Covenant Member Update: December 2022
Covenant Members of Park Church,
A common cultural rhythm around this time of year is to look back and look forward. It’s worth doing this as a church as well. Our more extensive annual planning process as a staff team will kick-off in mid-February (see below). But it’s also worth considering the past year and paying attention to some indicators of what’s ahead.
The early part of 2022 was particularly strained for us as a church. Each of you (and our leadership team) had distinct relational ties, experiences, and personal impact in connection to Park Church Downtown. Yet it was a season that we all walked through as a church family. The year prior we had entered into an exciting opportunity to participate in God’s mission in downtown Denver, partnering with another church in our network. We quickly discovered how much we had to learn. As I’m writing, the lyrics of the song in the background are: “Pruning is painful; surrendering hurts” (“Make Room” by The Sing Team). This rang true for us. The song goes on, however, to say: “May this creed prepare the way for rebirth.”
This reminds me of a section in Pete Scazzero’s “The Emotionally Healthy Leader” when he discusses endings and new beginnings. He writes:
“Embracing endings in order to receive new beginnings is one of the fundamental tasks of the spiritual life… Not every problem can or should be solved or overcome; some things just need to be allowed to die. This isn’t necessarily a failure. Often it is an indication that one chapter has ended and a new one is waiting to be written. This happens in our personal lives as well as in leadership” (p270).
Letting Park Church Downtown–and the dream of what could have been–die truly stung. And the effect still lingers. Particularly for those of you who sacrificed the most, reprioritizing and redirecting significant aspects of your lives in order to engage the mission downtown, the hurt was most pronounced. Healing from this loss will certainly take more time.
And yet, God was not ignorant of what was happening, and He hasn’t been absent in the unfolding of it. This is equally true in the midst of the societal squeezing we all have felt over the past few years. The pandemic jarred us all. Ideological warfare often caught the church in its crosshairs. And we all were thrown into a complex juggling routine that none of us anticipated.
Yet here we are. It is not difficult to boldly proclaim with David: “The LORD is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed” (Psalm 28:8). Similarly in Psalm 33: “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (v11). Our God kindly turned last year’s winter into a summer of genuine rest and movement toward healing.
The past handful of months has provided incremental movement toward refreshment and realignment. Perhaps it’s a bit like hopping off a merry-go-round that an insidious 11-year-old has been spinning for several minutes. Your head spins with disorientation and you think you might lose your lunch. But then you find the tree line, feel the sunlight on your face, and a friend grabs your hand. After your body calms you feel freed up to search for the charcuterie board on a picnic blanket you were promised.
I don’t imagine many of us would say the charcuterie board is set and ready. But I do believe the ingredients are being gathered. Alright, enough metaphor. The short of it is, we’re beginning to feel a real sense of clarity, a growing unity, and an experience of church as family that is resoundingly welcomed. Interacting with the over 50 people who went through our Foundations process this last semester conveyed that to many of us on our staff and elder teams. And the particular conversations with you all, hearing stories of uncommon generosity, relational healing, and an experience of God’s vivid work have powerfully heartened us.
There’s good work in front us. It’s work that each of us is called to as members of the body of Christ. Our leadership team exists to “equip the saints [read: ‘Christians’] for the work of ministry [read: ‘everyday works of service’]” (Ephesians 4:12). Below are several updates–including finances–and areas of clarified direction that will continue to help orient us as a church family moving forward.
OUR UPCOMING YEAR TOGETHER
You all (covenant members of Park Church) live in neighborhoods and suburbs all across the Denver Metro Area. Because of this, we need a particular strategy to ensure each member is personally cared for and discipled. We have conceptualized the metro area as existing in seven different “shepherding regions.” Each region includes members of Park Church who either (a) are part of a Gospel Community that meets in that region; or, if a person is not in a Gospel Community, (b) have a home address in that region.
Our elders will then lead a “shepherding team” that includes Gospel Community coaches and (as we build these out) other roles as well. It is through this structure that Gospel Communities will be visited, pastoral needs are cared for, and overall relational connection to our covenant members is maintained. (Kyle wonderfully outlined this all in more detail at our last Family Meeting.) Right now we have the basic structure and some of the pieces. But it will take some time to grow our elder team, develop our deacon process, and work the vision into the particulars of how we function week-to-week.
