April 10th, 2016  

MULTISITE COVENANT for

CHRIST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH  

Locations in EAST MOLINE and SILVIS  

Possible Effective start date July 1, 2016


On July 1, 2013, Silvis United Methodist Church and Christ United Methodist Church began an intentional exploration of becoming one church in two locations. Our desire is to see more people come to Jesus Christ as a result of the ministries in both locations. 


The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church offers several models for ministry configuration and it is the proposal of this plan to adopt that of “Blended Ministry,” which will bring both our administration and our ministry into greater union while maintaining the distinctive responsibilities and ministries of each location. 


The Book of Discipline 2012 (paragraph 206.3b3) reads: Blended Ministry—the merging of the organizations and memberships of churches spread throughout a defined geographical area into one congregation that intentionally develops two or more worship/program centers, and for which there is one charge conference and one set of committees and other groups, guided by a covenant and served by a staff and a director appointed or assigned to the parish by the bishop.” 


With paragraph 206.3b3 as our guide, we now seek to become one church in two locations. These worship/program centers will be called campuses. When it comes to effective ministry, we are convinced that we can be stronger together than we are separately. We share a common mission of reaching people for Jesus Christ in the Quad-Cities area and beyond. By combining the gifts that God has given to each congregation, we will be able to increase our effectiveness in reaching people for Jesus Christ, helping disciples draw closer to Jesus Christ and in glorifying Jesus Christ in all we do. 


As we pursue the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, we seek the most effective ways to serve East Moline and Silvis, as well as the Quad-Cities area and the world. We enter into this covenant agreement to form a new ministry under the prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit. 


Common language for church mergers has not yet emerged. So for clarity of this covenant, we are using the terms “lead” church to refer to Christ United Methodist Church and “joining” church to refer to Silvis United Methodist Church. Credit is given to Warren Bird and Jim Tomberlin, authors of Making Multisite Mergers Work: New Options for being One Church in Two Locations, for these terms. 


GUIDELINES OF THE COVENANT: 


As we move forward in the multi-site (blended) ministry, we seek to be in covenant with God and each other and to be faithful to the mission of the United Methodist Church: “The Mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, thus seeing the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in the world.” (Par. 121 of the 2012 Book of Discipline) 


 --We seek to respond to Jesus Christ’s Great Commandment and Great Commission. Matthew 22:37-39 and 28:19-20 provide us with the biblical basis for our mission. Matthew 22:37-39 NIV--Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 28:19-20 NIV-- Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 


 --We affirm our united purpose in Christ as we take faithful steps to be the church in mission for the transformation of the world.


 --We commit to crossing boundaries of language, culture, social and economic status by being in ministry to all people while seeking to grow in mutual love and trust.


 --We participate is God’s mission as partners in ministry, recognizing that our God-given gifts, experiences, and resources are of equal value, whether spiritual, financial, or missional. 


 --We commit ourselves to full equity and accountability in our relationships, structures, and responsibilities for the denomination. 


--We affirm our unity in Christ, and take faithful steps to live more fully into what it means to be a worldwide church in mission for the transformation of the world. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we seek to enter into a relational covenant of mutual commitment based on shared mission, equity, and hospitality. We enter into a relationship of mutuality, creating a new sense of community (Par. 125 of the 2012 Book of Discipline). 


 --We will communicate openly and honestly, caring enough to confront concerns in a constructive manner while resolving conflicts by focusing on our shared objectives and mission. 


--We will invite the active participation of the members from both locations knowing that we will be strengthened by the thoughts, ideas, and traditions of each congregation. 


 --We will seek the most effective ways of reaching the mission field by utilizing the strengths and gifts of each congregation and facility. 


Benefits— This strategy enables healthy congregations to multiply their ministries and rapidly plant new congregations. Since the people of the lead church (East Moline campus) will remain organizationally connected to the ministry of the joining church (Silvis campus), it is often easier to raise local funds for the multi-site than for projects that will not carry the name of the original congregation. It may also be easier to share administrative resources, staffing expertise, etc., with the joining church (Silvis campus) when there is a perception that “we are all one church” (Adapted from Church Development Strategies, PATH 1: New Church Starts at General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church). 


