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Next Steps Frequently Asked Questions
January 25, 2024

 

Definitions:

  • Appointive System: Collaborative conversation between the denominational leadership, Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), and individual pastors to identify the best candidate to lead the church. The local church is not solely responsible for finding and hiring the pastor. Under the appointive system once the candidate is placed, an accountable structure is put in place.

  • Apportionments/Connectional Funding: Each local church contributes financially to the ministry of the Church beyond the local church level. The local church pays a percentage of its operating income to the denomination with a ceiling cap.

  • Trust Clause: Many denominations have trust clauses that state that a church’s assets belong to the denomination. Holding property in trust the “holder” (the local church) is required to use the property exclusively for the purposes of and to benefit the Church. It also means that if, at any point, it becomes clear the holder can no longer or chooses no longer to function as part of the Church, it forfeits all rights to continue to hold the property, and the property itself and all other assets transfer to the denomination. With disaffiliation behind us, Mount Pisgah Church now owns all of our assets and property.

 

 

What is the governing structure of Mount Pisgah?

  • The decision-making body of the church is the Church Council, which is comprised of elected members through the Nominations Committee. The nominations to the Nominations Committee are submitted by the staff Leadership Team, Chairs and other members of existing committees, and members of the congregation. The council includes the pastoral staff, the Lay Leader(s), Recording Secretary, Chairs of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, Board of Trustees, Finance, and Nominations. It also includes all chairs and staff representatives of all program ministry committees.  Members of the Church Council can be found on the Mount Pisgah website: https://www.mountpisgah.org/discerningforward. 

  • The Executive Committee is also a part of the Church Council and acts as an advisory board, with no decision-making authority, to the Church Council. It is comprised of Chairs of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, Board of Trustees, Finance, Nominations, and Church Council. It also includes members of the pastoral staff, the church COO, and church lay leaders.

  • Recommendations can be made by other committees, but only the Church Council has the authority to approve recommendations and/or requests regarding the overall operation of the local church.

 

Has there been any consideration to having an Elder Board?

  • No. During the interim period the decision was made to continue operating similar to the current structure. If the Church Council decides to have an Elder Board, that can be considered at the appropriate time.

 

Can we make recommendations to Church Council committees regarding their make-up to include younger voices?

  • If someone would like to serve on one of the Mount Pisgah committees in the future, now is the time to submit names for consideration for the next nominating cycle in the fall. Send recommendations to Sarah Cisco at scisco@mountpisgah.org.

 

Who is a member of Mount Pisgah Church?

  • Everyone currently on the church database roster as a “member” is considered a member of Mount Pisgah Church. When Mount Pisgah UMC disaffiliated and became an independent church, Mount Pisgah Church, the membership on the current roster remained with the church. At a future point, a process will be established to scrub the current roster, which will include correspondence asking people if they wish to be removed from the roster or prefer to remain. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about membership can contact Rev. Mike Broome – mbroome@mountpisgah.org.

 

Is there going to be a Charter Membership and how will that be handled?

  • No. Every membership is held at the local church level. Since a Charter Member of an organization is an original member, this means that everyone listed as a member on the Mount Pisgah UMC roster at the time of disaffiliation, is automatically transferred to the Mount Pisgah Church roster as a member.

 

How can the By-laws and Statement of Faith be amended? 

  • The By-laws and Statement of Faith were drafted to ensure Mount Pisgah could function as an independent church effective December 1. They have been enacted on an interim basis while we, as a congregation, discern our next steps as a church body. The results of the church-wide vote on whether Mount Pisgah remains an independent church or we join another denomination will ultimately determine how the By-laws are written. Until that time, we do not anticipate any changes will need to be made. However, if we find the need to amend either the By-laws or Statement of Faith, it will require a 2/3 vote by the Church Council members in attendance at a Church Council meeting. A process will be established by the Church Council for making possible future changes to the Bylaws or Statement of Faith and will be made available when it has been finalized.

 

How are task force members selected?

  • Careful consideration was given to include members of the congregation that represent and support different ministry areas, including a mix of 9:30 and 11:00 congregations, Mount Pisgah in Spanish, Family Life (student/children’s/parents/nursery ministries), Atlanta Indian Prayer Fellowship, our senior ministry, and the Mount Pisgah staff. Task Forces are different from the Church Council committees in that they have been formed for a specific purpose with an end date to accomplish their objective.

 

Can other people join the current task forces?

  • Since the task forces have been working together for approximately six months it will be difficult to add new members. However, there may be a need to add additional people for specific tasks. If you are interested, you should contact churchcouncil@mountpisgah.org. To build an atmosphere of transparent communication, we are planning additional meetings in February, including both congregation-wide Family Educational Gatherings and smaller meetings.

