Riverview Church

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Originally posted 4th July 2017

Letter to the Riverview Church Family – Part 3

Hi Church, Aaron Gregory here. What a wonderful month June was in the life of Riverview Church. Our “Do Good” theme reminded us of our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, culminating in our REACH weekend where we gave over and above to ensure that we are able to support those locally and internationally who need practical help. It was an amazing result, with over $600,000 given. As Tim said this last weekend, it is encouraging that the recent financial challenges we have had will not be passed along to those who need us most.

The support from our Church community has been very heartfelt and this letter is an opportunity to provide a general update on our financial position. For those who came in late, the details of what has happened previously can be found here.

We are committed to transparency and openness as we take the church forward. Therefore the purpose of this letter is to:

  1. Provide a general and financial update on the current situation
  2. Explain the current Governance Review Process
  3. Provide an update on the process currently underway for selecting our new Senior Minister

General Update
Financial Update
Governance Review Process
Senior Minister Selection Process
A Word of Encouragement

          

General Update

Thanks

On behalf of the Board and leadership team, I would like to express our humble appreciation to you, our community, for your faithfulness and response during what has been a profoundly challenging season. You are demonstrating each week that this community is valued and worth fighting for.

A few months ago, I made the statement, ‘Make no mistake, we are fighting for the future of Riverview Church and your participation will determine the outcome’.

The response so far has been that yes, we do want to fight for our future. This is evidenced firstly by the fact that thousands still gather here each and every week celebrating God and finding community, and secondly by our financial giving, which has improved over the first quarter of 2017.

I was encouraged when in just one Sunday night service a few weeks ago, 40 people responded to a salvation call. Our REACH giving to our Trust (Community Services, Media, and Children’s Foundation) exceeded target by over 30%.

The Challenge

We are still in the middle of a challenging season. We no longer refer to it as a crisis as we can now see a way through. However, we still have a significant journey ahead and our community’s active participation is essential.

Therefore, I encourage you to continue seeking God as to what your contribution may be. Volunteering, giving regularly, hosting a connect group, whatever it may be, I ask that you be obedient to God and then be at peace, no matter how big or small your contribution is.

Current Leadership

Tim Healy has stepped into the role of Senior Minister remarkably well. He has demonstrated great leadership and continued a high level of ministry. Similarly, Liezl Healy has stepped in as the Executive Minister, overseeing Church finance and operations. She is demonstrating great diligence and care in leading the business of the Church forward. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank them both for their service and hard work.

Dorcas White

On behalf of the Board, I would like to honour Dorcas White for her 8 years of faithful service as Executive Minister of Finance and Operations. Dorcas has been a back-room leader, but make no mistake that her influence on this community has been as impacting as any of the leaders who stand on the platform. We are immensely grateful for all the sacrifice and investment that Dorcas, and her husband Rod, have provided Riverview Church.

          

Financial Update

Giving - Church

2017 05 tithe

Regular Giving to Riverview Church has been strong through April, May and June and sustaining this level of giving will be essential to ensuring we continue our return to financial health.

Through wise and prudent management of the budget we have reduced our operating expenses by 27%, of which 18% is a reduction in salaries and associated costs. This has allowed us to create much needed margin in the budget and begin building up cash reserves.

Giving - Trust

2017 05 trust

REACH weekend was a great success with $601,517.48 raised for projects and organisations supported through Riverview Community Services, Riverview Children’s Foundation and Riverview Media. 1089 bags of food, worth over $30,000, were donated through the “Fill the Pantry” initiative and $1,488.55 was raised by the children in Riverview Kidz.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to REACH this year and we pray that God will honour your sacrifice & commitment.

          

Governance Review Process

The Chairman’s Position

There is some confusion as to whether I have resigned as the Chairman or not. I did offer my resignation as a public symbol of responsibility and repentance as a Board member for what happened. In offering my resignation, I was not in any way wanting to quit or neglect my duties, rather I was holding my position with an open hand. Thus far, my resignation has not been supported or accepted. The wide-held belief has been that with such significant changes in executive leadership, the church needs stability from the Board. Therefore, until new leadership is established, I will remain the Chairman and at that time, it will be reviewed as to whether I am or am not the right person for this position. I love this church and am whole heartedly committed to its future.

The Board

The Board is meeting regularly to monitor the health and welfare of the Church, as we plan the way forward.

Last month, we commenced an external review of our Church governance. The review is being led by Glenn Bergsma of Evolve Leadership. Evolve Leadership will be facilitating the development of a good governance plan for the Board going forward. In short, we are actively building the capabilities necessary to ensure our future is safe-guarded at a level required for good, godly stewardship.

Advisors

We have now appointed 4 voluntary advisors to the Board, three of whom attend Riverview Church.

  1. Mark Turner, a member of the Church and a former Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers is well equipped to provide advice in corporate governance, leadership and financial management.
  2. Mal Cooke, a member of the Church and a lawyer, is well equipped to provide high-level organisational, leadership and risk advice. He is not expected to provide legal advice and should any legal advice be required; the Board will consult an independent legal firm.
  3. The other two advisors prefer to remain anonymous, but I can share that they include a successful business person and a professional corporate governance and strategy adviser.

As a Board, we have already seen the benefits from their input I would like to publicly thank them for their time, care and advice.

Board Members and Leadership

Rebuilding the Board is an essential step for the future. We are aware that with recent changes, we now need to restore a balance to both gender and ethnic representation.

We do not want to make too many permanent changes to the Board whilst we are still appointing new leadership, however to restore this balance in the immediate, we are establishing three Board sub-committees. They are,

  1. Church Finance and Operations;
  2. Spiritual Health and Leadership; and
  3. A selection committee for identifying our new Senior Minister.

          

Senior Minister Selection Process

Criteria & Timeline

Over the month of July, the sub-committee tasked with running the selection process for the new senior minister will establish the criteria for the selection based upon the findings from consultation with key members of our community.

The timeline for inviting prospective leaders to apply will commence the first week of August and our hope is that the process will be completed during September. Over the coming weeks, we will be spending time networking nationally and internationally to find suitable candidates.

Process

We will try to stay within our timelines, but to manage expectations, please understand that it is a complex process and may take longer. Our mandate however is to establish new leadership as soon as practically possible. Tim is not excluded from consideration, but as a Board, we are constitutionally bound to run a proper selection process. We must be certain of who we are and where we are going, so that we will know who the best person to lead us forward will be.

          

A Word of Encouragement

Three months ago, I called the church to prayer and fasting regarding our survival. I now renew that call to prayer and fasting over the next few months as we seek new leadership. We are confident that God has called the right woman or man and we need to pray God makes their appointment clear to all involved.

Parents, I encourage you to lead your family in prayer around the dinner table for our new leader and those making the decisions. Connect group hosts, I encourage you to lead your people to pray. All are welcome to gather with the church prayer team midweek and participate in the corporate prayer meetings we will promote in the coming weeks.

We choose to trust that today, God is truly with us and holds our community safe in His divine embrace, guiding our steps. Hope does not simply happen to us. We have to choose hope and keep choosing it every day.

In the midst of this challenging time, let us create a space where God can let something wonderful take place. Let us stay vigilant and surrender to the God who holds our future.

Aaron Gregory
Chairman of the Riverview Board
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