Congregational update: March 19, 2017

Growth Team Updates

Ministry Team

The ministry team met frequently over the course of several months to pray, discern, and humbly ask God to steer the group towards a ministry plan to achieve the mission of the church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Below are the three top priority goals developed by this task force.

  1. To be an inviting, inclusive congregation that strives to “walk the talk” authentically in Christian love. Plans to support this goal include developing a greeter ministry, structuring a welcome committee that will reach out to our guests, and enhancing all communications to be inviting to everyone.
  2. Encourage spiritual growth and discipleship through participation in small groups. The ministry plan involves forming new covenant discipleship groups as well as Bible study, affinity, and support groups.
  3. Build a strong ministry with children and youth where they can learn and practice the gospel in enjoyable and meaningful ways. Plans to accomplish this goal include developing a confirmation curriculum, exploring a “strong teen” ministry, and hiring a paid nursery attendant for consistent Sunday childcare. 

Space Team

Based on the ministry plan, the space team was tasked with finding a location with 5+ acres of land and a 15,000 – 20,000 sq foot facility. With consultation from experts and many meetings with church leaders, the space team made the following discoveries:

  • It is not feasible to physically expand the space at our current location (into the Orbit Room)
  • Current existing properties in the area that could potentially be renovated are not feasible.
  • The most financially and missionally feasible plan is purchasing 4-8 acres of land and constructing a new building.

New Hope UMC Space Team Evaluation

  • Option 1: Expand at Existing Site / Purchase Existing Site and Build New $3,200,000
  • Option 2: Purchase Existing Property and Renovate $2,100,000
  • Option 3: Purchase Land and Build New $2,100,000

Funding Team

Estimates determined that we still need to grow spiritually and numerically before we could raise funds to create more space. As of March 13th, the balance of the building fund was $119,015 and earning interest. The expected cost to purchase land and build is $2,100,000.

Next Steps: Maximizing our Ministry and Space

Starting September 2017:
9:30 Sunday School
10:30 Worship


Will the worship services be identical? Yes! Both services will offer the same music and the same message.

Why isn’t Sunday School during either worship? It’s important that New Hope remains a multi-generational worship experience. Children are welcome in church! With the new schedule, families can attend worship together, and participate in Sunday School freely.

Do we have enough people willing to serve during worship? With your participation, we will! All are encouraged to attend one worship and serve at another. Serving opportunities include audio, video, liturgist, praise team, worship leader, greeters, and ushers. Training for each role is available upon request. Please sign up either through our website or at the hospitality table.

Is a second service really necessary? The board has been discussing and praying about a second service for more than a year. Worship attendance has been averaging more than 100, making finding seats tricky for some, especially families. For visitors, we hope everyone feels welcome – and that they can always find a seat.

What can I do? Pray! Pray for our community here at New Hope to have open hearts as God works through us. Pray that we, the community of New Hope, will continue to share the Gospel message and love of Jesus Christ with the people of Brown County. Serve! Worship at one service and serve at the other. Contribute to the building fund! Serve on the leadership board!

If you have any additional questions about the new worship schedule, please contact Pastor Rebecca or any member of the board.

Transcript from announcement during worship, April 17th, 2016

A Look at Where We've Been

Last time church leadership gave an all church update we talked about our journey through discovering our current vision here at New Hope.  That journey led us through many conversations and listening sessions including coming to our church community and seeking honest feedback.  The result was a better understanding and articulation of our church community’s vision through an image you may have seen used over the past 2 years – the New Hope Vision Bridge.

The Vision Bridge has several key touch points which include Inviting, Hospitality and Fellowship, Worship, Service and Missions, and Study, all supported by Spiritual accountability, leadership development, and financial health.  Over the last 2 years, the Church Council recommended narrowing our focus to 3 areas that were deemed the highest need by our New Hope community at large.  These included Worship, Leadership Development and Inviting.  During the last 2 years, leadership, along with members and friends of New Hope, have prayed and sought out God’s path in these 3 areas.  We have all been witness to God’s movement in our community,  as there have been some pretty powerful developments.  Today I’d like to highlight a few of these and share with you a key next step.

First, New Hope has experienced transformation in our worship. This includes new Pastoral leadership in Pastor Rebecca, an intentional strong bible teaching focus, and increased technology use such as digital media and online podcasting, our worship services have grown.  Second, New Hope has experienced transformation in leadership development through the commissioning of a new church leadership model called the accountable leadership board. This new board structure consists of 11 church members representing the following key functions:  Finance, Trustees, Staff/Parish Relations, Worship, Communications, Missions, Family and Children’s Ministries, and Lifelong Discipleship. The names you see here are the members our community had prayerfully voted into the leadership board at the last Church Charge Conference in October 2015.  Third, New Hope has experienced transformation in inviting with increased social media presence as well as increased word of mouth invitations.

