Board of Directors Confirmation Letter to Hosanna (January 28, 2019)
Dear Pastor Ryan Alexander,
This letter is to confirm Community of Hope’s commitment to moving forward with the adoption process that we began in August of 2017. We are excited about the possibilities that the future holds and believe that we will be better together.
As you are aware, our congregation gave a directive vote affirming this decision on January 14, 2019. The vote was 77% supporting Community of Hope’s Board recommendation to be adopted with Hosanna. Following that vote, Community of Hope’s Board met, gathered more information to address some statements in the “comment” section of the ballots, and ultimately came together on Sunday, January 27 to make a definitive vote on the recommended proposal to be adopted by with Hosanna.
The actual language of the motion is contained below. It contains a provision for adjusting the date of the legal transaction as necessary and acknowledges an area of importance in Phase 3 of this process, that of staffing transitions.
Adoption Vote: Al Anderson moved to approve the adoption with Hosanna based on the understanding that further work will be done on identifying roles and the full compensation plan with the CoH staff in Phase 3. Further, CoH board approves a delay of the legal transaction to be between May 1 and the end of June as needed by the two churches.
Amy Pahl seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.
On behalf of Community of Hope’s Board of Directors, we are looking forward to formally joining with Hosanna in the common purpose of expanding God’s kingdom. We are certain that our Lord will bless this step forward in unity and vision. We are committed to integration that continues to draw out the best in one another and further develops Hosanna’s mission to multiply the hope and heartbeat of Jesus!
Many blessings to you and our Hosanna family in the days and weeks ahead as we diligently walk the process of integration!
Living for Jesus!
Per Nilsen, Lead Pastor
Congregational Meeting: Audio Recording (1-14-19)
Congregational Meeting & Vote
Monday, January 14 | 7PM
*Kid Care Available through 5th Grade
To have final conversation about the proposed adoption of Community of Hope by Hosanna, and give a directional vote in assisting Community of Hope’s Board of Directors in their final decision making. Complete information from our entire exploration process is available at COHLC.ORG/Adoption, including audio recordings of meetings, frequently asked questions and copies of the letters sent to our congregation.
Voting will take place with a written ballot. Names will be required so we can receive the most accurate vote possible. This vote is a directional vote and is an important part of COH’s Board coming to their final decision. Anyone who regularly engages the ministry of Community of Hope can vote.
ABSENTEE BALLOT VOTING
Because of the important nature of this meeting, we request all who are able to join us in person. If that is not possible, please email Community of Hope’s Board of Directors at BoardofDirectors@cohlc.org or contact the church office (651-322-5679) to request a ballot. We request that you listen to the audio recording of the congregational meeting on January 14 prior to completing your ballot. All Ballots must be returned by January 18.
Adoption Timeline Update:
- August 2017 — Adoption Letter of Intent from Hosanna! is received by CoH Board
- November 2017 — CoH Board votes to explore adoption by developing a Merger Exploration Team (MET)
- Late Feb 2018 — Hosanna! and CoH Board and Leadership Teams meet to begin exploration process. Merger Exploration Team (MET) formed
- Exploration work continues
- August 2018 — MET submitted report affirming the benefits of Hosanna adopting Community of Hope and merging the two churches
- November 2018 — Community of Hope Board, Staff Leadership Team and Pastor Per formalize their support for the MET report and movement toward Community of Hope being adopted by Hosanna
- January 14, 2019 — Congregational Meeting with directional vote on the proposed adoption/merger between Hosanna and Community of Hope
- January 21, 2019 — Community of Hope’s Board of Directors finalizes the decision concerning the adoption/merger
- February 2-3, 2019 — (If the vote is affirmative) -Hosanna votes on adopting Community of Hope. (Hosanna recently adopted Rejoice Church in Northfield with an exciting 93% approval. Rejoice has seen a 10% increase in weekend participation since formalizing their adoption by Hosanna.)