One of the steps we have recently taken is to bring onto our staff team Bailey Hurley! She is now serving as our Community Coordinator, a role we communicated in our last newsletter. She, her husband Tim, and their family have been worshiping and serving with us for many years. We are so grateful for Bailey’s willingness to serve our church in an even more expanded way than she was as a GC Coach. To learn more about Bailey, you can follow this link. Please welcome and congratulate her! (Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to shoot her an email.)
Be on the lookout for how we proceed and build out our Shepherding Regions. This structure will form the relational and pastoral foundation of a growing amount of what we do as a church.
LIVING THE MISSION OF GOD SERIES
Our early 2023 series is on “Living the Mission of God.” This will run five weeks, each Sunday unpacking a specific facet of God’s mission through us as His church. (Gary gave us excellent vision for this at our last Family Meeting.) Each Sunday is designed to propel us into an area or two of practice. We must recognize that none of us is called to simultaneously grow and serve in equal proportions in every area of the Christian life. God intentionally gave us limits! But there are likely one or two areas that He is ushering you into throughout the series. We invite you to pray through and consider the areas of focus below and what that might mean for you in the coming months.
FINANCES & END–OF–YEAR GIVING
We are encouraged to see a continued positive variance month–to–month. Thank you for your generosity as we work back to stabilized fiscal health. (In our October newsletter you’ll find a more detailed picture of finances.)
Right now we are asking you all to help us meet our December goal. Each year, we rely on December as being our largest giving month by more than double. To stay on budget, our target is $385,000. We are currently just 19% of the way there. Compared with last year, we are pacing about 16% behind.
Would you prayerfully consider a financial gift to Park Church above–and–beyond what you normally give?
We are truly grateful for how we’ve seen the Lord sustain and work through our church this past year. By God’s grace and alongside each of you we’ve:
- Added new and continued building existing ministry Teams through which many of you are serving and leading
- Restabilized our Park Kids ministry with 130+ children living in community and hearing about Jesus each Sunday
- Watched the Lord grow our Park Students ministry to an average of 40 middle and high schoolers
- Built discipling relationships with students at School of Mines and Colorado Christian University (and others) through our Park College ministry
- Led over 90 people through our Foundations courses (Spring and Fall)
- Developed our Gospel Community ministry with 13 Coaches, nearly 100 leaders, and 35 groups
- Initiated the basement remodeling project that is nearing completion
- Recorded and released “Lay Down Your Burdens” and “Christ in the Psalms, Vol. 1”
- Created and sustained lay-led ministries including Park Wilderness, Prophetic Ministry, and MomLife
- Partnered with local organizations, church plants, and individuals through finances and investing time and skills
- Supported (and hosted some of) our overseas missionaries through our missions Advocacy Teams
- Gathered and grown as disciples together through our Sunday services and numerous cohorts, seminars, counseling, retreats, and everyday conversations
- And the countless stories you all could tell!
Your continued generosity toward the mission of God through Park Church allows us to focus on the fruitful work in front of us, working together to build upon and strengthen what we’ve witnessed Jesus do in and through His people and what we anticipate He will do in the coming year. Thank you.
Some Final quick hits…
- Basement: Perhaps you’ve seen the plastic is down and our basement is looking like a renewed version of its old self! Finish dates and construction don’t often play nicely together, but it does seem an early(ish) 2023 completion date is likely. We are grateful to be in that space again. Particular thanks to John Petterson and our Building Team–Sarah Jane Bryant, Tom Grannas, and David Hubbard.
- Annual Planning: Our ministry (and fiscal) year runs August 1–July 31. This means our annual planning process initiates in mid-February. Please pray for us as we seek to discern and design in accordance with where God is leading Park Church. We’ll have more to share at our May Family Meeting.
- Events & Teams: As always, look for ways to get involved on our events page and how to utilize your gifts and capacity through joining one of our ministry teams.
OUR NEXT FAMILY MEETING
Please join us at our next Family Meeting! We’ll be at the Park Church building on Sunday, February 12 from 12:45–2:45pm. Lunch and childcare are provided—be sure to register ahead of time! We look forward to being with you all. You can RSVP below.RSVP
You all make it a delight to live as God’s family together. We are grateful for you and are eager for what’s ahead.