3-5 Year Tactical Plan

“You do not know what tomorrow will bring . . . You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'”

James 4:14-15 (ESV)

Note: In short, the information contained in this video and expressed below specifically relates to how we best handle our resources throughout various phases of numeric growth. What’s shared here is by no means final. Rather, it simply represents what makes the most sense to our leadership at this time in our church. We welcome your input and feedback.

goal

  • The first half of this statement highlights the glorious tension between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility as we journey along.
    • We don’t presume to know what God’s doing or what He will do. We want to trust and joyfully embrace His plan, whatever that is.
    • However, we also want to be good stewards and prepare for whatever our powerful God might do.
      • We all need to get out of the way – “God, I don’t want to be an obstacle.”
      • We all need to get in the way – “God, I want to be used by you and be a part of what you’re doing.”
  • The second half of this statement keeps us pointed north so that we don’t lose our way.
    • Remember, our goal is not growing for growth’s sake, making a name for ourselves, getting ourselves on the map, or ironically, even keeping our church small and comfortable, etc. As soon as we settle for anything like that, we’ve completely lost our way and asked God to take His hand of power and blessing off our ministry. This is about Jesus and the gospel, not us. 
    • Our goal is fulfilling the Great Commission for the glory of God. That means that the driving question behind every decision that we make in this regard must be this: What’s going to help us best fulfill the Great Commission at this particular time in our church? 

aSSUMPTIONS

  • It’s exciting to see our church grow! That’s a great joy and privilege.
  • It’s sobering to see our church grow! That’s a great responsibility. 
  • Please understand that we’re not trying to be presumptuous. We’re just trying to exercise our God-given responsibility to wisely plan ahead with God in view.
  • Here’s some context to give you a fuller picture.
    • Three years ago we had approximately 60 regular attenders.  
    • Currently, we have approximately 120 regular attenders . . . we think. We’re not actually sure.
      • The nature of the pandemic has made this number unusually hard to determine.
      • In recent months we’ve seen many new people attend our church. Time will tell who intends to stay long term.
      • There’s a good chance 120 is conservative and the real number is closer to 130+.
    • Last Year’s Assumption (going into 2020): “Modest estimation of annualized growth at 8%-10% resulting in 132-144 people by year 5 (2025).”
    • Regardless of what the actual number is, it seems to be trending up, and we want to steward that well.
  • If growth continues, space will eventually become a major factor. In some ways, we’re already experiencing challenges related to nursery and children’s space.
  • Should we reach or exceed the comfortable carrying capacity of the facility, we’re going to have some tough decisions to make down the road.
    • Do we go to multiple services?
    • Do we look for a new space to rent? If so, could we find something in Beaumont that would work well?
    • Do we plant another church?
  • As a general and pragmatic rule of thumb, one full-time pastor can effectively pastor about 100 people. 
  • Of course these limits can be stretched, and sometimes there’s not much choice, but typically this comes at a cost to both the people and the pastor.
  • What could happen when you stretch the ratio too far? It might be helpful to think of the potential cost along the lines of a pastor’s job description. Biblically, a pastor is . . .
    • A preacher/teacher
      • The preaching will always get done, because it’s public, pressing, and urgent. 
      • However, if there’s not enough time to adequately prepare, the quality might start to suffer, and people might start to feel malnourished. 
      • Who pays the price? The people. 
    • An administrator/leader
      • Good leadership and administration take “think time.” When leaders get so busy that they’re constantly running from one thing to the next, one of the things that gets neglected is time for reflection, evaluation, intentional planning, needed conversations, problem solving, mobilization of people for ministry, etc. Breakdowns in these areas tend to put great strain on the unity of the body. 
      • There’s a huge price to pay here. Sometimes it’s immediate and glaring, but it’s often delayed. (Like a slow water leak into your home that you don’t notice for years.)
      • Who pays the price? The people.
    • A shepherd/example
      • Shepherding takes TIME. Though the benefits are hard to quantify and often unknown, time invested in shepherding is valuable and essential. We live in a sin-cursed world, which means our lives are messy and complicated. They’re full of joys, sorrows, challenges, victories, and defeats. In every church there will be people who don’t really want to be shepherded, but most people do, and they value access to their pastor(s). We don’t want to rob people of that. 
      • As examples, pastors are to meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, one of which is managing his own home well.
        • Unfortunately, this is where pastors can really drop the ball, because of pride or an inability to say, “No.”
        • When a businessman overworks to the neglect of his wife and kids, he’s not disqualified from his job as a businessman.
        • When a pastor consistently overworks to the neglect of his wife and kids, he may disqualify himself from his role as a pastor. 
      • Who pays the price? Everyone. The people. The pastor’s family, and the pastor himself.
  • These factors and others need consideration if God continues to bless us with growth.
  • Assuming this is the case, we see a major decision on the horizon. We either . . .
    • Prioritize making a second pastoral hire as the first matter of importance. Or, 
    • Prioritize building and land (space) as the first matter of importance.
    • Both seem important, and to some to degree can be pursued simultaneously, but we’re probably going to have to pick which comes first. 
  • As you can imagine, there are pros and cons with either decision. 
  • Many pastors and churches would absolutely love to have the “problems” we have. They would gladly trade their paid building and hiring ability for a crammed rental situation, brimming with youth and life. God has been so good to us!
  • God also owns the cattle on a thousands hills. If God orders something at BBC, whether it be another pastor, building and land, or both, He’s going to pay for it. 
  • Let’s do our part, and trust God to do His.