- April 1, 2019 — (If the vote is affirmative) Community of Hope legally becomes adopted by Hosanna. Peder Eide begins his new role as Campus Pastor
- May 5, 2019 — (If the vote is affirmative) Launch weekend for Hosanna|Rosemount Campus
CoH/Hosanna! Merger Exploration FAQ’s #2 (December 5, 2018)
From the beginning of this process in August of 2017 we have been working diligently to clarify the responses to as many questions as possible. There are multiple documents online that contain responses. This document will be added to those to paint as complete a picture as possible. You can see all documents at COHLC.ORG/Adoption.
Since our last Town Hall Forum in August, we have been working to address the primary questions/points of concern that have emerged. Here they are in no particular order.
1) What will happen with Wednesday evening programming?
Wednesday evening programming will remain consistent through May of 2020. Adjustments may be made after evaluating the present Wednesday evening format. This level of evaluation occurs every year with Community of Hope and adjustments are made accordingly.
2) What will happen with summer programming like VBS, Camps, etc?
The intent is for summer programming to remain consistent through May of 2020. Ongoing evaluation of program effectiveness will occur.
3) What will happen with CoH’s staff?
All staff will be offered a position at their present pay scale and, for most, a similar role. During 2019 all staff will be evaluated. Community of Hope goes through a similar process of annual staff review.
4) Who will be CoH’s Campus Pastor?
Peder Eide. Peder has been walking through a discernment process surrounding the Campus Pastor role. That process has been completed and Peder will become the Campus Pastor if Hosanna formally adopts CoH. We will work with Hosanna to fill the worship leadership role that Peder will vacate.
5) What will Community of Hope be named post adoption?
Hosanna|Rosemount. We will continue to use “A Community of Hope” tagline for the near future in local communication.
6) Will the video streaming be similar to what we experienced in October with Danny Silk?
Yes, but the picture quality of the big screen will be enhanced so that there is consistency between all screens. Importantly, most of the feedback we received from the Danny Silk video message was quite positive. Hosanna’s model will move toward video streaming 50%-75% of the time. The use of video streaming has become common in churches using a multi-site model. There are three reasons: 1) Consistency in message. 2) Quality of message. 3) Frees preachers to lead in other areas. A difference between Hosanna’s model and other local churches using this model is others use video closer to 90%-100% of the time.
7) What will happen to Pastor Per’s role?
Pastor Per will begin overseeing all Hosanna’s campus pastors and will have the task of developing campuses. In addition, he will be part of the regular preaching rotation and will assist Peder Eide in his transition to Campus Pastor. Peder Eide would formally become campus pastor on April 1, 2019.
8) Will Community of Hope continue to be a smaller church?
Yes. Unless the Holy Spirit directs otherwise, Hosanna’s intent for campuses is that they are community based and moderate in size. Keeping a high hospitality, family friendly, community connected church is important to everyone.
9) Who will lead CoH’s Youth Ministry and Kids Ministry?
Our kids and youth campus team leaders will continue to be Scott Schoaf, Karyn Westermeier and Socheat Chum. All Hosanna’s campuses, including CoH, will continue to be led by campus specific leaders in each area of designated ministry. While the vision, direction, and overall scope will be “led” by the central team, the campuses will be represented and ministry implemented by respective staff.
10) How will Community of Hope be represented at a Board Level?
If the adoption is approved by both Hosanna and Community of Hope, Community of Hope’s Board of Directors will draw to a close on March 31, 2019. There will be one member of Community of Hope’s Board that will join Hosanna’s Vision Board until the next election cycle (Fall of 2019) In addition, each of Hosanna’s Campuses, including CoH, will be forming a “Campus Bridge Team.” The Campus Bridge Team will consist of the campus pastor and two members of the local campus. The Campus Bridge teams from all the campuses will connect to discuss and give input toward healthy campus functioning. The Campus Bridge Team, through the campus pastor, will also be able to provide direct encouragement and feedback to the Staff Executive Team, regarding their specific campus.
11) How will this vote take place?
When we gather on January 14th, we will gather in worship, prayer and have our final conversation about the adoption proposal. Voting will be by written ballot. Names will be required to give an accurate vote count. This vote is a directional vote and is an important part of CoH’s Board of Directors coming to a final decision.
12) Will there be an absentee ballot option?