Celebrating Growth

God is very good and we would like to take a moment to celebrate how God is working through all of you and the ministries here at New Hope. In the last few years we have grown from an average of 39 worship attendees, 2 regularly meeting small groups, and a youth Sunday School attendance of 8 students to an average of 115 worship attendees, 7 regularly meeting small group studies (with several more short term groups that meet in between) and a youth Sunday School attendance of 21.  Our stand alone outreach events, such as Vacation Bible School, quadrupled in attendance and most recently we’ve hosted a women’s retreat that far exceeded our attendance expectations. Again, God truly is good.

The leadership board has been meeting monthly to review standing church business. However, in the new accountable leadership board structure, standing church business includes intentionally setting aside specific time to explore, as a discernment group, where God is leading our New Hope community in faith and ministry.  Through prayer and book study, we have been discovering our God-given call to serve one another and our community and more recently discovering ways to do that as faithful stewards of Christ’s church.

Gratitude for Blessings

Now for the exciting part.  When New Hope was launched 10 years ago, God not only blessed us with many dedicated disciples that made this present location a home, but we were also blessed with a gift from the WI United Methodist Conference of 10 acres of land that could be used as a place to build a “future home”.  As the leadership board has been prayerfully discerning God’s path forward for our New Hope community, we have had to face several realities with the most pressing one being that we have outgrown our existing space. Our nursery is busting at the seams on most Sunday Mornings with an average attendance of 12 in a space designed for 7. Our Sunday school classes have grown not only in number, but in age ranges to where we are now doing  “quick changes” of space after worship service to allow each developmental group to explore their relationships with Christ uniquely.  Your energy and hospitality have led to small fellowship groups that are meeting in these same spaces during the same times as other small groups – often competing for media use or being creatively challenged in volume control. We’ve outgrown this space.  This is both wonderful and challenging.

Early Options Research

The Leadership board has been reviewing the options to either expand in our current location or look to build on the 10 acres of land gifted to us by the WI United Methodist conference. Through exploration and discovery we have learned that our current church home, this existing site, while perfect for a small developing church, is an older building that would have many, many high cost remodeling challenges.  Along with remodeling, we would also continue to face the very real problem of a busy restaurant as our neighbor.  While it is fun to say “yep - we are that church next to the bar”, parking restrictions and attendee safety during evening events are a very real issue that we currently face and would continue to face. With our expanding youth programs and desire to offer a greater number of week night discipleship opportunities - expanding our current church space will not work.  

This then lead us to explore the 10 acres of land that was gifted to New Hope 10 years ago by the WI United Methodist conference.  [slide 7 – map] This slide shows a map of De Pere. The red star is where our church building is currently located, where we are all sitting right now.  The Red square is where the 10 acres of land is located.  10 years ago when the land was gifted to us it was believed that the demographic growth of Ledgeview would continue east - making this site a prime ministry location.  In reality, Ledgeview and De Pere have grown South, leaving the area of this 10 acres to continue to stay isolated and undeveloped. Because current economic development forecasts no longer look at this area as residential development in the foreseeable future, the Board does not believe that God is leading us in that direction either.


Next Steps

This is where the Leadership Board needs your help and participation. We are proposing 2 things:

  1. Commission 3 short term task forces that would focus on
    1. Clarifying our ministry to the community
    2. Identifying the best space for ministry
    3. Building finances to fund the ministry
  2. Sell the 10 acres of land.

Interested in Serving on a Task Force?
Fill out the form below or contact a member of the Leadership Board or Pastor Rebecca.

Name *
I'm interested in the following task force(s):

A small team of people have been working on evaluating space options.  This team has allowed the board to understand our options when it came to our existing location and the 10 acres of land that we own.  Because of the extensive work the team has done, we are confident bringing this information before you now.  This team would join 1 of the 3 task forces - the one identifying our space options.  The other 2 teams, ministry planning and funding will need to be established.  While all these teams will be lead by a current Leadership Board member, we are looking for your participation in any of the task forces you may be called to. If you are interested in joining one of the task forces, please see any of Leadership Board members or Pastor Rebecca.

Secondly - we are blessed to be in a prime time and market for selling the 10 acres of land for a premium dollar.  This sale would give us the start of our building fund.  Money is always one of those areas that make us squirm in our seats with uncomfortable discussions.  I am here to tell you that being transparent in our current financial state and the funding of our future is a top priority for the Leadership Board. The sale of the land would give us a substantial head start to establishing a building fund.