Dear Restoration Church,

Thank you for sharing your questions with us regarding our sense of call to plant deep and wide. We have received fantastic questions through the email address. We have been collecting the questions into groups so that we can respond to them as we move through our discernment and determine more specifics.

We are writing today to share the next set of questions and answers. We continue to ask for your prayers as we step out in trust toward what we believe God has been showing us for years and is now calling us to do. We are excited for what God has in store for all of us!

In Christ,
Jeff Lee and Jon Gibson

Restoration Church

Psalm 145:18 - The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Planting Deep

1. How can we afford to plant deep?

Our Session has been working to discern the 2019 budget where we live within our means while continuing to live into our God-given mission as a church. We will be sharing the specifics of this 2019 budget at our  October 21st  communication meeting.

This budget is a conservative budget in comparison to the budgets that we have created in the past few years. We have planned our budget so that we will not spend from our Vision Fund for operations in 2019. In addition, we have accounted for the anticipated families that will go and be a part of the launch team for the Ashland church plant. In light of this, we have adjusted our commitments to our staff, ministry and mission partners in light of this budget. We are also seeking to live within our means so that we can also begin saving for our anticipated move into a rented or leased space in 2020. 

2. How can we hire new staff (Children’s Director, Youth Director)  in light of our church being smaller and having a more conservative budget in 2019?

Jeff has been working with our budget task force and HR committee to discern our staff roles and structure in light of the changes in our church size and budget. Our staff budget will continue to be within the range of what churches our size typically allocate for their staffs. We will, however, need to make some changes to the types of roles on staff in terms of responsibilities and hours (part-time instead of full-time). Jeff will be sharing more specific updates regarding our church staff later this week in another church-wide communication. Be assured, our decisions to hire staff will fit into our conservative 2019 budget where we are seeking to live within our means.

3. What steps are being taken to start the discernment process for a fixed, rental space?

In review, our Session has shared that we will be seeking to have a dedicated full time home by April 2020 to be used by our congregation and our community. Our current office space lease ends in April 2020 and we have selected that target date for our transition. Our first step will be to locate a rented or leased space to serve as a home for Restoration Church. The vision for this space will be shaped by our unique strengths as a church family. We will not be in a financial position to purchase land and a church building as this first step but we will be seeking God’s provision and leading for this in the future.

Jeff is starting the discernment regarding our approach. He will be putting together a team to develop a project plan that will include the significant milestones, requests for help from our church family and related matters.

4. What am I (Jeff) excited about?

I am excited about how God is preparing us for our next chapter as Restoration Church. Change can be hard. Our God, however, is a God of transformation and transformation requires change. I have a God-given peace that He is at work through the changes we are experiencing and He is reshaping us to be a more faithful, loving community that will plant deep in our community together. I am excited by the fact that our Session, HR committee and other teams are facing the reality of where God has led us a church. Jesus said that if we are faithful with little then God will entrust us with more. I believe that He is making us be faithful with who we are and what we have at this point in our journey. 

I continue to be excited by our renewed commitment to love one another deeply through the shepherding efforts of our new congregational care plan, changes with our groups of all ages to help those relationships go deeper and our continued commitment to welcoming new people into our church family. 

I believe that God has a special plan for us as a Restoration Church family. I also believe that God has a special plan for the Ashland church plant as we partner together and help Jon Gibson and this new church through the process of launching into that community in 2019.

Planting Wide  

1. How can we afford to plant wide?

Restoration has adjusted its budget for 2019. We have committed as a church to live within the means that God has given us. Throughout 2018, we have been in the process of intentionally focusing our missions budget based on Acts 1:8, seeking to fund in our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Restoration has committed to tithing (10%) from the 2019 budget for the church plant. This will cover approximately 25% of the church plant’s budget. The remaining amount will be raised through the support of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, our sister church Hope Church (Richmond), family and friends, and additional churches throughout the presbytery and the EPC.

2. What is a broad timeline for the church plant?

Jon has begun to focus on the church plant and will transition to 100% when we form it as a mission church in the EPC. The plan is to submit the proper documentation and paperwork for that to happen at the January meeting of our presbytery.
The launch team for the plant will begin meeting this weekend and will continue to meet monthly and more frequently as the launch date approaches. As of right now, the proposed launch date is no later than Sunday, September 8, 2019. That launch date is subject to change.

3. Who will be part of this plant?

Jeff and Jon have been working and praying together to seek out those who might be part of the launch team. This launch team has been chosen based upon the needs of the plant as well as the felt calling of each of these individual families (approximately 10 families from Restoration Church).
While this team of people will begin to meet, focus on the plant, and move towards the launch, they will continue to be part of the life of Restoration Church until such time as they feel it necessary to focus completely on the church plant.
Additional opportunities will be available for others to help out with the church plant as they feel called and still remain committed and part of Restoration Church. As this is a mother-daughter relationship between Restoration Church and the plant, we are trying to allow this process to be as organic as possible.

4. What am I (Jon) excited about?

I am most excited about what God will do as we move into faithful obedience to him in Ashland. God has given me a heart for multi-ethnic ministry and for church planting. Ashland is a diverse community with many possibilities as well as many challenges. Carrie and I have committed ourselves to the words of Psalm 127:1, which says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” We are excited to see how God builds this through this local expression of his church with these people, in this community, at this particular time. We know that there will be mistakes and that there is a lot to learn, but we also trust that God will provide us with everything that we need to accomplish his will.