Yes. More details to come.
I recognize that we simply cannot answer all questions. Whenever you bring people or organizations together (adoption, marriage, merger, etc.) there will some things that can only be learned with time and experience. That is where faith and commitment come into play. I wanted to respond to these questions particularly because they emerged in the August Town Hall meeting and as I spoke with those who had sent in formalized questions/concerns.
Congregational Letter from Pastor Per (Sent December 5, 2018)
Members and Friends of Community of Hope,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth!
In the next pages, I’m looking forward to sharing my heart with you surrounding two important issues and some exciting news about Peder Eide. The issues are:
1) My position on the proposed adoption by Hosanna and merging of our congregations.
2) Further clarity about programming and staffing questions surrounding that adoption. (See attachment.)
This past summer we began a very important conversation focused on a proposed adoption/merger of Community of Hope by Hosanna Lutheran Church. This adoption would mean that Community of Hope would formally become part of Hosanna in every aspect of ministry and operations. Since bringing this to the church in June of 2018 there have been great questions asked and conversations undertaken with many of you. The desired outcome of those questions and conversations has been to bring as much clarity as possible in preparation for the directional vote on the proposed adoption.
I’ve been privileged to serve Community of Hope since planting the church in 2002. I love this church! I’ve led in seasons of great excitement and great challenge. In my heart, this is a season of great excitement!
From the beginning of this process, I have conveyed a personal discipline of gathering information, engaging dialogue, listening to perspectives, and seeking the Lord’s counsel prior to sharing my full opinion. I have been living with the questions and seeking wisdom on this matter of being adopted by Hosanna and merging the two congregations since the proposal by Hosanna came before CoH’s Board in August of 2017. Along with me, CoH’s Board and Staff Leadership Team have been pushing and prodding this opportunity and placing it before the Lord for well over a year. Through all the dialogue, reading, gaining outside perspective and seeking God’s counsel I have reached a place where I am ready to share my pastoral perspective along with the reasons why.
I enthusiastically support CoH being adopted by Hosanna and merging the congregations. In addition, CoH’s Board of Directors supports the report from the Merger Exploration Team recommending adoption, and our Staff Leadership Team (Peder Eide, Nic Stevens, Scott Schoaf, KZ Koboski, Per Nilsen) stands in support of the adoption/merger as well. Though individuals express concerns in some areas, we see the benefits far outweighing the negatives.
A key element to my decision making was finalizing the role of campus pastor. I’m thrilled to announce that Peder Eide will be the campus pastor if the adoption is approved. Peder has been walking through a discernment process for the past two months and is excited and humbled about the possibility of serving in this capacity.
My 12 primary reasons for supporting this adoption are as follows:
1-Fulfilling Our Vision! Community of Hope has a vision “to bring the good news of Jesus to 1,000,000 unchurched people every 20 years.” Coming together with Hosanna creates a broader reach for the fulfillment of that vision. Hosanna’s vision of “Multiplying the hope and heartbeat of Jesus” aligns perfectly with CoH’s vision.
2-God Blesses Unity. (See Psalm 133:1-3) Adoption/Merger is a bold step in unity.
3-Succession Planning. By every measure, there is a shortage of leaders with broad skill sets in the church today. The issue is not just short-term in finding a pastor or other ministry leader, but long-term succession planning. Google search “Star Tribune Church Leadership” for a good article with more insight into this matter. Merging with a larger body best positions us for long-term succession planning through Hosanna’s internal resourcing and attraction for high-quality leaders. I also had to acknowledge that bringing in any given pastor as a succession plan, no matter how many skill sets he/she carries, will not come close to the pool of talent, wisdom, and leadership resourcing that Hosanna has to offer.
4-Cultural Consistency. “Change is the only constant.”-Heraclitus of Ephesus, 535BC-475BC. We all know this to be true. Hosanna and CoH carry very consistent spiritual DNA. By merging ministries, our ability to maintain long term cultural consistency is enhanced. In this way, intentional change actually minimizes change in the most important elements of who we are as a church.
