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REACH: A Multi-Campus Vision For Glen Ellyn Bible Church

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The REACH Vision:

In November 2021, the Elders cast a Multi-Campus Ministry vision for GEBC, one church meeting in multiple locations to REACH more people with the Gospel in DuPage County. We believe God has answered our prayers and given us clear direction in the adoption of Poplar Creek Church as our first campus.

Adopting Poplar Creek Church (PCC):

PCC is a smaller and struggling church and through adoption we will be bringing them into the GEBC family. We will work to revitalize the ministry at their location, on Schick Rd. in Bartlett. Revitalizing builds upon the work of former PCC generations and mobilizes GEBC to reach others with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

PCC is a congregation of 60-80 people, they have a modern building on 9 acres of land. They are surrounded by growing and thriving neighborhoods. We can provide the much needed resources, vision, leadership, and structure to revitalize this church. Our goal is that by January 1, 2023 PCC will officially become a campus of GEBC and in order to make that happen we all need to get involved.

The REACH Capital Campaign:

The adoption of PCC comes at cost. The turning over of the facility and property to GEBC will require us to take on all the assets but also all the liabilities, including $1.4 million in debt tied to the property. While that is not a small amount of money, it’s important to keep some things in perspective. First we are receiving an asset that is more valuable than $1.4Million. Second, we need to recognize that PCC has been doing ministry at this location for 30 years, which means it would take decades to grow a brand new campus to this level and would cost significantly more than $1.4 million over that time period. Third, PCC is currently taking in offerings each week to cover its operating costs, and we anticipate that to grow as the church is revitalized. Adopting PCC adds to our expenses, but it also adds to our offering income at the same time.

Dealing with $1.4 million in debt as we adopt PCC is not insurmountable. Our goal is to have all the funds needed to retire the debt at the time of adoption on January 1, 2023, so that we can continue in ministry debt free. Here is our vision to cancel this debt:

Utilize $700,000 from GEBC current cash reserves
Raise $600,000 from the GEBC congregation
Raise $100,000 from the Poplar Creek congregation

It’s exciting to partner with PCC in this fundraising effort. In their commitment to raise $100,000 towards retiring their debt, their elders have personally pledged $30,000.

Your Next Steps:

There are several ways you can get involved right now in this ministry effort:

  • Pray: for GEBC and PCC, pray for wisdom, courage and continued direction.
  • Visit: Go to PCC for worship this summer. Worship is at 10:00a on Sundays (300 E. Schick Rd. in Bartlett). The best way to understand the opportunity is to attend worship.
  • Join: Prayerfully consider joining the launch team aimed at revitalizing PCC. Contact pastoral staff if you are interested in serving this way.
  • Give: We are asking everyone who calls GEBC home to give to this effort. Please understand that this giving needs to be above and beyond your regular and ongoing giving to the general budget. Our elder board has already personally committed $89,000. 
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FAQ'S About the REACH Vision:What is multi-campus?

Multi-campus means that one church is meeting in multiple locations. Typically campuses are between 15-20 minutes apart.

How does multi-campus work?

Each campus has the same:

  • Mission - “Helping People Follow Jesus”
  • Philosophy of Ministry - the Disciple-Making Target (Proclaim, Restore, Equip, Send)
  • Theology - GEBC’s Statement of Faith
  • Budget - all campuses will be self-sustaining, and all money will go into a common fund.
  • Board - each campus will have a leadership team, one Elder board will govern all campuses
  • Staff - each campus will have dedicated staff, all staff will be employees of GEBC
  • Preaching Focus - each campus will have a preacher, all sermons will focus on the same passage
  • Administrative Offices - accounting, banking, human resources and IT will be centralized.

Why multi-campus?

Multi-campus is a proven disciple-making strategy! New Campuses…

  • reach more people
  • overcome geographical barriers
  • existing strengths
  • mobilzes volunteers (79% of multi-campus churches report an increase in leadership development)
  • expands outreach, while maintaining intimacy 

What makes a church a good candidate for multi-campus ministry?

  • Financially Stable - proven track record of generosity 
  • Strong Leadership  - both paid and volunteer
  • Solid Infrastructure - scalable “systems” that can support growth 
  • Mature and Growing staff - a deep bench in multiple areas
  • Ready Congregants - a deep bench of potential leaders 
  • Replicable “DNA”  - A disciple-making culture that can be reproduced

Why is GEBC a good candidate for multi-campus ministry?

