
The period for nominations will open this Sunday during the congregational meetings and will close 2 weeks later. Members may submit their nominations online (the same as you are familiar with for nominating officers). If you prefer to mail a nomination, you may do that as well (send C/O The Session, 118 Woodland Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37405). 
 
The work of the committee will include:
  • attending many meetings with the committee members and with others,¬†
  • discussing philosophy, parameters, desires, and rules of the search,¬†
  • reading applications, listening to sermons, meeting with candidates,¬†
  • communicating with the rest of the body,¬†
  • presenting a candidate for a vote, and¬†
  • communicating with all other candidates that were not selected.
 
B. Narrowing the Committee Nominations
 
After all nominations have been contacted and interviewed to determine their level of interest and time available, the Session will narrow the nominations to 9 members. This limit of 9 comes from the collected wisdom of many other churches who have performed their own searches. The Session has already decided that 2 of those members will be elders and that 1 will be a deacon. The desire of the Session here is to make sure that some of the people on the committee have the history and vision of NSF in mind as they navigate the search process, not to control the outcome.  The process of narrowing the candidates may take several months, depending on the number of candidates nominated.
 
C. Voting on the Pulpit Committee
 
When we have a panel of 9 members who are willing and able to serve, we will hold another congregational meeting to vote on that panel of nominees. They will be considered as a whole panel, not individually.
 
D. How the Committee will Proceed
 
After being elected to serve on the Pulpit Committee, they will begin their work by electing a chairperson and a clerk from their number. Then, they will be trained on the full process of running the search. After being elected and trained, the Pulpit Committee can and should function independent of all outside influence. They may ask for information from the congregation by way of a survey or meeting. But, the work of the Pulpit Committee is highly confidential. They may consider any minister in the PCA, or even several other denominations with which we have stated fellowship. That minister may be newly licensed to preach, may be currently serving as a pastor (assistant, associate, solo, or senior), or may be currently without a call.
 
2. VOTING ON THE COMMITTEE’S CANDIDATE
 
When their full work is done, they will present a candidate of their choosing to the congregation for a vote. The congregation will have a chance to ask them questions. Then, we will vote. If the candidate is coming from another church, that church must release him. If the candidate is coming from another Presbytery (outside Chattanooga or Knoxville), the process will require a few more steps.

2020-2021 Budget

Last Year

Thank you to all who have continued to give to NSF to support her worship and work with a portion of the resources that God has placed in your stewardship. As we conclude this financial year (August 2019 – July 2020), we anticipate that we will have adequate income to match the actual expenses. In addition to your regular tithes, you also gave $219k towards reducing our debt on our new buildings on Frazier.

Next Year

As we look to the 2020-2021 budget year, we must acknowledge that the landscape has changed substantially, with some effects that we cannot accurately predict. COVID-19 has already affected giving and our attendance patterns have changed quite a bit. A change like Robby’s departure often comes with a change in giving as well. On top of that, one of our pastors, Luke Banner, is planting a new church, with some of our membership and tithe going towards that budget. So, we have reason to believe that the giving next year may be less than this past year.

On the other hand, some expenses will also go down next year. Robby’s salary and expense account will not be part of the budget next year. Some of our regular activities, such as nursery, are on a break until we feel they are safe to resume. We will spend less on some food and supplies as well. So, expected income and expected costs are down next year.

Final Budget

Last year’s budget was $1,490,000. The Finance Committee (appointed by the Session) met to factor in all of the changes, including increased missional giving, more in the budget for the Deacons Mercy Fund, and some funds put aside for building improvement and repair. The Session met and approved the $1,400,000 budget that the Finance Committee recommended. It is before you now as information.

Budget Breakdown

As is typical for a church our size (that owns most of its property and buildings), personnel costs account for about 65% of the budget. The remainder of the budget is summarized as follows in the diagram.

 

Outlook

This target budget allows us to continue on with our worship and work without impediment. As in former years, we will continually monitor our income and expenses and do a full re-evaluation in January. We do have some saved cash reserves of approximately $300,000 that we could draw from if we fail to tithe to the target amount. But, we also have some expenses in mind that are not formally part of the budget if we do tithe to that target (including paying down building debt, renovating part of the Frazier Avenue properties, and investing more in our presbytery’s church plants).