5-Community Engagement With Stronger Resourcing. The campus model of ministry places a high value on relational connection and community engagement. Community of Hope is a vital ministry in the community. Adoption allows for a natural and intentional expansion in resourcing to more substantially engage the community.
6-Staff Doing What They Do Best. Community of Hope’s staff is remarkably gifted. Because we are a smaller church they quite often find themselves stretched thin because of the need to do program development, administration, set-up/tear down, etc. Hosanna’s centralized functions will tend to most of those ministry aspects allowing our staff to be focused on people and ministry; in other words, doing what they do best.
7-Staff Benefits. Hosanna provides a level of staff support in the area of finances and benefits that CoH has been unable to provide because we are a smaller church with a smaller budget.
8-Mutual Benefit. Whenever two bodies intentionally come together there is mutual benefit. That thought is at the center of the covenantal relationships described in the Bible. Hosanna sees the opportunity to learn from Community of Hope in the areas of community engagement, mission focus, streamlined decision making, etc. The senior leadership of both churches firmly believe that we are better together.
9-Long Term Stewardship of Resources. While there are costs involved in this adoption process, our ability to centralize many functions and minimize duplicate functions provides the best stewardship of resources.
10-Leadership Commitment. If the adoption/merger is approved I am excited to work with Peder Eide in his new role of Campus Pastor. I will be directly supervising Peder and continuing to walk with Community of Hope as it engages the local mission field.
11-Strategy to Reach the Unchurched. The multi-campus strategy Hosanna is engaging is one that optimizes resources while simultaneously engaging specific community cultures and the needs of those communities. It has been an effective strategy for numerous churches locally and across the nation.
12-I Believe in and Trust Pastor Ryan Alexander and the Team at Hosanna! I’ve had the privilege of connecting with Hosanna since 1997. I believe in their vision and the integrity with which they engage that vision.
These are the primary reasons I strongly support and am excited about Community of Hope being adopted by and merging with Hosanna. I recognize that drawing two churches together in this manner will have some points of tension and will need to work through some unknowns. That is the nature of adoption, marriage, merger…anytime two people or organizations come together for a larger purpose. Some people say, “The devil is in the details.” I don’t believe that to be true. I believe God is in the details and I can’t wait to see God revealed in ways never expected.
As lead pastor of Community of Hope, here’s what I’m asking of you.
1-Continue praying for Community of Hope, Hosanna and the discernment process we are walking through.
2-Continue asking questions. At CoH we live by the phrase, “Clarity brings confidence.” We will answer all the questions we can, and we’ll tell you if we don’t know the answer.
3-Finally, I’m asking that you trust Community of Hope’s leadership and follow the direction we are pointing by giving an affirmative vote to the adoption/merger with Hosanna. Our final conversation and directional vote is on January 14, 2019. Join us in taking this step of faith. I believe we are better together.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me or CoH’s Board with any questions. Our commitment is to bring as much clarity as possible to the questions/concerns you have. To that end, please read the attached document. You can also contact the Board at email@example.com, or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the peace of God rule in your heart as we continue this journey of faith together!
Per Nilsen, Lead Pastor
Town Hall Forum #2: Audio Recording (August 21, 2018)
CoH/Hosanna! Merger Exploration FAQ’s #2 (August 21, 2018)
Is there more information about a name change for Community of Hope?
There would be a name change and Hosanna is open to options that would include “Community of Hope” in the name. Although no final decisions have been made, one option could be “Hosanna Rosemount: A Community of Hope.”
Is there a way we can test what video streaming will look like?
Technology has changed significantly since our last times using video sermons at Community of Hope (COH). Use of video teachings have become much more common for churches. We are working with Hosanna to schedule a Sunday where the message is live streamed using updated technology. The date we are looking at is October 21 with Danny Silk (Author of “Keep Your Love On”).
Will Community of Hope lose its identity?
This is a difficult question to answer because of what people mean by “identity.” Most often people define “identity” by what they like. So, there is a lot of personal preference involved in answering this question. Also, COH has changed much over the last 16 years. We are not the same church today as we were 10 or even 5 years ago. There have been significant changes to our staff and how we engage ministry. The community and world around us are different places then they were in 2002. However, there are some continued identity themes still present:
- *Smaller Church: From day one an aspect of COH’s vision has been to grow to 3 worship services of 400-500/worship service. That’s the maximum capacity we can handle on this property. This goal is consistent with Hosanna’s desire to have smaller, community-focused campuses.