Beyond meeting all the requirements for a successful candidate for multi-campus GEBC is ready because: 

  • We believe going is essential to disciple-making 
  • We have physical barriers to making more disciples at 501 Hillside 
  • We believe God has called us to increase our disciple making footprint
  • We have staff, lay leaders and congregants ready to do more  
  • We have the financial resources to fund this effort
  • We have a replicable DNA

What is GEBC’s replicable DNA?

  • Settled Theology 
  • Proven Philosophy of Ministry - The Disciple-Making “Target”  
  • Experienced Leadership 
  • Strong Sunday morning worship experience 
  • Demonstrated growth in giving 
  • Locally impactful compassion ministry (Care Center)
  • Multi-generational worship and programming
  • Healthy, growing and vibrant children’s and youth ministry
  • Organizational systems and structures
  • Dependence upon the Holy Spirit in prayer

Aren’t we putting at risk the good things happening at 501 Hillside by expanding?

  • Most churches experience an enhanced fruitfulness as a result of multi-campus ministry.
  • We expect phased and strategic growth and will give attention to quality control over the next few years in order to ensure continued disciple-making strengths at 501 Hillside.
  • Moreover, our attention to launching other campuses will not diminish the ministry, but will rather strengthen our strengths as we are increasingly called to rely upon God for his strength. 

Shouldn’t GEBC vote on whether to “do” the multi-campus ministry?

The members of GEBC vote twice a year. In November the membership votes on budget and in May the membership votes on Elders. The role of Elders is to cultivate and cast vision for GEBC’s disciple-making efforts, and it is the role of the staff to implement the vision and equip the saints for works of service (Ephesians 4:11-12).

How did GEBC come to consider adopting PCC as a possible campus?

In April 2021, the Elders of GEBC affirmed the vision for multi-campus ministry (i.e., becoming one church meeting in multiple locations). Toward this end, we began advertising for a campus pastor, and during that process PCC approached us about becoming a campus in November 2021. Since then the leadership of PCC and GEBC have met together many times in order to discuss, plan and prayer together for God’s leading.

Why does PCC feel this is a good option for them? 

During the last few years, PCC has had a season of leadership struggles, as well as vision and programming drift that have resulted in attendance decline and financial difficulties. They feel that partnering with a larger and more established disciple-making church will reinvigorate their growth, as well as provide leadership and financial stability. 

What is going well for PCC at this time?

PCC has a committed core of about 60 people, as well as a quality facility with substantial property in a strategic location for sharing the gospel with those in Bartlett. 

Why do the Elders of GEBC believe this is a good option?

The Elders of GEBC believe that adopting PCC would expand its disciple-making opportunities, as well as increase the potential for multi-ethnic ministry, and preserve an historic Christian witness in Bartlett. Further, the Elders believe that the current struggles that PCC  is facing match well with the leadership and ministry strengths of GEBC. We believe that as one church, we can help turn around the disciple-making effort in Bartlett.

Do we have professionals helping us with the process of adoption? 

Yes, GEBC has consulted with Jim Tomberlin the best and most well known expert in multi-campus ministry. We are following the adoption process he has established and covers in his book "Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work"

We have also hired David Bea, an attorney who specializes in church mergers. David is guiding us through all the legal steps and processes that need to take place. 

Are we going to both launch a new campus and adopt PCC?

No. Adopting and re-establishing the disciple-making effort at PCC will become our focus for the foreseeable future. 

What is PCC’s history? 

Founded in 1991, PCC is located in Bartlett on nine acres of land and currently has about 60-80 in attendance weekly. Located in an incredibly diverse and unchurched area, PCC is surrounded by 200,000 people in just a five mile radius. 

Will we change the name of PCC and GEBC?

Possibly. We are still evaluating the wisdom of a name change. PCC and GEBC both have historic names that are recognizable in their communities. At the same time, a name change might strengthen the multi-campus paradigm of disciple-making. Frankly, we are undecided on this matter, and being undecided we will not make any quick changes.

When did PCC acquire its debt and for what purpose?