PRIORITIES

Some Further Explanation:

  • Here are the numbers in the context of our entire church budget for 2021. . .
    • Current Monthly Giving (2020): $12,000
    • 80% Funded Monthly Giving: $17,000
  • We would start seriously looking and be willing to hire at 80% funded.
    • Pastoral searches typically take months, but not always.
    • If we start looking at 80% funded (17K), we might be fully funded by the time we actually hired someone.
    • If we found the right person quickly, we would make up the additional difference (20%) through savings.
  • If 120+ regular attenders give $12,000 per month, it would take 170+ regular attenders to get to $17,000 per month.
    • By that point the 1 to 100 pastor/people ratio has been stretched to 1 to 170.
    • That’s a less than ideal ratio, and if we prioritize a building before a second hire, the ratio only increases and is exacerbated by the strain of a building project.
    • In a nutshell, these numbers capture the rationale for our priorities better than almost anything else.
  • Interesting Fact: While the average monthly giving for 2020 has been $12,000, the average monthly giving for the last 6 months has been $14,800. If this number better reflects our monthly average, then the previous bullet point could be adjusted accordingly. 

Additional Factors Worth Considering:

  • Our Savings Account:
    • The statement above relates primarily to our monthly cashflow priorities, not our savings.
    • Every month between now and making a second hire, we’re surplussing money, and adding to what’s already sitting in the bank.
    • The following sequence could have much to commend it.
      • 1 – Consider buying land if the right property becomes available (paid in full – no debt).
        • Debt and taxes would eat cash flow at a critical time.
        • Debt on land doesn’t answer a staffing concern or the space concern. 
        • If we were to buy land, we would still want to maintain a significant cash reserve. 
      • 2 – Make a second pastoral hire.
      • 3 – Start building (?)
      • 4 – Strive to protect the ability to make a third hire around the 300 regular attenders mark (?)
    • Observation: The potential wisdom of a sequence like this is that it chooses to stretch the pastor/people ratio at a more strategic time (after the 2nd hire).
      • It recognizes the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that “two are better than one.”
      • To use an analogy, if one horse can pull a cart weighing 6,000 lbs., two horses should be able to pull 12,000 lbs., right? If those horses are working together, they can actually pull 18,000 lbs. – three times the load one horse working alone can pull. This analogy isn’t perfect, but it’s helpful when thinking about staffing ratios.
    • BTW – We are keeping a lookout for building/land, and have had some interesting potentials come our way in recent weeks. We’ll keep you posted if there are any developments to share. 
  • Unique Workings of God:
    • None of us know what tomorrow will bring. One of the most exciting things for us as believers is seeing how God unfolds tomorrow.
    • God can always do something unique and surprising that none of us ever saw coming. It could be drastically different than all of this.
      • He may want to shift our priorities.
      • He may want to shift our plans and schedules.
      • He knows what we need and when we need it even more than we do. 
  • We’re planning our first offering on Easter Weekend 2021.
  • We would also like to more clearly delineate a building/land fund in our budget, as well as in our giving options. 

key risks & mitigation against them

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Intentional planning approach
  • Pray for the right pastors (staff and non-staff) and deacons at the right time in God’s plan.

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Save to offset future borrowing needs.
  • Talk with the church about priorities.

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Make disciples and preach the whole Word of God.
  • Teach and preach regarding worship and obedience through giving.
  • Make the church aware of what our needs and desires are. 

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Continue to build relationships, and take good care of the facility.

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Look to hire the right pastor when we are consistently achieving 80% of necessary salary.
  • Pray for the right person, and network with likeminded churches and organizations.

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Talk to the church about priorities at least yearly, and do forward planning.
  • Encourage people to keep asking the question, “What’s going to help us best fulfill the Great Commission at this particular time in our church?” 

Mitigation to Manage Risks:

  • Remain vigilant regarding opportunities and pray about our long-term needs.

what you can do

Would you commit to praying for . . . 

  • The provision of church finances.
  • The provision of a 2nd pastor.
  • The provision of space/building.

We’re planning to have some churchwide prayer meetings about these items in 2021 and hope you’ll join us!

  • When you break the numbers down, we would need annual giving of $205,000 to reach the hiring point for a second pastor.
    • Of our 120 regular attenders, approximately 65 of those are 18 or older. 
    • If you take $205,000 divided by 65 adult units represented, it comes out to about $3,200.
  • Would you take the next few weeks to pray about how many of those $3,200 giving units God would have you cover?
    • Some won’t be able to give $3,200 per adult in their family or anything close to it.
    • Others will have the means to give far and beyond that, perhaps covering 5 or 6 units, or more.
    • The dollar amount that each person gives really isn’t the issue, and we’re not here to put that kind of pressure on people. God wants each person to give “in keeping with his income” (1 Cor. 16:2). In the Bible, the widow gave her mites to the Lord, and the wise men brought costly gifts. Both were acts of extravagant worship to the King. 
    • We’re not going to put a thermometer up on the stage or ask you to fill out a “pledge” card. Your giving is between you and the Lord. We simply want to make you aware of a need, and ask you to pray about it.
  • In 2017 our congregation of 60 people gave $125,000.
  • In 2020 our congregation of 100-120 people gave $145,000
  • We believe that much like our community, our church has significant financial means, and that if God gives our people a heart to give, we could easily have more than enough funds to take next steps. 

As we go into 2021, would you pray about the extent to which God would have you financially support BBC?