- *Community Engagement: COH does this really well and Hosanna wants to learn from us so they can do a better job of developing campuses with a particular community focus.
- *The People: The original language the Bible uses to define church is “the people”. People have always shaped the identity of the church. You are the church. If you don’t go anywhere, this part of COH’s identity won’t change.
- *Innovation: Part of COH’s ongoing identity is a willingness to be innovative with how we live out our mission to grow God’s Kingdom. Our ability to adapt to change quickly has allowed us to take big leaps forward with the quality and types of ministry we are able to provide. This merger is another chance for us to live out thoughtful and Kingdom-focused innovation.
- *Good to Great: Conversations on moving ministry and systems from good to great has been a focus of the staff at COH for many years. This small piece of our identity allows us to explore all the areas in which a merger would be able to move us from good to great.
Do Community of Hope and Hosanna have a consistent vision?
Yes! This is one of the main reasons we are engaging this exploration conversation. Both COH’s and Hosanna’s missions focus on multiplication. Practically, both churches are intentional about helping people grow in faith, reaching the churchless, empowering the powerless, and living out Biblical unity.
Why did we do an Upgrade if we knew this was going to happen?
We didn’t know there was going to be a statement of intent from Hosanna prior to beginning our building Upgrade. We began talking about the need for a building renovation in the spring 2016 and began fundraising in the fall 2016. The proposal from Hosanna didn’t happen until August 2017, which aligned with the original completion of our Upgrade project.
What are the benefits of merging now?
- *Present Position: We are able to engage this conversation from a position of strength, where both churches are able to bring their best to benefit the other.
- *Systems: As a larger church, Hosanna has systems for resources, training, ministries, personnel, care for grounds, building maintenance, etc. that COH simply doesn’t have.
- *Programs/People Focus: Instead of having to focus on developing materials or other mechanical points of tension, our program staff will have more freedom to focus on developing relationships, invitation and making disciples who make disciples.
- *Ministries: We would have immediate access to Hosanna’s many ministries and they would have access to ours. This includes Marriage Ministry, retreats, mission trips, conferences, etc.
- *Staffing: Our staff will be able to access stronger benefits packages, and Hosanna’s salary/hourly base is generally stronger than COH’s. Additionally, there will be peer to peer support and integration for our staff.
- *Perceived “Competition”: Hosanna will be locating a campus in the Rosemount/ Farmington area. Merging eliminates the perception of competition between churches.
- *Succession Planning: At a time when finding good church leaders is growing more and more difficult, being in a campus relationship minimizes the impact of and risks involved with pastoral transition. When replacing staff, we would have a broader pool of candidates that have directly proven themselves as high quality leaders with high character that would align best with COH’s mission and identity.
How will this help us in reaching the 150,000+ unchurched people in the south metro?
- 1. It will position us in a larger strategy to reach the unchurched in the south metro. (see below)
- 2. It frees up COH’s staff to focus more on ministry implementation and people development.
- 3. It allows our staff to use gifts most effectively, thereby engaging unchurched people and discipling the churched in the most effective manner.
- 4. It allows us to apply the best of Hosanna’s resourcing here while still engaging the best of COH. It also allows Hosanna to have access the best of COH’s strengths.
- 5. It provides a larger point of program accessibility and attraction in our reach area.
- 6. It will move us toward excellence (good to great) in many ministry areas.
- 7. It will help Hosanna be more intentional about missional engagement in a given community/culture.
- 8. It will push us out of our comfort zone. Stepping away from what is comfortable can often be the best way to revitalize ministry focuses.
- 9. It will provide greater accessibility to people who already have a marginal connection to Hosanna but live in Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, southeast Eagan, Rosemount, and northeast Farmington.
- 10. The Lord will bless this type of unity (Psalm 133).
What is Hosanna’s ministry strategy?