The original loan was taken out in 2002 to build the current church building. The congregation moved into the current building in 2003. $1,570,000 of the original loan was refinanced in 2018. The current balance of the loan is $1,4M, with a balloon payment due in May, 2028. The current loan holder has agreed to refinance the balance in 2028 if PCC does not have the money to pay off the loan. 

What is the appraised value of the property? 

We ordered an appraisal of the property to be done by Renzi and Associates and a Sales Comparison Approach to Value was employed. Based upon their analysis, a fee simple market value “as is” of $1,520,000 rounded ($130.00 per psf of GBA) is indicated by the Sales Comparison Approach. The appraisal is of the "as is" real property only, and excludes business value, intangible assets, and personal property. The PCC property is property tax-exempt. 

What is the current giving at PCC?

PCC has on average 26 giving units weekly, and 91 total giving units annually. Their weekly offering goal is $6500 and they are currently covering their expenses. 

What will happen to the PCC elder board (PCC Shepherds)? Will there be any PCC elders on the GEBC elder board? 

The official caregiving and governance responsibilities of the Shepherds of PCC will be complete with the dissolution of the PCC. However, a campus leadership team will be created and we expect that some/all of the shepherd’s may serve in this capacity.  Eventually, we envision an Elder board that has a membership representing all campuses.

What will happen to the staff of PCC? Will they be retained?  

The current staff of PCC will be retained and enter a season assessment with an eye toward retention and/or reassignment. In the event that the staff of PCC are not retained or reassigned, they will be given a severance package and helped in the job search process. 

Will PCC members become GEBC members automatically/immediately? 

PCC members will be invited to participate in a short membership process tailored especially for them. 

What will GEBC do with the $1.4M of debt? 

GEBC hopes to raise the funds to pay off the debt of PCC at the time for adoption. We will use a combination of reserve funds, budgeted funds, and monies raised to do so. 

What are the demographics of the area surrounding the church?

The area surrounding PCC is significantly more diverse than the area surrounding GEBC. They currently have more people of color in attendance each week than does GEBC.

Given the ministry struggles and current needs of PCC, as well as the debt, does GEBC have what is needed to turn the ministry around? 

Yes. GEBC has a proven track record in doing the very things that we believe will help turn them around. 

  • Financially Stable - proven track record of growing in the grace of giving
  • Strong Leadership  - both paid and volunteer leadership is committed and stable
  • Solid Infrastructure - scalable “systems” that can support growth 
  • Effective programs - we have growing programs in all major age groups
  • Mature and Growing staff - a deep bench in multiple areas
  • Ready Congregants - a deep bench of potential leaders 
  • Replicable “DNA”  - A disciple-making culture that can be reproduced

Can the leadership and vision problems of PCC be overcome with the current paid staff and lay leadership teams remaining? 

While PCC staff and Elders have and will continue to play a key role in the adoption process, their current Elder board will be dissolved upon adoption and GEBC’s Elder board will begin immediately to shepherd the flock at PCC. A “Leadership Transition Team'' will be formed at PCC to help with the transition, and we expect that some or all of the current PCC elders will serve in this role. Eventually, we envision a single Elder board governing both campuses that has a membership representing all campuses.

The paid staff will be evaluated to determine their fit for long-term ministry. 

Will the deed for the property of PCC be transferred to GEBC?

Yes, GEBC will take possession and ownership of all PCC assets in the adoption. 

Does PCC have any missionaries? 

Yes, PCC supports several missionaries. 

How does the preschool program integrate into the church’s ministries?

The preschool program at PCC has little integration with the church’s ministries and we hope to strengthen that partnership for the sake of outreach. Currently, there are no families enrolled in the preschool that also attend the church.

Will the idea presented last year about bringing a pastor on staff change in light of the adoption of a church with a pastor already in place?

Yes. The process of adopting PCC, and evaluating the staff team there, has put on hold the process of searching for a campus pastor 

How will the PCC family learn and embrace the DNA of the GEBC culture and vision?  

Culture change is always a challenge, but we are planning some “cross pollination” activities (e.g. picnics), and will ultimately raise up a “reboot” team to help reinvigorate the ministries of PCC.

What part/s of the PCC and GEBC culture and vision are similar?

PCC and GEBC are both established churches with a strong family feel, and a genuine desire to reach their area with the gospel.