Challenges— The relationship between pastors of the campuses is critical. Whenever the bishop of a United Methodist Church Conference appoints a pastor to the multi-site project, that pastor is typically an associate pastor. It is absolutely critical that the senior pastor of the church be consulted in an appointment of an associate pastor to the multi-site church (Adapted from Church Development Strategies, PATH 1: New Church Starts at General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church).


ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE MULTISITE CHURCH: 


The majority of our ministry and administrative work will be united including staff, leadership council, Christian education, outreach, worship, and staff-parish relations committees. In order to have a single accountability relationship with the conference and denomination, this plan will unite most boards and committees, including the trustees and finance committees. (See Appendix 1: Organization for the Transitional Phase of the Multisite Ministry). This involves one apportionment responsibility, a unified budget and one process for reporting our ministry. 


The intent is to allow each campus site’s ability to pursue greater strength by relying on the support available through intentional partnership. The plan is an effort to maintain our campus sites through working closely together in our internal efforts and administration. 


These are the basic responsibilities of the organization and administration of the Multisite: 1)Planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, and witness for persons and families within and outside the congregations 2)Providing for effective pastoral and lay leadership 3)Providing for financial support, physical facilities, and legal obligations of the church 4)Utilizing the appropriate relationships and resources of the district and annual conference


Under the direction of the 2012 Book of Discipline, Section VI: Organization and Administration, the organizational plan will include: a charge conference, a church council, a staff-parish relations committee, a board of trustees, a committee on finance, a committee on nominations and leadership development and other committees as the charge conference may determine. At the joining church (Silvis campus) there will be a campus committee to cover special needs and discussions pertaining to the business of that site. As with all other committees, the campus committee will be responsible to and report to the church council of the multisite. 


PASTORAL APPOINTMENTS AND SHARED STAFFING: 


The Lead Pastor of the Multisite (Appointed by the Bishop): 

--Will serve as director of the multi-site ministry.

 --Will be the lead supervisor of ministry oversight of all ministry teams, staff and volunteers at both sites. --Will have primary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the East Moline location. 

--Will have secondary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the Silvis location. 

--Will continue with the oversight of the day-to-day ministry of the East Moline location. 


The Associate Pastor (Appointed by the Bishop): 

--Will serve as assistant supervisor of ministry oversight of all joint ministries. 

--Will have primary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the Silvis location. 

--Will have secondary preaching and associate pastor responsibilities at East Moline location. 

--Will oversee the day-to-day ministry of the Silvis location. 


The Staff and Volunteers

We seek to enhance the ministries at both locations and develop more ministries as we see the needs arise. Because of the close proximity of the two locations, shared staffing of staff and volunteers is possible and will be considered. 


FINANCIAL STRUCTURE OF THE MULTISITE MINISTRY: 


One church with two or more locations presents interesting financial challenges and opportunities. This plan for union, through a single finance committee, will further our ability to share more faithfully the expenses of ministry, outreach, worship, music, administration, and staffing. Here are ways we will address these challenges and opportunities: 


The annual financial budget of the multi-site ministry will breakdown and list the budgeted expenses for each separate campus location. This will allow for transparency and an understanding of the actual cost of operating both campus locations. 


The intent is that each campus location will be able to financially support the ministry and building expenses of that location through offerings that are received:

 --Offerings from the campus will cover its ongoing ministry expenses including staffing and building maintenance costs at the campus location including utilities and debt responsibility.

 --Building maintenance, expansion, utilities and debt reduction will be covered by the campus’ offerings. 

Financial assistance from the other campus site will only be done on a voluntarily basis and without obligation.

 --Existing memorial money given to an individual campus site will stay with that campus site. Future memorial gifts, if not designated for either campus, will be received and managed by the memorial committee of the Multisite.