 

Are the two Task Forces working together as the decision for the future of MPC and the new pastor are being considered? What is being said to the candidate in the interview process regarding the status of MPC regarding independent vs. denomination?

  • Yes, the task forces are communicating and are aware of what each is doing.  If the decision on what we become (independent vs. denomination) is made the priority, we may delay the search process until that’s answered. Since Pastor Steve is retiring in March, there is a possibility we may have to hire an interim pastor as the search continues properly. We’re not putting a timeframe on either process. The focus will be on making the best decision for Mount Pisgah both regarding the new Sr. Pastor and the status of the church.

 

Are we moving too fast?

  • We have been in a period of prayer and discernment.  We are an independent church now and, of course, that is one option going forward. Likewise, if we feel led to join the Global Methodist Church, there are advantages to doing so sooner rather than later. We are all in agreement that patience and careful evaluation of the steps forward are a necessity. We need not rush, or lag, in our discerning process of following God. We understand that some people may feel rushed at the moment, while others may feel we’re lagging, but that is not the intent of the leadership. The task forces began their work months before they could publicly share an update because of the tedious nature and restrictions leading to the ratification vote by the Annual Conference.

 

Where can I find the names of those who serve on the Church Council and Task Forces?

  • Both the Church Council members for 2024 and the members of the various task forces are listed on the Mount Pisgah Church web site under the Church Council Update webpage. To make it easier for you to find, the link is: https://www.mountpisgah.org/discerningforward

 

How can we share feedback?

  • We welcome feedback. You can also inquire via e-mail to churchcouncil@mountpisgah.org and the appropriate person will respond. Attending the Educational Gatherings and meetings will also be helpful.

 

Where can we receive updates about the process?

  • The best place to see updates and progress is the Mount Pisgah website – Church Council Update page. Attending the scheduled educational meetings and/or inquire via e-mail to churchcouncil@mountpisgah.org are also ways to receive updates.

 

Next Steps Task Force - FAQ

 

Will Mount Pisgah change when the decision is made to remain independent or join a denomination?

  • During the disaffiliation discernment period, we consistently communicated that Mount Pisgah will not change and that we will continue to be the church we are with the same vision, values, mission, and commitment to making disciples for Jesus Christ. We will continue to adhere to the authority of Biblical scripture.  

 

  • Now that Mount Pisgah has disaffiliated, we are currently an independent church with conservative theological beliefs. As we reflect on the church’s history and heritage, Mount Pisgah has been a Methodist church for almost 200 years, (read more about what it means to be a Methodist), and while it is true our past is not necessarily predictive of what our future path will be, the Church Leadership felt it best to affirm the principles of conservative theology that we hold dear, (i.e. the Apostle’s Creed and our Statement of Faith), while we embark on discerning our way forward because these beliefs and practices have formed what Mount Pisgah stands for to those who attend. 

 

Is Mount Pisgah Church going to be a Methodist Church?

  • At this point, we don’t know. We are currently an independent church grounded by conservative theology and will be conducting educational meetings for the congregation as we prepare for a membership vote to determine the future of Mount Pisgah Church.

 

Is there a Trust Clause with other denominations?

  • Some of the denominations we’ve researched have trust clauses, or a modified trust clause. The Global Methodist Church that we researched does not.

 

Would we have financial obligations to other denominations?

  • Yes, if the congregation votes to join another denomination. There are costs involved at varying amounts – some close to what we have previously been responsible for paying, some lower.

 

Who can vote regarding the future of Mount Pisgah?

  • At the time of the vote, only people listed as members on the Mount Pisgah roster will be able to vote. 

 

When will the church membership vote be held?

  • The tentative date is scheduled for some time in the March/April timeframe. Once the Church Council approves the findings from the task force, including the approach, the information to be presented to the congregation, and the mechanisms of how the vote will be conducted, the date and time for the membership vote will be finalized and scheduled.

 

Since our pastors have transferred their credentials to the Global Methodist Church (GMC), does that mean we’re a GMC church? 

  • No. We are not a Global Methodist Church. Our formerly appointed pastors from the UMC (Pastor Steve, Pastor Mike, Pastor Jorge) had the option to either completely surrender their UMC credentials or transfer them. They made the decision to transfer them to GMC who will allow incoming pastors to serve independent non-GMC churches.

 

If we remain independent, can a GMC pastor be hired?

  • Yes, a GMC pastor can be hired, which means our current pastoral staff can remain. There are no guaranteed appointments with the GMC, so pastors must be allowed to pastor the church where they feel God has led them.

 

If we remain independent, can we join the GMC or another denomination later?

  • Yes.  The GMC is still in the formative stages so there will be opportunities to be a part of that formation.

