an agreement to sell our property to VIneyard Church of DuPage

Succession Planning
Seeking God's direction for the future of Evangel

Updated March 2016

Like many churches in America, the trend at Evangel for several decades has been one of steady decline in numbers and a contraction of demographics.  In the past decade there has been a notable shift from a wide age range, including families, to predominantly adults 50+ with no children at home. This decline has occurred despite numerous efforts to seek the Lord’s direction in reversing the trend. (More details are provided in several of the documents linked on this page).

Most critically for us now, Pastor Dave Tietjen indicated to Church Council in the fall of 2015 his desire to end his tenure at Evangel by late spring 2017, but with flexibility to adjust as the Lord directs the succession process. The timeframe allowed us to be as proactive and positive as possible. 

The desire of the Council has been that Evangel (in whatever form and by whatever name) should remain as a vibrant Gospel witness in the Wheaton/Winfield area. This primary objective has been embraced by the church as a whole in repeated expressions in numerous meetings ranging from small teams to the Planning Group to the entire congregation.

In the fall of 2015, Evangel began a process of succession planning. Three possible options were outlined: Realignment (merger), Renewal (pastoral search), and Retirement (sale).

CURRENT STATUS

On Sunday, March 19, the membership of Evangel voted to accept the "Basic Terms" of an agreement to sell our property to Vineyard Church of DuPage. The next step is for our Negotiating Team to work with VIneyard leadership and our attorneys to draft a legally binding sale Contract. We hope to accomplish this, along with outlining other details of the transition by the end of May (2017). At this time, it appears that Vineyard will move in and begin holding services sometime in August, with an official launch from the new site following Labor Day, in mid-September to early-October.

Some of the components of "passing the baton" to Vineyard include:

  • Evangel will cease being an active church and become a foundation, with proceeds from the sale supporting the "Evangel Missions Legacy Fund." The foundation, which is expected to operate for ten years under a self-perpetuating board of trustees, will continue to support our current missionaries, with enough resources to provide additional support to organizations and specific projects. Evangel will introduce its missionaries to Vineyard, to enable the continuation of a relationship with a local church in Wheaton and possible financial support in the future.
  • For the foreseeable future, Vineyard has agreed to continue the rental arrangements Evangel has with First Russian Baptist Church, EDGE (a home-school co-op), and Serve City (a sports ministry).

IMPORTANT DATES

  • May 7 (Sunday, 11:15 am) - BUSINESS MEETING: Membership vote on "end-of-work" pay for staff
  • May 21 (Sunday, 11:00 am) - OPEN FORUM: "Where should I attend church?"
  • May 29 - July 16 (Sunday worship, 9:30am) - "CELEBRATING EVANGEL" - sharing remembrances from Evangel's history
  • June 4 (Sunday, 11:00 am) - OPEN FORUM on sale documents and revision of Constitution and Bylaws
  • June 11 (Sunday, 11:00 am) - BUSINESS MEETING: Membership vote on sale documents
  • June 25 (tentative)(Sunday, 11:00 am) - BUSINESS MEETING - Membership vote on revised Constitution and Bylaws
  • July 23 (Sunday, 9:30 am) - FAREWELL WORSHIP SERVICE
  • July 30 (Sunday, 9:30 am) - JOINT SERVICE WITH VINEYARD CHURCH OF DUPAGE (tentative) - "Passing the Baton"

DECISION PROCESS

In the fall of 2015 a SUCCESSION PLANNING GROUP was called together by Evangel Moderator Stu Johnson to work with Church Council in guiding us through the succession process. The group was expanded to included all members of the Search Team and Prayer Team: 

Stephanie Bemister, Jim Erickson, Doug & Teresa Fogwell, Bill & Debby France, Larry Funck (Finance Manager)*, Alethea Funck, Angie Krc (Church Clerk)*, Linnell Laschober, Charlie Matthews (Properties Board Chair)*, Lee McCullough, Al Smith, Helen Read, Dave Sanders, Dave Tietjen (Senior Pastor, acting Worship Board chair)*, Jennie Tietjen (Community Care Board Chair)*,  and Gil Zinke (Educational Ministries Chair)* 

* Church Council member

The Planning Group has been used to assess options, provide feedback, and help steer the process. Periodic Open Forums have been held for congregational updates and interaction.

Along with the formation of the Succession Planning Group and Pastoral Search Committee, a PRAYER TEAM was also formed to act as intercessors for the Succession process and to encourage specific church-wide prayer efforts. The Prayer Team consists of Bill France, Linnell Laschober and Helen Read.

While we had engaged Converge MidAmerica for a pastoral search and formed a Pastoral Search Committee, that process stalled as the Lord opened other doors, first with a local church considering the development of satellite campus. When those talks closed after seven months of discussion, we received offers from two churches for the sale of the property. A NEGOTIATING TEAM was approved on October 30, 2016, consisting of Jim Erickson, Doug Fogwell, Debby France, Larry Funck, Stu Johnson, and Charlie Matthews. For five months, the Team worked with the first church to contact us, but those discussions ended in January, 2017 and we turned to Vineyard Church of DuPage, where those discussions have led us to the current state of agreeing to basic terms and working out a detailed Contract.

HELPFUL DOCUMENT ( pdf format)

Evangel Church Profile - a comprehensive document, in three sections:

  • Part 1: A Snapshot of Evangel—purpose and mission, beliefs, governance, ministries, trends
  • Part 2: Evangel's environment—location in Chicago area, where our people come from, demographics of area communities, our unique location in a church-rich environment, religious profile of Chicago area versus the U.S.
  • Part 3: Evangel's DNA—the values that Evangel holds, comments on each (history, critique, aspirations)

The Profile is the result of extensive work by members of the Planning Group from mid-December 2015 through early February 2016. It was completed and made available in booklet form in time for the Annual Meeting on February 14, 2016.