Pastor Dan Thyng made the following announcement on Sunday, November 5th:
The pastors and deacons have thoroughly reviewed the surveys and have explored numerous options for a new church model and schedule. We have concluded that the transition in leadership of lead pastor is a significant change which merits waiting on making any other changes to our model and schedule. This means that both our model and schedule will remain the same to allow for an effective transition of Pastor John into retirement and me into the role of lead pastor. All Children and Adult Bible Fellowships will continue to meet as they always have. The Sunday night service will continue to meet at the regularly scheduled time. The Wednesday night GROW class and Awana will continue in the current schedule, meaning Awana and Student Small Groups will only meet for an hour and a half from 6:30 to 8:00. All target ministries will continue to meet. The concepts of a Family Pastor and Community Groups are being tabled and may be reconsidered at a future date. Ultimately, the conclusion of church leadership is that we have presented too much change at one time. We believe a clear focus on transition of leadership is the best path for our church in the short-term. However, the critical issues we are facing as a church have not gone away. We will need to fill the ministry roles of Pastor Jim Nofsinger (whenever he decides to retire) which include worship and administration and we need to fill my ministry roles immediately which include student ministries and foreign missions while remaining within the financial constraints of five pastors. We still face the burden of an overwhelmed staff and volunteers with our current number of ministries. We must consider the effectiveness of our model in reaching lost people in neighborhoods throughout Mercer County. Also, the critical issues we are facing in our culture have not gone away. The rapid increase in the number of unchurched people continues. The rapid change in morality continues. The rapid increase in the percentage of people considered post-Christian continues. The simple fact that unchurched people are less likely than ever to come to a church if invited remains. At some point in the future, we will need to address these critical issues unified and in agreement as a church body. Though there were numerous concerns, the surveys affirmed our premise. We must be more effective in winning people with the gospel and retaining them, particularly the younger generations. About 40% of our church family was interested in pursuing the concept of Community Groups as a potential answer to this challenge. I feel like some people have misunderstood our motives and intentions for proposing change. Johnston Chapel is a wonderful place. It is a place my family calls home. Pastor John and I love every one of you dearly. Our aim was never to judge or condemn the church family. We have a rich heritage to celebrate. We are simply passionate about doing more to reach lost people. We should always strive for greater things individually and together as the church. Let’s continue in prayer as we transition leadership and look to the future.