 APPENDIX 1: ORGANIZATION FOR THE TRANSITIONAL PHASE OF THE MULTISITE MINISTRY

 (This appendix will be completed by the Administrative Councils of the lead and joining churches. There will be at least one joint meeting to perfect this section). 


APPENDIX 2: SHARED COMPENSATION COSTS OF PASTORS AND PROGRAM STAFF

 (This appendix will be completed by the Staff-Parish Relations Committees and Administrative Councils of the lead and joining churches. There will be at least one joint meeting to perfect this section). 


APPENDIX 3: INITIAL FAIR SHARE CONTRIBUTION OF SUMC TO CUMC

 (This will be further explained and expanded by a finance team formed of members of both churches. I do not see much of a change from what is happening right now). 


MINISTRY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS 


UPDATED TIMELINE OF THE MINISTRY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FOR MULTISITE

Here are the next steps and my recommendations that will bring us to a decision in the first week in April: 


MINISTRY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS


1)MARCH 6th--Separate question and answer meetings—11:50 a.m. at East Moline and 12:05 p.m. at Silvis. Unanswered questions will be addressed at the March 20th meeting. 

2)MARCH 20th--A joint meeting of both churches at Silvis UMC at 12:05 p.m. After this meeting, recommendations to proceed will come from each church council. 

3)APRIL 3rd—Church Council meetings to perfect the motion that will be presented at the April 10th Charge Conferences. 11:50 a.m. for East Moline. 12:05 p.m. for Silvis. 

4)APRIL 10th at 1:00 p.m.--Separate Church Conferences are set by the district superintendent to decide on the multisite merger. His request is that they will be in the same building. 

5)If approval is given by both church conferences, then the process mentioned in the Covenant will begin. 

6)Decisions on how to begin this new ministry and how it will be promoted in the communities will be the new work of the Multisite Task Force under the direction of the two Church Councils. 

7)The final decision about this is made by the bishop of our conference. 


East Moline & Silvis Multi-site Questions & Answers for the Potential Merger of Christ & Silvis United Methodist Churches


What is a “multisite merger” and how is it different from a two-point charge?

A two point charge is two churches that are served by the same pastor, otherwise they are autonomous of each other. The multisite is an attempt to place the same “DNA” in both churches and to be stronger and more effective by combining resources and efforts under the name of one church. 

Nationwide, the idea of multisite is relatively new. However, there are many churches that are growing because of the partnership with other churches. It is being proved through the example of multisite churches that healthy and effective growth of one church can be seen in other churches as well. 


What is the goal of merger? 

Our goal is to be as effective as we can be when it comes to reaching people for Jesus Christ in Silvis, East Moline and all of the Quad Cities area.


 Why East Moline and Silvis? 

The close working relationship with the two churches over the past three years has proven that there are many advantages in working together. In many ways each church has contributed to helping the other church become more effective in ministry.

Silvis UMC is a church of good leadership and solid fellowship. Yet, Silvis UMC has struggled for over the past forty years. In 1976 Silvis UMC had a membership of 687 with an average attendance of 223. Forty years later, Silvis is starting to see signs of a growth once again. In 2012, membership was 101 and attendance was 44. In the past 3 years, Silvis is beginning to experience a turn around with new people joining and attendance now in the mid to high 50s. However, there is a need to reach far more people in a city that is growing in population numbers. 


Why is there a need to do a multisite church? 

Many churches in the QC area are not growing. Most are declining in numbers of people. Christ Church in East Moline has seen effective growth and Silvis is beginning to see growth. In many ways a multisite in Silvis would reflect a new church start, especially if another worship service was begun at Silvis. Statistics tell us that it is far easier to reach new people for Christ when something new is developed. A new multisite effort would hopefully do this. Once again, our goal is to be as effective as we can be in reaching people for Christ. 


What would the administrative structure look like?

Under the direction of the 2012 Book of Discipline, Section VI: Organization and Administration, the organizational plan will include: a charge conference, a church council, a staff-parish relations committee, a board of trustees, a committee on finance, a committee on nominations and leadership development and other committees as the charge conference may determine. Representation from both churches will be considered and expected. At the joining church (Silvis campus) there will be a campus committee to cover special needs and discussions pertaining to the business of that site. As with all other committees, the campus committee will be responsible to and report to the church council of the multisite. 


