February 2, 2009

ABC Acting As A Body
by Pastor George Van Alstine

We’re thankful for all the leaders who make the ministry of Altadena Baptist Church effective. On a day-to-day basis, this is mostly carried out by the two Pastors and the Administrative Assistant, all operating together through the church office. Continual support and guidance comes from the Deacon Board, the nine individuals elected to represent the congregation in implementing the church’s goals in serving the Lord.

But we are also thankful that the congregation itself participates actively in shaping ABC’s ministry through the church’s Quarterly Business Meetings. We hold these meetings after church on a Sunday morning, together with a fellowship meal. The meetings are usually well-attended, and there is active participation in discussion of all aspects of the church’s operation, from finance to evangelism. You would be surprised to know how rare such congregational meetings are, even among Baptists who have historically stood for the “priesthood of every believer” and democratic church government. Those of you who participate are to be commended.

Our most recent Quarterly Business Meeting was held on Sunday, January 25, and two very important issues were discussed. Both have the potential to shape the church’s ministry for years to come.

First, we were updated on the direction the Deacon Board is going in developing ABC’s 2009-10 Church Budget. Given the fact that recent years’ budget shortfalls have used up much of the church’s reserve fund, together with the reality of the serious downturn in the National economy, some radical changes are needed.

For a couple of years, Judy and I have been considering when we should begin taking the monthly retirement income the church has paid for over the years. We have decided now is the time. This does not mean I intend to back off from any of my church responsibilities; just that our income will come from a different source. This decision will allow the church to cut back in salary obligations to Pastors and to allocate funds in different ways, while also reducing the overall budget size in a difficult time.

The Deacons recommended that these available funds be used to accomplish some other purposes. For one thing, we need to have a more consistent cleaning/maintenance program, so a regular, weekly custodial service has been added to the budget. This will supplement the work already being done by Bill Zobrist in changing over between the church’s use by ABC and by our Saturday renters, the Community Life Fellowship congregation. The Easter Seals’ worker training program also handles some light cleaning, including trash removal and vacuuming. The new person will do the deeper cleaning which has been neglected.

The Deacons also recommended adding to the salary of Glenn Molina as our Director of Worship, making him virtually a full-time employee. This is important because Glenn will graduate from Fuller Theological Seminary in June and could be hired by another church looking for someone with his gifts. The Deacons’ proposal is based on the belief that Glenn has been taking us in a healthy direction in music and worship and that it is to ABC’s benefit to continue on this path. Should this budget proposal pass, Glenn’s new job description will include leadership of ABC’s Youth Group, which would relieve Pastor Connie of this responsibility.

#  #  #  #  #

The second major issue before the congregation was the proposal that the lease agreement with Altadena Christian Children’s Center for use of the buildings and grounds be extended for another twenty years. This longer-term lease will be helpful to the Center in applying for grant support to repair and enhance the properties. The lease will also contain some provisions that will protect the church from liability and from the need to maintain those properties.

This proposed lease was developed by a joint committee representing Board members from ACCC and ABC’s Deacons. In discussions at the Quarterly Business Meeting, people faced the reality that this lease would for twenty years limit the church’s options to do other things with the property used by ACCC. On the other hand, there was a consensus that ACCC was a good community service aspect of ABC’s ministry and would continue to be a positive outreach in the future.

It was decided that a final draft of the lease agreement should be developed by the committee. Then the congregation would vote on it. Because of timeliness issues in ACCC’s writing of grant proposals, it was decided to hold a Special Business Meeting when the document is finalized. We are now announcing

A Special Business Meeting
of The ABC Congregation
Sunday, February 22,
12:30 PM

(This meeting will follow the regular church service and should be brief.)

Don’t forget that our Annual Business Meeting will be held Sunday, March 29. At that time we will have a chance to shape ABC’s future through its new budget.