 

If we stay independent, how can we keep a fellowship with other like-minded congregations?

  • There are opportunities to affiliate with organizations which provide senior pastors and church staff with the chance to meet periodically and compare best practices.

 

If we join the GMC, how difficult is it to leave? 

  • Currently, the GMC has a remarkably simple "walk away" clause which allows congregations to leave with a 90-day notice.

 

Will there be more educational meetings?

  • Additional meetings are planned for February, including both congregation-wide Family Educational Gatherings and smaller meetings. We will intentionally schedule meetings to accommodate students and parents, the Mount Pisgah in Spanish congregation, and other groups.  We want a fully informed congregation ready to take a vote at the appropriate time. When that time is determined, members of the church will come together to decide on whether we remain independent or join a denomination. 

 

SPRC Search Task Force - FAQ

 

What is the status of the current pastors?

  • Mike, Jorge, and Ricky will remain as part of our pastoral staff. There are no changes in the pastoral staff and none anticipated other than the search for the new Sr. Pastor. All have agreed to remain serving at MPC. The only change is where their ordination credentials are held. 

 

When is Pastor Steve retiring?

  • Pastor Steve has indicated that he intends to retire as of March 31, 2024. As we continue through this discernment process, he will continue as Mount Pisgah’s Senior Pastor through his intended retirement date.

 

Who will be our Sr. Pastor between the time of Pastor Steve’s retirement and the arrival of the new pastor?

  • If a new pastor has not been hired by March 31, 2024, there are possible options including continuing with the current teaching staff and/or hiring an interim pastor.

 

How can we hire a pastor before the decision has been made to remain independent or join a denomination?

  • The Shepherd Staff (TSS) has advised that it will not be difficult to find someone who is able to pastor well regardless of whether we join a denomination or remain independent. Though our history is Methodist, that does not mean we will necessarily join another Methodist denomination, but it does not rule out the possibility. Our theology is conservative grounded in the belief in the authority of scripture, covenant discipleship, and that everyone is offered salvation through Jesus Christ alone. A pastor who desires to lead according to the gospels would be considered if TSS believes them to be a viable candidate. For someone who has a true discipleship heart and wants to make disciples here, there, everywhere, Mount Pisgah Church is a very desirable church. The profile can be seen on The Shepherd Staff website: https://theshepherdsstaff.com/jobs/search/

 

What sort of person are we looking for?

  • We have put together a pastor profile based on prior feedback from the congregation and input from information gathered by The Shepherd Staff during a discovery visit in September. The profile can be seen on The Shepherd Staff website: https://theshepherdsstaff.com/jobs/search/

 

Who can apply for the position?

  • Anyone can apply for the position and will need to go directly through The Shepherd Staff. The profile and application process are already posted on their website.

 

How will the new pastor be selected?

  • The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) has been in a period of prayer and discernment on how to proceed in the process of hiring a new lead pastor since Pastor Steve presented his retirement window a couple of years ago. At this point, there is not a hard and fast timeline. The priority is to ensure we hire the best pastor, the one whom we feel God has called, to lead us into the next chapters of our ministries. An SPRC Task Force was formed to assist in this process and is working with the search firm The Shepherd Staff (TSS). Members from TSS were here in September and met with several church stakeholder groups to gain insight. TSS will conduct the initial vetting of candidates and will send the most viable candidates to the SPRC Task Force for additional interviews. The SPRC Task Force will conduct interviews and send 2-3 candidates to the SPRC for further interviews and hopefully extend an offer. The SPRC has final authority over who is hired and will apprise the Church Council. 

 

If we join GMC, will the Bishop decide who the new pastor is?

  • The appointment system is a collaborative approach among the conference, the individual pastors, and the local churches. A slate of available pastors is presented to the local church for their input and choice of who to interview. Although it is a collaborative approach, currently the conference and Bishop will need to approve any assignment to the local church, but they will not make a decision that is not in the best interest for the church nor one that the church is not in agreement with.

 

Will the new pastor be involved and concerned with Mount Pisgah in Spanish?

  • Yes. Someone with a track record of building cultural diversity is an absolute must and one of the primary characteristics in the pastor profile. German Betancourt is a member of the SPRC Search Task Force and Vicky Holway is a member of the Next Steps Task Force and represent the Mount Pisgah in Spanish congregation. 

 

Is there anyone on the search committee representing students?

  • Yes.  Careful consideration was given to include members of the congregation that represent and support different ministry areas, including a mix of 9:30 and 11:00 congregations, Mount Pisgah in Spanish, Family Life (student/children’s/parents/nursery ministries), Atlanta Indian Prayer Fellowship, our senior ministry, and the Mount Pisgah staff.

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