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2019 Annual Meeting Summary
The October 27, 2019 Annual Meeting was called to order by Pastor Bill Bertsche as he read from I Corinthians 15:58 and Kevin Baloue followed with prayer.
Minutes: The congregation was shown a video summary of the clerk reports from both the annual and semi-annual meetings. The church has two thousand one hundred twenty-eight (2,128) members and eighty-four (84) associate members; during the past year, the church welcomed eighty-seven (87) new members.
Voting Matters: After Pastor Bertsche confirmed a voting quorum, ballots were distributed for election of church officers and Deaconesses. As in past years, photos of the nominees were displayed on the Sanctuary’s video screens. When the votes were counted, three hundred forty-nine (349) of the ballots were cast for the unanimous slate of candidates along with fifty-two (52) exception votes.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Jonathan Hauser prefaced his report by thanking the Lord for His faithfulness to The Moody Church during the last fiscal year. Giving in fiscal year 2019 fell short of budget by approximately $322,000 while expenses were under budget by approximately $237,000. Complete details of the Treasurer’s Report can be found on pages 16–20 of the printed 2019 annual report.
Pastoral Search Update: Berv Peterson introduced Search Committee member Les Carter, who offered an extensive overview of the current state of the pastoral search process. The Search Committee is now working with the Vanderbloemen search firm. Vanderbloemen has worked hard to understand our church’s unique characteristics and has pledged to “shake every tree and use every megaphone” to help find God’s man for the next Senior Pastor of The Moody Church. Vanderbloemen emphasized its commitment to pray for our church throughout this process.
Les Carter discussed the specific criteria being used to evaluate candidates, the stages of the search process, and a projected timeline for Vanderbloemen to present a short list of candidates to the Search Committee, likely at their November 6 meeting.
The Search Committee will ultimately recommend one final candidate to the Elders. The Elders will then vote; if the candidate gets an affirmative vote of at least 75%, he will be presented to the Leadership Council, which also must affirm the candidate with at least 75% of the vote. Once this voting is completed, the congregation at large will be given a minimum two weeks’ notice that the candidate will preach on a Sunday morning. The congregation will be able to engage in a question-and-answer session with him after the sermon and then cast their votes. In accordance with the church’s constitution, the congregation must deliver an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds in order for the candidate to be named as the next pastor.
Les opened up the floor for questions and approximately fifteen members made comments or asked questions about process, time frames, prayer commitments, etc. Les reminded everyone that the Elders and Search Committee members are more than eager to meet with anyone for more discussion, and that Search Committee members will be visiting the Communities and holding question and answer sessions after the morning service to promote more discussion. He also reminded everyone to see the Committee’s blog for updates and to use its contact form to ask questions and continue the dialog.
Ministry Updates: Pastor Bertsche was very excited to announce that on October 28, 2019, the Running to Win radio program will launch in Arabic to reach people in countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
He also reported that the upcoming Thanksgiving Offering will be used to replace the old wooden LaSalle Street doors with modern glass doors. The intent is to create the same welcoming ambience that was achieved by replacing the doors on the Clark Street side. As is customary, ten percent of all funds collected in the Thanksgiving Offering are designated for global outreach.
In another change designed to promote a warm, welcoming atmosphere, a new Connection Center will be built in the space currently occupied by the Media Center.
Closing Remarks: After Pastor Bertsche confirmed that there was no new business that needed to be brought forward from the floor, Scott Pratt closed the meeting at approximately 1:00pm with prayer.
2019 Semi-Annual Meeting: Summary
Pastor Bill Bertsche opened the meeting at 11:30 am by reading 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, and followed that reading with prayer.
The members present were then counted. The 301 members present were more than sufficient for a quorum (226 being required).
Nominating Committee: The following names were offered to fill the nominating committee for the coming year:
- Leah Ingram
- Steve Reed
- Bob Hamilton (note: nominated himself)
- Jodie Sawyer
- Daniel Boulos
All of the above were present and indicated they were willing to serve. The members present approved this list.
Financial Operations Report: Jonathan Hauser gave the Financial Operations Report, noting the revenue and expense numbers for the first six months of the fiscal year. Giving was short of budget by $111,000, though much of that can be explained by a slight decline in attendance (61 fewer per Sunday as compared to last year). Expenses were $175,000 under budget. Expenses exceeded income by $184,000, but according to the budget, the expectation was that expenses would exceed income by $255,000 at this point in the year.