These are the basic responsibilities of the organization and administration of the Multisite: 

1)Planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, and witness for persons and families within and outside the congregations

2)Providing for effective pastoral and lay leadership

3)Providing for financial support, physical facilities, and legal obligations of the church

4)Utilizing the appropriate relationships and resources of the district and annual conference


How would the finances work? 

One church with two or more locations presents interesting financial challenges and opportunities. This plan for union, through a single finance committee, will further our ability to share more faithfully the expenses of ministry, outreach, worship, music, administration, and staffing. Here are ways we will address these challenges and opportunities: 

•The annual financial budget of the multisite ministry will breakdown and list the budgeted expenses for each separate campus location. This will allow for transparency and an understanding of the actual cost of operating both campus locations.

 •The intent is that each campus location will be able to financially support the ministry and building expenses of that location through offerings that are received. 

•Offerings from the campus will cover its ongoing ministry expenses including staffing and building maintenance costs at the campus location including utilities and debt responsibility. 

•Building maintenance, expansion, utilities and debt reduction will be covered by the campus’ offerings. Financial assistance from the other campus site will only be done on a voluntarily basis and without obligation.

 •Existing memorial money given to an individual campus site will stay with that campus site. Future memorial gifts, if not designated for either campus, will be received and managed by the memorial committee of the Multisite. 


Do we plan to eventually become one church in one location? 

No, the intent is to be a presence for Christ with at least two locations. Churches that merge into one location do not guarantee that they will be any more effective. We can point to models of this that have been ineffective and have lost numbers of people instead of gaining in numbers of people. The city of Silvis is growing and we need to meet the needs of a growing city. If for some reason Silvis declines in attendance and cannot pay its fair share, then decisions about direction will need to be made by the multisite church council. However, that does not automatically mean that the Silvis campus would be closed. 


What if Silvis outgrows it building? 

The multisite church council would consider what the next steps would be. This may mean adding on to the existing structure or looking into new building opportunities.


Will major events and services be combined? 

There will be some events and services that are combined. However, we will want to sustain a strong presence at both worship centers. We have had joint services in the past. Examples include combined services—Eve Before You Leave Christmas service at East Moline, three Christmas Eve services (two at East Moline and one at Silvis), Ash Wednesday Service at Silvis, Maundy Thursday Service at Silvis, Good Friday Service at Christ Church. 


Are there plans for new worship services? 

Yes, each church needs to look at new service alternatives. This could be a Saturday night service at East Moline and a Sunday morning or Saturday night service at Silvis. Our goal is to be as effective as we can be when it comes to reaching people for Jesus Christ in Silvis, East Moline and all of the Quad Cities area. 

With the addition of more worship services (bringing us up to five or six on a weekend), there may be a different rotation given to who will be giving the message. The lead and associate pastors may begin an every other Sunday rotation and there may well be other speakers that are added in at different times and services. The intent is to have the most effective worship experiences that we can possibly have. 


How will the multisite be staffed? 

The Lead Pastor of the Multisite (Appointed by the Bishop): 

--Will serve as director of the multisite ministry.

--Will be the lead supervisor of ministry oversight of all ministry teams, staff and volunteers at both sites. 

--Will have primary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the East Moline location.

--Will have secondary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the Silvis location. 

--Will continue with the oversight of the day-to-day ministry of the East Moline location. The Associate Pastor (Appointed by the Bishop):

--Will serve as assistant supervisor of ministry oversight of all joint ministries. 

--Will have primary preaching and ministry responsibilities at the Silvis location.

--Will have secondary preaching and associate pastor responsibilities at East Moline location. 

--Will oversee the day-to-day ministry of the Silvis location. 


The Staff and Volunteers

We seek to enhance the ministries at both locations and develop more ministries as we see the needs arise. Because of the close proximity of the two locations, shared ministry of staff and volunteers is possible and will be considered.