- 1. Hosanna believes their unique “Three Stream” expression of Christianity can and will enhance God’s Kingdom in the south metro. The Three Streams of Christian Expression are Evangelical, Spirit Filled, and Sacramental. Community of Hope carries that same expression.
- 2. Hosanna is called to a Multi-Campus model where a larger resource base is invested in community/culturally-oriented churches.
- 3. Hosanna is in the process of exploring two mergers in support of this model: Rejoice, Northfield; Community of Hope, Rosemount.
What does it look like moving forward with exploring this merger?
Step 1: Merger Exploration Team (MET) finishes its work
Step 2: MET reports to COH’s and Hosanna’s Board
Step 3: COH will have a Directional Vote as input for the Board later this fall
Step 4: COH’s Board will make a final decision regarding the merger
Who can I talk to if/when I have questions or concerns about merging with Hosanna?
Please continue to ask questions and engage in conversation! Details regarding this merger exploration can be found at COHLC.ORG/Town-Hall-Forum. Please send your questions and comments to COH’s Board of Directors (email@example.com).
Town Hall Forum #1: Audio Recording (June 7, 2018)
CoH/Hosanna! Merger Exploration FAQ’s #1 (June 7, 2018)
What is the Merger Exploration Team? How was it formed?
The Merger Exploration Team was formed to explore the benefits and challenges of drawing the two congregations together. It consists of 5 CoH and 4 Hosanna! representatives. Members of the Merger Exploration Team were invited by the co-chairs of the team, Jennifer Ford from Hosanna and Heidi Olson from Community of Hope. The team has been meeting with staff from each church exploring similarities and differences in systems and will be presenting a report and recommendation to the Boards of both churches in August of 2018.
Will CoH get “big” like Hosanna!?
Hosanna’s Campus model focuses on smaller, midsized worshipping communities in local settings. Hosanna! supports CoH’s vision to expand one more time on this property to a 600-700 seat worship center. That’s the maximum size parking requirements will accommodate.
Can CoH continue to invest in the mission organizations we have focused on for the past years; Athletes in Action, Inner City Church of Minneapolis (ICCM), The Master’s Institute, Feed My Starving Children, and Missionary to China, Heidi Olson?
Hosanna! encourages maintaining those vital relationships and continuing to revisit our mission partnerships annually.
What will happen with staffing?
CoH’s staffing will remain intact with slight position modifications as needed. Both CoH and Hosanna! examine employee needs, conduct reviews annually and make staffing adjustments as needed. That process will continue.
Will Pastor Per still be our pastor?
Pastor Ryan Alexander would become the multisite congregation’s lead pastor. Pastor Per will continue to be present at CoH. He will also be part of Hosanna’s preaching team and would oversee larger executive functions in Hosanna’s organization.
Will the worship experience change? (UPDATED)
Hosanna’s worship flow and style is very similar to CoH. Peder Eide will become our Campus Pastor and we will begin discussions on hiring a new worship pastor. Hosanna’s current model for use of video teaching at campus sites is to have live preaching 25%-50% of the time, video teaching 50%-75% of the time.
Will CoH’s kids/youth ministry change?
Curriculum changes every year at CoH. Curriculum will be evaluated and a common curriculum will be employed. CoH’s kids and youth ministry staff will remain. Hosanna! places a greater emphasis on kids and youth worship experience and development, which we would be implemented at CoH.
Will Community of Hope’s name change?
Yes. Hosanna is in the midst of a rebranding process so no final decisions will be made until that process is complete. Hosanna’s present model for campus expansion is to carry the Hosanna! name and add the geographic location. If that continues the new name would ultimately be Hosanna! Rosemount.
Will this change anything in CoH’s partnership with Hope Fieldhouse?
Hosanna! is fully supportive of the way Community of Hope is engaging the larger Rosemount community with this project and sees it as a model for constructive community engagement in other locations.
A Brief Look at CoH/Hosanna’s History
● History before 2015—Hosanna! helped plant CoH, Similar DNA
● Summer 2015—Per explores a position in Florida, Hosanna prepared to support CoH
● Summer 2016—Board Presidents/VP’s/ Pastoral Leadership from Hosanna! and CoH meet to ask this question, “What would deeper partnership look like?”
