TGC East Village TRANSITION FAQS
In short, what is happening in this transition?
After much deliberation and prayer, Trinity Grace has decided to reorganize into ten distinct churches. Since its inception, Trinity Grace Church has functioned differently than other multi-site churches with a highly empowered leadership model. To date, each parish has functioned as its own church in many ways. As each new parish has joined Trinity Grace, operational and organizational complexity has increased. Recently, the parish churches have wrestled to relate as one larger church, while also cultivating unique emphases for their neighborhoods and parishioners. We believe this reorganization will empower each parish and result in continued missional fruit and effectiveness. The parishes are collectively committed to pursuing ways to partner and express unity as the church across the city. We will continue to collaborate and partner together as each parish pursues renewal according to its vision and unique gifts.
You can access this initial letter of explanation form Joshua Staton, executive pastor of TGC.
Will we have to become our own 501(c)(3)?
Yes. We are required to separate as a legal entity in order to align legal and financial responsibility to a local governing body. How we partner with other organizations after we become an individually registered entity is open for design and we are seeking wise council from outside organizations regarding future affiliation and structure.
Was there a theological, moral, or relational difference that led to this?
The need for a change in structure is one that the pastors have identified and discussed for about a year. There was no moral failure, no relational fallout, and no theological dispute that caused this. Healthy things grow and the growth TGC has experienced over her 11 year history has lead to this particularization.
What is the timeline for East Village standing as its own church?
Our central office and current organizational structure still exists until March 31, 2018. This is the period in which each church, with the help of the central team is gearing up to stand on its own two feet, both organizationally and financially. While the 2018 deadline is real and our ultimate target, we are actively working to be ready as soon as is necessary and prudent, to function as an autonomous church.
Will the new churches partner together after individualizing?
We are committed to unity among this family of churches. We are discerning and planning what the structure for partnership will be in the new individualized reality and have some of respected consultants helping us plan this. Our relational ties remain intact, and we are excited to support each other as each church responds to its individual neighborhood.
Will churches still be called Trinity Grace?
Some congregations will keep the TGC identity while some are choosing to operate under a brand new name in the coming season. This is happening for a few reasons, one of the main ones being changing a church’s name will better contextualize and serve their specific neighborhood demographic. Each church remains committed to partnership in the city.
Are we going to keep the name Trinity Grace Church East Village?
No. Our leadership, transition and pastoral teams are prayerfully discerning this decision and are currently leaning in the direction of a brand new identity.
What does this mean for our finances and contributions to TGC Central?
There are two components to this answer:
First, we have a reasonable debt owed to TGC in the amount of $125,000. This debt is partly made up of carrying costs for shortfalls in congregational giving or outside fundraising over the past six years of our church and in part to the generous and kingdom minded risks that we've taken to plant new churches and experiment with ministries. While our YTD congregational giving is the strongest it's ever been, which includes an aggressive repayment plan currently, it will take us some time to pay back the borrowed money so the other TGC parishes with a balance will be able to use their capital reserves. Currently a plan is being discussed that could include up to two years to pay back the debt.
Second, in 2016 we contributed 20% of our annual income to TGC Central services and ministries. At the beginning of this year that percentage dropped to 17%, and since the decision to individualize it has dropped further to 14%. This percentage will scale down as TGC Central services create our stand-alone structures and we take on new organizational responsibilities. In the fall our contributions to TGC Central services will go to 10% and in January 2018 to 8%, where it will remain until the end of March 2018 when all Central influence and services will officially cease. Join with us, in faith, as we, as a family, joyfully partake in funding God’s mission. More financial updates to come.
What will be our governance structure going forward?
There is currently a team of leaders who have stepped in as our transition team (and have been operating since the fall of 2016). As we move forward, we will seek elders and continue to equip our leaders, covenant community and staff. We want to align as best we can with biblical and legal requirements for church authority and governance.
More about this structure below and we will explain this over the next few months of transition.
What about new Elders?
Part of a healthy local church is the need for a robust Elder team. Guy has been seeking out potential new Elders. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate someone for consideration. We have narrowed down a list of potential Elders, and we are praying about each of them and beginning preliminary conversations. We will also initiate fresh conversations with new candidates as they emerge. As soon as those conversations come to a close, we will inform you of the nominees and invite your prayer and feedback regarding them. We will implement an Eldership preparation process when the time comes. The Elder process in place within the TGC framework is healthy, proven and biblical.
What if I feel like leaving TGC East VIllage?
People leave church communities for a variety of reasons. Some reasons for leaving are motivated by wisdom and obedience, while others are less thought through and more reactionary. We understand that for some people this change is no small thing. We invite you to process your desires, questions and intent with your leaders, and we will gladly pray with you and for you in this season. You can contact us here.
If you have processed this with your leaders and are deciding to leave our community, we would especially love to pray for you as you seek another community to worship and serve God in.
How can I help in this season of transition?
Great question! First, we'd ask you to help by processing the change well (prayer, reflection, appropriate outlets, counsel etc). If you need to grieve or process the change, please engage in doing so actively. Please use the avenues provided through the TGC East Village Transition Page and email email@example.com to process as you need.
We want to seek the kingdom of God wholeheartedly. This mission does not stop. We want to love God and love our neighbors. You can help us through this season by getting involved, voicing your support, contributing through volunteering in the life of the church, participating in events, praying, and giving generously towards the mission of God and the financial health of our maturing congregation. Be part of the community family of believers in TGC East Village.
Can I ask for personal prayer?
YES! You can come up front for prayer on any Sunday if you feel you need support in this season. Also, if you have any specific prayer need, the leaders and staff would love to prioritize praying for you specifically. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org