New Beginnings Small Group Recommendation:
Relocation combined with mission redefinition and restart. We will sell our current facility while we reinvent ourselves in preparation for a restart in another location.
Why do we believe God is leading us in this direction?
1. We lack a clearly defined mission. In other words, we don’t know who we are. We need to take the time, as a church, to discern who God is calling us to be. This process is blocked by the need to take care of our current building. We are using too many resources to simply keep our doors open. We know that God hasn’t called us to a ministry of keeping a building open. It is time for us to invest in who God is calling us to be, as a ministry, here in Bradenton.
2. We have little to no rapport with the community around the church. Many people are afraid to come to any church event during the evening hours because they don’t feel safe. Our current location is also hard to find and when people do find us the neighborhood has a negative first impression. It has been noted that many first time visitors never return and we believe the neighborhood plays a part in this reality. It was also noted that some outside organizations have contacted us about renting space, but have looked elsewhere because of our neighborhood. Because of this reality we have a building that is only utilized 25% of the available time each week.
3. We have few long range financial resources. Roughly 44% of our current budget is allocated to our building. We are spending about half of our budget on simply maintaining our building and our property. In 2013 our congregation was able to support only 75% of our budget. The rest was made up by our reserve accounts. This year we are on pace to fall $15,000 short just to maintain our budget. Our Capital Improvement Fund as well as the balance of all of our Special Funds, is $153,793 as of the end of July. Using this number, we will be able to maintain what we are currently doing for the next ten years. Of course, this is only true if we don’t need to buy any new air conditioners or replace the roof or any other major capital expenditure. We are not being good stewards of the gifts that God has given us.
(Any process that is outlined at this point is painting with broad strokes. Of course as we journey down this road of discovery we are always open and ready for adaptation. For everything in our life and ministry together as a church, flexibility is the key.)
1. Board approval of the New Beginnings Small Group relocation combined with mission redefinition and restart recommendation. The Board approved this recommendation on August 15, 2015
2. Congregational Meeting in order to get congregational approval of the New Beginnings Small Group relocation combined with mission redefinition and restart. The Congregational voted 37 to 6 to approve this recommendation on Sunday, September 27, 2015
3. Consultation with New Beginnings and the Region of Florida about our transition process. As well as consultation with anyone else who has gone through a similar process because we don’t need to reinvent the wheel! We met with New Beginnings on October 14, 2015
4. Securing commercial real estate representation in order to value and market our building as well as assist us in what our next step will be when this building sells. We hired Foundry Commercial on Wednesday, October 28, 2015
5. Conversations about the sale of our building with our staff, Downtown Ministries, El Buen Samaritano and Narcotics Anonymous. We have spoken to everyone affected by our decision to sell and relocate.
6. Retirement of the ministry of Central Christian Church. Celebrating what God has done and looking forward to what God is going to do in us and through us in our next chapter of life and ministry as a church. On Sunday, July 3, 2016 we retired the ministry of Central Christian Church
7. Mission redefinition, restart and re-inventing process: A shut-down of what we currently do in order to study, pray, learn and grow together. This will be our corporate “Journey To Be”. This will either happen at our current location or at a new rented location that we will use for worship and study. Our Board voted Yes on April 9, 2016! The congregation voted Yes on May 1, 2016
8. Launch of our new church. After we discern who God is calling us to be and where God is calling us to be it, we will launch our new Disciples of Christ church with a new mission, a new location and possibly a new name. This new launch will remain connected with the history and longevity of Central Christian Church in name and mission as well as our location in Bradenton. On Sunday, August 7, 2016 @ 10am we launched our new ministry!
9. On January 15, 2017 God turned our heads around 180 degrees (God does stuff like that!) Our first two realities, mentioned above, had to do with not knowing who we are and not having any connection to our community. Well, on January 15 both of those realities changed. We have decided to take our building off of the market, partner with Downtown Ministries and begin a combined ministry that is going to transform our community with the good news of Jesus as a church that unchurched people love to attend. Back in August we launched our new ministry and we have patiently waited for God to speak. Well, he has spoken and we are so excited about what the future is going to hold. This little church has just been reborn!