Interim Season Updates

Sunday, October 2

Church members are encouraged to submit nominations through the Pastor Search Committee Nomination process beginning on Sunday, October 2 and concluding on Sunday, October 16. According to the Bylaws, the Advisory Council will select between 7-9 candidates from these nominations, and will present the slate of nominations for a vote at the Church’s Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, November 13, 2022.

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Sunday, September 18

As chairman of the Advisory Council, Andy Harrison announced that the process for receiving nominations for the Pastor Search Committee will begin on Sunday, October 2.

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Sunday, August 28

Rev. Daryl Price, Noonday Baptist Association Director, provided today’s inspiring and motivational message on the topic of “Transitions.”

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Andy Harrison, Deacon Chairman and Advisory Council Chairman, provided the following update:

Today marks the first Sunday of the interim season without a senior pastor. According to the Roswell Street Baptist Church Bylaws, the Advisory Council helps to lead the church during an interim season. The Advisory Council is made up of the chairpersons of the Finance Committee (Condace Pressley), Personnel Committee (Andrea McCranie), Deacons (Andy Harrison), Past Deacon Chairman (Doug Treadway), and Trustees (Mark Ohliger). The Advisory Council has been meeting regularly with the Executive Ministerial Staff (Joe Buckner, Iris Storey) to design an interim plan for ministry.

As has been our custom over the past two interim seasons without a senior pastor (2000-2002: between Dr. Nelson Price and Dr. Ernest Easley; 2015-2016: between Dr. Ernest Easley and Dr. Michael Lewis), the Advisory Council has frozen the current committees until a new senior pastor is in place to lead the church. This means all committee members will stay in place to keep a continuity of leadership during the interim time.

The current Sunday morning messages, “Identity” Message Series, will provide a foundation for God’s design for His Church, our call to unity, mission, purpose, and hope, not fear. The Advisory Council will be coordinating with the Staff to provide preachers to fill the pulpit until the Pastor Search Committee is formed and has appointed an Interim Pastor.

Over the next couple of months, our church will enter into a season of prayer, followed by a nomination process, followed by the selection of a Pastor Search Committee, followed by the Church electing the slate brought forward by the Advisory Council. This will hopefully occur in time for the annual business meeting in the month of November. The Pastor Search Committee’s first order of business is to select an Interim Pastor, and then a future Senior Pastor.

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Alex Owen, Chairman of the Future Vision Team, provided the following update:

The last time I had a chance to speak to the church was on February 20. I am still praying Habakkuk 1:5, “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told”. I want to give up an update on of activities and answer some questions we have been asked, but before I do that, I want to introduce the other committee members. Anthony Iorillo, Iris Storey, Russell Palmer, Joe Buckner, Sandra Sommerman, Kyle McCraine, Caric Martin, Trey Hedrick.

I want to remind everyone that this team cannot sell or encumber our property. We can only gather information and when we have something that is actionable it will be presented to the trustees who then can present it to the church. For those who like facts and figures, get something to take notes with as I will have some to share. Currently, there’s not much new to report on the property. We have not made any commitments or received firm offers from any developer, including Walton Communities. There has not been any discussion about housing refugees or the homeless on our campus. (yes I have been asked that) Why Walton? They approached RSBC and we have a 10 plus year ministry relationship with them. We are serving in several of their developments, and they have provided RSBC the financial resources to do so. Both parties realize there may not be a project to come from this process. Walton may not be able to develop a plan that makes business sense. They may develop a plan that works for them but not the church. We may both agree on a plan, but the city could reject it. Our last meeting with Walton was in May and we plan to meet with them in September. To determine if this project is viable, they will need spend a considerable amount of time and money to develop concept plans for review by the church and city. We want to be respectful of that as they could end up with several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of useless drawings. They also want to be respectful of the church, the church’s resources, and history. We are open to see what ideas and concepts they bring to us. We are praying that the Lord will open or close doors at His choosing and the church will have the wisdom to know the difference. There are other developers desiring to make a pitch should Walton fall short.

