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6/17/2019 Moving Forward Update

Sunday, July 14, 10:30 am Worship will be Pastor Markle’s final Sunday with us as Lead Pastor. Save the date and plan to join us in celebration of Pastor David Markle and his faithful service to his Lord and to the Park Place congregation. A celebration lunch in his honor will follow worship in the Fellowship Hall. It is very important to RSVP for the luncheon by Friday, July 5 in the Narthex on Sundays, by calling the church office, 642- 0216, or by emailing

As Servant Leadership Board member, Ethan Harting, said on Sunday there’s a lot of information to share with you in this update!  If you would like to review previous Updates, visit our newly revamped website @

First, we want to let you know that Laura Poole has joined the Lead Pastor Search Team.  This addition was made so that our congregation’s demographics are more fully represented.  The Lead Pastor Search Team meets on Monday evenings.  Please continue to keep the search process and the Search Team in your prayers.  Members are Lolly Bargerstock, chair, John Pistole, Blake Janutolo, Steve Fridley, Leah Helvering, Julie Short, Laura Poole, and David Sebastian.  


At our Mid-Year Meeting on June 9, 2019, the Church’s Annual Budget was presented and voted upon.  The vote was 88 Yes; 3 No; and 1 Abstention. 

On the ballot there is space for comments and we want to acknowledge these:

·       There was a question concerning if a quorum was present at the meeting.  Our Bylaws state the following: “Seventy-five (75) members in attendance, registered and eligible to participate, shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business at any regular or special meeting of the corporation.”

  • Other comments:

o   Concern with the reduction of the outreach budget; Bob Edwards indicated that the combined Outreach and Faith Promise budgets total 11%, Outreach Team members are Gwen Johnson, Blake Alford, Kathy Simpson, Graeme States, Kirsten Streit-Harting, Pastor Markle and Andrew Gale.  The Team has formulated a working mission statement/strategy: Park Place Members will be the hands (the doing), the feet (the going) and the voice (the speaking) of Christ in our community and in our world.  The Team desires for Park Place’s outreach efforts to go deeper, not broader.  The Outreach Team is in agreement with the cuts to the outreach budget, because they believe in the need for a balanced budget.  No reduction is being made in Living Link supports. The two main reductions in outreach are from amounts given to Indiana Ministries and Church of God Ministries (national office). 

    • Provide more details about the budget (several commented on this as well as getting it more in advance of the meeting)

    • Praying for growth and continued giving

A Preaching Team has been formed.  Serving on that Team are Andrew Gale, Courtney Rice-Alford, Gilbert Lozano, and MaryAnn Hawkins.  They will begin “filling the pulpit” on Sunday, July 28, preaching through the book of Ephesians.  The plan is for this series to run up to Advent.  David Sebastian will be preaching on Sunday, July 21, “New Beginnings,” Acts 19:1-10; John 20:19-23.

The Sacred Places team attended the first workshop of the program and are busy preparing for the second workshop, hosted at Park Place, on July 20.  The team reported that this is a great program and that they can see several benefits for our Church.  However, there is a lot of work involved and it seems overwhelming at this time.  Please pray for the team (and be ready to assist if asked).  Members are Kirsten Streit-Harting, Ken Nieman, Lori Dixon, Karen Soetenga, Don Boggs, and Marvin Ginn.

Pastor Josh is pleased to announce the formation of the Family Ministry Team. Members are Ben & Janell Flesher, Michaela Hammel, Kathy Simpson, Darlene Stafford, and Lydia Stanton-Roark.  Pastor Josh says, "I could not be more thrilled to serve alongside these amazing individuals. I believe they all bring unique gifts, talents, and experiences, and I can’t wait to help equip and empower them all to lead our church into this new chapter."

Engaging Young Adults -- Have you visited the Church's website lately? Through the Engaging Young Adult grant, we were able to contract with Fishhook, an innovative communications and creative services firm, to revitalize our website.  Check it out @


I am pleased to update you in this Moving Forward communication on our progress in the search for our next Lead Pastor and plans for an interim preaching team. In beginning the process, the Servant Leadership Board and Staff Ministry Team first consulted the Bylaws, specifically Article VI, Section 2 and Article VII, Section 3. Both Sections charge the Servant Leadership Board with establishing the process and supervising the process. Specifically these Sections read as follows:

Article VI, Section 2: Servant Leadership Role

#7.  Establish a process for calling the Lead Pastor, set that pastor’s compensation package and leave policy, and present the candidate’s name to the congregation for a corporate decision.

Article VII: The Lead Pastor, Section 3 – Calling and Tenure

The Servant Leadership Board establishes and supervises the process of search and selection of a candidate for the role of Lead Pastor.  Once a candidate is approved by the Board, it sets the proposed compensation package and leave policy, gains the willingness of the candidate to serve, and then presents the candidate to a meeting of the corporation.  The corporation, in a regular or special business meeting, must formally call the candidate by a seventy-five (75%) or more affirmative vote.

 The process decided upon is traditional in nature.  A Search Committee is formed and charged with identifying and recommending to the Servant Leadership Board a candidate for the Lead Pastor position.  The SLB will then schedule a time for the candidate to meet with the Staff Ministry Team and congregation.  This time of candidating will be followed by a business meeting during which a vote on the candidate will be held.

In selecting persons for the Search Committee, we (SLB & SMT) worked towards forming a group that would represent the Park Place congregation in gender, age, and theological diversity.  Along with Rev. Dr. David Sebastian as an ad hoc member, these six persons have agreed to serve –

  • John Pistole

  • Lolly Bargerstock

  • Blake Janutolo

  • Steve Fridley

  • Leah Helvering     

  • Julie Short

A joint meeting of the Search Committee, SLB, and SMT is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28.  A time of prayer and commissioning of the Search Committee is scheduled for Sunday, June 2.  