Pastoral Search Committee Update: Greg Thornton gave an update on the pastoral search process, beginning with an overview of the timeline: Pastor Lutzer announced his transition to emeritus status in January of 2015 and preached his last sermon in May of 2016. In the spring of 2017, two potential final candidates were presented to and passed on by the Elders. In October of 2017, a new shared leadership model was approved as an option and the Pastoral Search Committee (“PSC”) was tasked with finding a lead teaching pastor. In January 2019, the search for a Senior Pastor resumed.
The PSC is currently reviewing and considering a few remaining potential candidates presented by Rob Lauer and the Agora search firm. If the PSC does not move forward with any of those candidates, each member of the PSC will be given the choice to step down or continue serving. Additionally, the Elders will interview new search firms with the intent of replacing Agora.
Greg highlighted the blog and the submission form on The Moody Church website where people can find more information about the process, ask questions, and submit names for consideration. Greg closed by noting the Committee’s continued focus on Psalm 32:8.
2018 Annual Meeting: Summary
The October 28, 2018 TMC Annual Meeting was called to order by Senior Pastor Bill Bertsche as he read from Psalm 136; Elder Phil Zahn followed with prayer.
Minutes: A video presentation was shown containing the Clerk’s reports of both the annual and semi-annual meeting minutes. The church has 2,233 current members; during the past year, the church recorded 65 new members, 83 associate members, and 28 baby dedications
Voting Matters: Pastor Bertsche confirmed that a voting quorum was present with 495 members counted. Paper ballots were distributed for election of church officers. Photos of candidates for various leadership roles were displayed on the Sanctuary’s video screens. When the votes were counted, 444 of the ballots were cast for the unanimous slate of candidates.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Jonathan Hauser reported that fiscal year 2018 giving was $6,235,465, which was short of budget by approximately $535,000. Expenses were under budget by approximately $450,000. The spending breakdown was 36% for ministry, 31% for facilities, 21% for administration, and 12% for missionary support. Complete financial details can be found on pages 16-18 of the printed 2018 Annual Report.
Pastor Bertsche returned to the platform and introduced a video about last year’s TLC on the CLC project. He said that the upcoming Thanksgiving offering will be used for facilities upkeep of the Sanctuary and legacy building, which logically follows last year’s refresh of the Christian Life Center and emphasizes Moody’s mission of warmth and witness.
Pastoral Search Discussion: Turning to the pastoral search subject and guided by a series of overhead slides, Pastor Bertsche summarized the committee’s recent work but said that no candidate would be presented at this meeting. Citing Isaiah 40:31 as an encouragement to wait on the Lord’s timing, he gave a chronological outline of how the process and decision-making of the Elders and Search Committee evolved over time. He reviewed the shared leadership model as well as formal and informal preaching arrangements that would have included himself, Michael Best, and others. In early October, the Elders proposed that Bill Bertsche be the senior pastor and preach approximately three Sundays per month. The church constitution requires that 75% of the Leadership Council affirm the proposal but only 64% voted favorably.
Because the proposal did not garner enough votes to pass, the Elders asked Leadership Council members to take an anonymous online survey so that they can ascertain future direction. In the meantime, the Sunday preaching schedule for the next four months has already been finalized, so the congregation can look forward to upcoming teaching on Acts, Christmas season messages, and a seven week “Explore God” series during the first two months of 2019.
Speaking candidly about his own emotions during the search process, Pastor Bertsche said that, despite some feelings of disappointment, he and his wife continue to stay focused on the Lord and rest in His sovereignty. He reminded everyone to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus so that the devil does not have an opportunity to divide us as a church.
Michael Best came to the platform and shared that, while he and his wife have found the last year both exciting and tiring, he recently has been focusing on Joseph’s story in Genesis as it emphasized the perfect nature of God’s purpose as well as His timing. He encouraged everyone to continue to trust the Lord completely because He has been faithful to bless The Moody Church since its founding in 1864.
Miscellaneous: The floor was opened for comments; approximately ten people came forward to comment and ask questions about the pastoral search process, missionary support, future vision, and other matters.
Closing Remarks: Pastor Bertsche exhorted the church members to remain encouraged and united, then closed the meeting at 12:30pm with prayer.