The question has been asked, why are we doing this? Why would we consider doing anything different with our property? Those are fair questions. In the past, we have had programs to keep up with the maintenance and upgrades needed for our property. The last one was the Nehemiah project. This was a “pay as you go” program. In other words, the church would not incur debt to do these items. No money, no work. It began in 2012 and was scheduled to finish in 2018. There was a total of 21 projects ($15,261,000 estimated) of which funding was provided to complete 9 ($2,551,000 estimated). At the end of the Nehemiah project in 2018, the Trustees assigned the task of preparing a report on a Facility Restoration Program to 4 of our members who have extensive knowledge in commercial construction and building operations. They spent over six months analyzing all of our properties in regard to the state of maintenance and repair. They issued a report in March 2019 to the Trustees. They separated the projects into three categories; Immediate Needs which should be completed in the next three years (2019 – 2021), High Priority Needs which should be completed in the next 3 to 7 years (2022 -2025) and Medium Priority Needs which would be completed 7 years or later (2026+). In 2019, the estimated total cost was $25,860,000 (Twenty-five million, Eight hundred Sixty thousand). Here are some highlights from that report. The Immediate Needs are roofing, exterior walls, gutters, and making sure everything is weathertight. The estimated budget was $2,160,000 of which approximately $400,000 has been completed. The High Priority Needs are roofing, Worship Center re-lamping, attic safety, HVAC replacement and Fellowship Hall (Bldg D) Pre-school improvements, lighting and HVAC replacement and upgrades. In 2019, the estimated total cost was $5,950,000 of which approximately $650,000 has been completed. The Medium Priority Needs included restoration/renovation of the Chapel, the West Wing (Bldg E) and the Education Building (Bldg F) to a usable condition. Also included are toilet additions/upgrades, Children’s area improvements and roofing. In 2019, the estimated total cost was $17,750,000 of which approximately $100,000 has been completed.

From the attempts made to maintain what we have, we are continuing to lose ground. The church is financially stable, but we realize there will come a time when these priorities all become urgent and will overwhelm us. That is the reason why we are looking to the future and asking to our Lord to give us guidance on how to proceed. Here are some additional facts concerning our existing facilities. • Approximately 235,000 ft.² (almost 5 ½ acres) of which we currently have 118,000 ft.² in use. • The space needed for all activities would be 80,000 ft.². • The worship center seats 2300 people and there is average 350 in attendance. That is a utilization rate of approximately 15%. • The HVAC (heating & air conditioning) in the Worship Center is original to the installation in 1978 (45 years) and has been maintained well. Even so, it is 15 years beyond its expected life span. • The control system for the campus HVAC equipment predates computer usage. Replacement parts are difficult and sometimes impossible to acquire leading to “Too Hot” or “Too Cold” conditions as some systems are either ON or OFF. • The Lighting in the Worship Center is original to the installation in 1978 and uses incandescent light bulbs ranging from 150 to 1000 watts in size. The larger sizes are no longer a production item by the majority of manufacturers. • Insurance companies do not like to insure vacant properties and usually charge higher premiums to do so. RSBC has 3 buildings that could be considered vacant. Currently, all of our buildings are included in our hazard insurance coverage. By working to decide what space requirements the church needs, the Future Vision Team has come to realize a review of what we do, who we are and what missions we should do need to be reviewed and refined. We have just begun this process. This can be defined by 4 areas: Must Haves, Should Haves, Could Haves, Won’t Haves.

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Joe Buckner, Executive Pastor, provided the following update:

Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called to His purpose.” We love the Lord and have been called according to His purpose. We believe He is not through with us and there are some great days ahead for Roswell Street Baptist Church! In anticipation of the interim season without a lead pastor, the Personnel Committee met recently to put forward a plan to make sure that our RSBC ministry team and support staff are fully functional and operational. We recently brought Brooke Akins on as the International Learning Center Director. We will commission the ILC Leadership next Sunday, Sep. 4. We have added Deena Dickerson to our team as Interim Children’s Ministry Leader. We also moved Dr. Robin Redick into the Groups Pastor position. We have extended Dr. Johnny Walker‘s contract to serve as our College Pastor. We have also brought on Bill Kelley to serve as an extension of the pastor’s office as Pastoral Care & Compassion/Homebound Ministry Leader. He has already been working with a team of volunteers and will continue to serve alongside our Deacons in providing pastoral care. As Executive Ministerial Staff, Iris Storey and I are working alongside both the Advisory Council and Future Vision Team. We believe the Lord has put together a called, competent and gifted team for such a time as this in the life of Roswell Street Baptist Church. We are proud of our team and look forward to hopeful days ahead as we serve the Lord together! As we navigate the days ahead, we have full confidence that the Lord will continue to bless Roswell Street Baptist Church in the future as He has done in the past.