● Regular Conversation between pastor Per and pastor Ryan, Read “Better Together”
● Fall of 2016-Spring of 2017—Hosanna! works with consultant. Recommendation made to expand the “campus” model of growth. Best location determined to be Farmington/Rosemount.
● Summer 2017—Hosanna! gives worship support to CoH, pastor Per gives preaching support to Hosanna!, KZ Koboski is employed by CoH and contracting with Hosanna!
● August 2017—Merger Letter of Intent from Hosanna! is received by CoH Board.
● November 2017—CoH Board votes to explore merger by developing a Merger Exploration Team
● Late Feb 2018—Hosanna! and CoH Board and Leadership Teams meet to begin exploration process. Merger Exploration Teams formed.
● Exploration work continues.
● August 2018—MET will send a report and recommendation to both Hosanna and CoH Boards for consideration.
● October 2018—Hosanna and CoH Boards and congregations will make decisions about proceeding with recommendations.
Congregational Letter (Sent May 22, 2018)
Friends of Community of Hope,
We had a remarkable Celebration Sunday this past weekend. We celebrated a church passionate for Jesus, a church that is “all in” for Jesus’ mission. Twenty-three individuals either affirmed their baptism or were baptized for the first time. Their stories convey the transforming power of God’s kingdom…a kingdom we have been called to expand.
To that end, I’d like to personally invite you to a Town Hall Forum, June 7 at 7pm. We have received a proposal from Hosanna!, Lakeville that our Board of Directors is presently considering.
Hosanna! has been a significant partner in ministry since Community of Hope was planted in 2002. Hosanna! was one of four churches that invested resources to give birth to CoH. Because of significant similarity in spiritual DNA, we have partnered together in a variety of ways since that time, and have intentionally worked to strengthen ministry relationships with Hosanna! over the past 4 years. Particularly, Pastor Ryan Alexander and I have asked the question, “How can we deepen our partnership with the outcome of being better together?”
Two years ago, Hosanna! went through a re-visioning process with a consulting group that resulted in a vision to “Multiply” God’s kingdom through developing multiple campuses. Based upon demographic and population growth studies they determined their next campus should be in the Southeast metro, specifically Rosemount or Farmington. Instead of forging ahead and planting a campus, they asked another question: Could we combine resources with another vibrant ministry with similar DNA to multiply kingdom impact?
This past August, after much conversation and prayer, Hosanna! submitted a proposal to CoH’s Board of Directors to consider bringing the two churches together in a formal manner. CoH’s Board of Directors voted to explore that proposal. Since late February of 2018 teams from CoH and Hosanna! have been working to examine the opportunities and challenges of the proposal. These teams will bring a combined recommendation to both Community of Hope’s Board of Directors and Hosanna’s Vision Board by August of 2018. We have named these teams “Merger Exploration Teams (MET).”
One of the first things the MET determined is to use the language of “adoption” when talking about the potential merger of resources. That language fits well for two very important reasons. First, “adoption” is a Biblical concept. Through Jesus we are adopted into the family of God. Secondly, adoption acknowledges the unique history, culture and gifts of all parties and seeks to integrate them well.
An essential part of this process is for you to hear firsthand the vision that Hosanna! and CoH are considering, ask questions and give feedback concerning the proposal. Multiple points of conversation will be important as we seek God’s heart in this matter. Finally, there will be a congregational vote to assist in giving direction to any final decision our Board of Directors will make. We hope to have that vote and clarity of direction by the end of October 2018.
So, please do join us on June 7, 7pm, at CoH for this important conversation. The meeting will be led by me; Pastor Ryan Alexander (Hosanna!); Heidi Olson (CoH Board President and lead for CoH’s MET); and Jennifer Ford (Hosanna! staff member and lead for Hosanna’s MET).
We look forward to seeing you there on June 7, 7pm. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 651.322.5679.
Living for Jesus!
Per Nilsen, Lead Pastor
Please send all questions and comments to our Board of Directors (email@example.com).