The following are questions many of you may be asking and we hope to answer. If you have a question not answered below, please contact us. We welcome your questions and feedback.
Who will be our lead pastor?
Andy will step into the full-time lead pastor role and Ann will step into the part-time associate pastor role. This transition has begun as Ann and Andy have already begun working. They will share preaching responsibilities and each guide vital ministries of the church such as mission, prayer, care, outreach, next generation, and adult discipleship with the help of ministry team leaders, both paid staff and lay leaders.
Where will we worship?
The primary location for worship and mission will relocate to the WUMC campus in late 2019 or early 2020. Worship will be offered on both campuses until that time.
Will worship times change?
Our initial plan is to offer contemporary worship services at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. in addition to a traditional worship offering at 11a.m. We may find that we need to adjust times of worship offerings over time to better accommodate guests and ministry. The leadership is committed to reviewing this on a regular basis and recommend adjustments as needed.
Will the messages be the same at all worship times?
The messages will be similar throughout all worship offerings, but both pastors will bring their own gifts and inspiration from the Holy Spirit into their messages.
What will remain the same?
Our mission to lead people to Jesus, and our compassion to serve the least and the lost will not only remain, but hopefully will grow, as this is a desire of both faith communities. We are all committed to fulfilling the great commission that Jesus left his disciples by making other disciples both locally and globally.
What happens to our current missions and outreach programs?
Our joint desire is to grow and expand our mission and outreach ministries. We will be discussing, evaluating, and consolidating when possible. Some current mission/outreach projects may cease, and new ones may emerge. All decisions will be based on prayerful discernment and the spiritual/mission needs of the community.
When will this merger officially take place?
With approval of both communities, the merger process has already begun. The church conference will formally recognize the merger upon our consolidating onto one campus. More details are provided further into this document.
What will be the name of our church?
This has not yet been decided. The leadership of both churches have come together in prayer and discernment and feel that as we come together, dream together, and vision together, we will decide on a new name together. We see the name evolving out of the visioning process, where a team will come together to focus on the overall vision of the church.
What will happen to my membership?
All professing members will have their membership transferred to the newly merged church.
What will happen to the existing leadership teams?
A new joint leadership team has been formed with equal representation from each merging church. The council comprises of 10 lay leaders, five from each church, and both pastors. The Finance, Staff-Parish, and Trustee committees serve under this new board and have equal representation from each church. This transitional leadership team has been asked to serve an initial six-month term with the option of an additional 12 months. This would provide 18-months of leadership continuity during the transition period.
When will new leadership team of the merged churches start?
The new leadership team has already begun, both at the council and individual committee levels. Their primary task is to lead us toward a fully integrated community of faith as we combine onto one campus by the end of 2019.
How will updates to facilities be financed?
Neither church will bring debt to the new merged church. Funding necessary to renovate any of the Woodstock campus will be approved by the new joint leadership team. We have been encouraged by the Methodist Conference to submit a proposal for grant funding to help with the renovation needs of the merger.
What is the timeline for this “marriage” merger?
The following are target dates and actions going forward:
- The overwhelming support and approval by vote on June 26 by both churches formally approved the merger and initiated the formal merging process to begin with new leadership.
- Joint fellowship, outreach, and mission opportunities are occurring as we get to know one another more fully.
- Task forces and the joint leadership team are working to develop timelines, transition plans, and integrating systems, budgets, and such.
- Vision work will commence with a joint leadership team.
RELOCATE:December 2019 – COAH Relocates to WUMC Campus
- The COAH and WUMC communities merge formally by consolidating onto the WUMC campus and celebrating Advent and Christmas together. In January through March 2020, worshipping, serving, and growing in discipleship will occur on the WUMC campus and leadership will evaluate adjustments needed to best serve our vision and mission.
RELAUNCH: Easter 2020 – “Going Public”
- We will formally launch as a new church with a big invite to the greater Woodstock community to join us in worship.
What is my role now that the churches are merging?
1) Get/Remain involved. Serve in the various mission and ministry efforts we commit to as a church; 2) Share your thoughts with our elected leadership as they are called upon to guide the decisions and actions of the church; 3) For professing members, consider serving in an elected leadership position as opportunities arise.
How will I have a voice now that the merger is happening?
Your voice remains a vital part of this combined faith community and the means of sharing your thoughts, engaging in ministry, and serving in leadership positions remains the same. We encourage you to continue to engage as God so leads you in the mission and ministries of this emerging faith community as well as the merging efforts that are underway.
What will the staff look like going forward?
We remain a servant/volunteer-driven faith community with the same, but now combined, staff as we had prior to the merger. Presently, the only change to staffing is the expansion of pastoral support with Ann assuming an associate pastor role and Andy assuming more of the lead pastor responsibilities. All other staffing roles remain unchanged at this time. We will hire and expand staffing roles as needed as the community grows and expands into additional mission and ministry endeavors.
What district of the NGUMC will we be affiliated with?
This remains to be determined and approved by the North Georgia Conference. During the merger process, we are relying on and blessed to draw upon the support of both our respective districts to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Now that both churches have approved the merger, is it official? Or are there more official steps to be taken?
It is official, we are merging. It will take several months to fully integrate and complete the merger process. An official press release has been approved for distribution beginning August 1.
How can I help to make this transition as smooth as possible?
First and foremost, your prayers for God to shine into and through the process are greatly appreciated. Pray also for the transitional leadership team as they begin to lay out the process and enable the entire community to engage in the transition steps needed in the months ahead. Lastly, seek ways you can engage and assist in the transition. There will be ample ways to put your God-given gifts to work in this process.