A complete description of the Lead Pastor position and the job announcement is available on the Park Place Church of God website. The position was posted to the Church of God Ministry Connector, a connecting tool for individuals seeking ministry opportunities and for Church of God congregations with open positions, on Friday, May 10, and the description and job announcement has been shared with 20+ individual Pastors, Executives in the Church of God, and educators.  If you would like to recommend a possible candidate for the position, please do so in writing to the Search Committee using the email address noted in the job announcement ( or through the Church Office.

Plans for an Interim Preaching Team of 4-5 individuals are beginning to come together and will be shared soon.


Park Place Church of God has been accepted into the Indiana Landmarks Sacred Places Project!  This program “...trains congregations to fundraise—not the traditional fish fry model—and harness their houses of worship for outreach and growth.”

  • The program selects up to ten congregations for intensive training in landmark stewardship, community engagement, and fundraising.  Following the training, congregations are eligible to compete for Sacred Places Indiana grants for planning and capital improvements.

  • Park Place Team: Kirsten Streit-Harting, Lori Dixon, Ken Nieman, Karen Soetenga, and Don Boggs 

Rev. Dr. David Sebastian, experienced in pastoral transitions (with twelve churches), has agreed to be our Interim Consulting Pastor during the time we will need to take to engage our next Lead Pastor. This will include oversight for and service to the Search Committee; consult for SLB and SMT; and consult for Pastor Markle in his remaining time with Park Place.   

During the next few months and for the interim period after Pastor Markle’s last day, the SLB has asked Pastor Carma Wood to take on the additional role of Interim Executive Pastor; she will continue in her current role as Worship and Arts Pastor, too.  Generally speaking, an Executive Pastor oversees a church's operations, administration, finances, and human resources to achieve the church’s mission and vision. Executive Pastors lead and oversee the church staff.  At Park Place many of these responsibilities have been with the person serving as Lead Pastor with the assistance of other members of the Staff Ministry Team. Pastor Carma will be meeting regularly with staff members and overseeing the church’s operations; when questions arise, she will be the go-to person with the Chair of the SLB “on call” as needed. It is with Pastor Markle’s encouragement that we move forward with this appointment. 

The newly reformed Outreach Team met for a half-day Retreat and Andrew Gale led as facilitator. During this time they focused on beginning steps in the development of a Mission Strategy.  Another 2-hour retreat is to be held within the next month.  Names of team members are -- Bob Edwards/team leader, Gwen Johnson, Kathy Simpson, Graeme States, Blake Alford, David Markle, Andrew Gale, and Kirsten Streit-Harting. 

Work on the 2019-2020 budget is underway. 

Mark your calendars: Mid-year Business Meeting & Lunch, June 9, 2019, immediately following worship. 


Pastor David Markle has announced his resignation. His last day as Lead Pastor at Park Place will be July 15, 2019. We are thankful for his 18 years of faithful service to our congregation. A full statement from the Servant Leadership Board can be found here.


Joshua Mifflin has begun service as Family Ministries Pastor, Steve Hency is wrapping up a very effective and brief time as Interim Pastor with Children and their Parents. Steve will continue serving actively in educational ministries. Pastor Josh will be taking Godly Play training March 8 – 10 in Cincinnati.

A refreshed Outreach Team is being formed and led by Bob Edwards.

Prayer gathering opportunities during Lent will be offered in the Prayer Chapel, Thursdays at the noon hour and as a Wednesday evening 6 pm option. Courtney Rice is coordinating.

Hospitality emphasis focuses on “Making Room” involving most Adult Sunday school classes during March. Pray that we will “warm up the welcome” at Park Place.

Elizabeth Weller has been recommended by the Children’s Center Search Team and Servant Leadership Board to serve as Director of Park Place Children’s Center. A congregational vote will be held at a Special Business Meeting on Sunday, March 17 following the morning worship.

We have had an initial meeting with David Frederick from Sacred Places Indiana. Sacred Places Indiana selects up to ten congregations each year for intensive training in Landmark stewardship, community engagement, and fundraising. Four to six people from each congregation participate in Partners for Sacred Places’ New Dollars/New Partners training. We are beginning the application process.


  • Transition: Pastor Markle has been engaging in positive conversations with the Servant Leadership Board regarding transition in 2019. Next steps will be communicated as they are determined.

  • Moving forward: A special service of "Confession and Communion" is coming Sunday, February 3. Be with us!

  • Exercises in Flexibility: A number of young adults are engaging flexibility by sitting in a different place in the Sanctuary during worship this month. You might, too. Youth will be sitting together on the front left of the Sanctuary on the first Sunday of the month. 

  • A common curriculum in Hospitality will be offered in participating Adult Sunday School classes during March. Come, learn, and experience Biblical, historical, and practical expressions of our Lord's welcome to our neighbors.

  • Engaging Young Adults mentorship program is serving around a dozen AU students. In addition, an EYA team will be meeting with an organization who specializes in communications in the church in the coming weeks.

  • Prayer Labyrinth will be available in the Fellowship Hall this Sunday, January 27 until thirty minutes after the morning worship ends.


We will move forward on the wings of faithful prayer. Let us pray daily and regularly for pastors, leaders, and all the people of Park Place Church of God.

Staff Ministry Team is beginning each weekly staff meeting with focused prayer and attention for 30 minutes seeking “low hanging fruit” and deeper issues around our greatest priorities: “Developing a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church” and “Making necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.”

Pray with us for a fruitful gathering of Servant Leadership Board and Staff Ministry Team members to discover applications of “Findings and Recommendations” from the consultation process on Saturday, January 19.

Watch for opportunities to participate in Congregational Discussion Groups seeking to discover “next steps” during February.