Five Points Blog
- Brent Nelson
- Nov 06, 2013
The following is the content of a document distributed at the combined Bible Study Hour on November 3 where we further discussed the Planting Joy vision and why the elders brought a proposal to sell a portion of our property.
Is God Leading Us to Sell the Western Acres?
When considering this question three important acts of God must be recalled:
We have embraced an articulation from the elders of ministry advance called Planting Joy.
In a significant step toward making Planting Joy a reality, we have pledged to raise nearly $800,000 and, now eighteen months later, those pledges are fulfilled. The Lord has richly supplied, and that money is in hand.
- At the Members’ Meeting on October 13, the members present voted in an evenly divided split (41 to 41) for and against a proposal to authorize the officers of the elder council to engage in a sales agreement of up to 8.5 acres of our unused western property. The explicit purpose of the sale was to fund Phase 1 of the building proposal of Planting Joy. This makes plain the need for further leadership and discussion among us to clarify our values and draw into unity our sense of God’s best for Five Points on this question of funding a new building.
Why Do the Elders Believe God Would Have Us Sell the Western Acres?
Our answer can be outlined in four parts: 1) selling represents the highest act of biblical stewardship of God’s land and resources; 2) selling maximizes resources for ministry; 3) selling flows from current cheerful providences; and 4) selling and building now positions us well for the long-term future of gospel ministry at Five Points.
1. Stewardship of God’s Resources
a. Since all we have is God’s, stewardship becomes a matter of living by faith not by sight. In faith, it seems clear to the elders that the very best stewardship of our unused western acres is to sell them and use the proceeds to facilitate a large surge in development on our remaining 11 acres.
b. Selling the western acres seems to honor well the original intentions for the land purchases by the congregation in Five Points’ history. Surely this land sale will serve our ministry needs best here and now (see Planting Joy documents).
c. The building vision we’ve adopted will not be altered in any significant way.
d. The current buildings continue to cost more and more to maintain. As such they represent a serious drain on biblical stewardship. To plan on occupying them for 3-5 more years, the probable time it would take to raise money for Phase 1 without selling land, represents a good deal of God’s gifts poorly spent.
e. Selling the western acres at fair market value allows us to move forward with Phase 1 of our plan without incurring significant long-term debt.
f. While we can’t predict the movement of the market for selling—though trusted consultants emphasize now is the opportune time to sell—we can confidently predict that the cost of building will steadily rise over time (currently estimated at 5-10% increase each year). This significantly increases the stewardship of selling the land now to begin building by Spring 2015 rather than incur the cost of waiting with uncertainty until 2018-2020.
g. Selling the western acres faithfully acknowledges God’s kind provision to us and employs it well in ministry growth. If we do not sell the western acres, stewardship calls us to discern a specific purpose for holding the land.
2. Ministry Maximizing
a. The current facility regularly proves itself inadequate for current ministry, in terms of space and flow. This will only be exacerbated with growth. Worship services, Bible Study Hour, Resolved: Student Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Friends Group, House of Jacob, Petra, even the education groups that borrow our facility all face space and flow challenges presently. All these ministries will benefit dramatically from the swift addition of new space.
b. New ventures of ministry entailed in the Planting Joy vision will be enhanced by a near-term construction of Phase 1. Educational endeavors, outreach efforts, cooperatives with Oakland University student groups, and many more future ministries will be spawned in the new space available sooner rather than later.
3. Current Providences
a. Having discussed, prayed, consulted, and studied for several years on this growth vision and for nearly a year on the question to sell, the elders are unified in hearing God’s voice in this direction to sell the western acres.
b. The most common proposals from buyers have to do with using the land for family or student housing, which would be a very desirable use for our neighbors as well as for ministry potential.
c. The market for selling land for housing use in our community is in a favorable state for sellers at this time. It likely will not last according to banking, finance, and real estate consultants.
4. Future Vision
a. The elders believe the rebuilding program we have adopted will be the very best gift we can give to future generations of believers at Five Points.
b. Investing and developing our land and facility now makes a bold statement to our neighbors that we value more highly God’s glory than we value land-holdings or buildings. Our gospel witness on this corner takes a big step forward!
c. A vision for growth in the life of a congregation always reveals and enhances spiritual growth in the lives of individual souls and the wider congregation.
d. Even if we borrow a short-term note to finish the project, which the elders could propose once the total cost and future fund-raising are more definitive, we are still handing our spiritual descendants an excellent facility on a large piece of well-positioned land, debt-free.
Join us on Sunday, November 17, at 9:30am as we hold another special, combined Bible Study Hour to further discuss the Planting Joy vision.
- Brett Toney
- Oct 30, 2013
In John 6, Jesus identifies himself with the manna God provided to the people of Israel as they were led through the wildnerness. Jesus says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." The manna in the wilderness anticipated Jesus. Just as the manna was God's gift of life in the wilderness, Jesus is God's gift of life from the sure death of sin. Jesus isn't talking about physical hunger or thirst; he is talking about finding eternal satisfaction and joy in him rather than in things that will leave us wanting.
As Thanksigiving approaches, partner with us in pointing people to the Bread of Life as we provide also for the tangible need of a meal. We have the opportunity this year to partner again with our food pantry, the House of Jacob, but also Mack Ave Community Church, a likeminded church in Detroit. We plan on providing a Thanksgiving meal to one hundred families.
The meals will go to families connected with the House of Jacob, and we'll also bring donated goods to Mack Ave, partnering with them in reaching out to families in Detroit. The items we are specifically requesting include: turkeys, canned green beans and corn, instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, cake mix and icing, jarred gravy or mix, and powdered drink mix (e.g., Kool Aid).
Items can be dropped off on the metal shelves at the back of the gym on Sunday mornings or during the week. We will be collecting items until Wednesday, November 20. Resolved: students and families will be assembling boxes of donated goods and taking items down to Detroit.
As you walk through the grocery store picking up items or before dropping the items off, pray with us for these families; pray that this would be the last Thanksgiving meal they eat apart from having been satisfied by the Bread of Life.
- Brett Toney
- Jun 12, 2013
In the final counsel of a seasoned pastor to a young and newly installed minister, Paul warned Timothy that the day was coming "when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Timothy was to stand firm in teaching the Word and hold fast to the teaching he had received.
It is that pastoral admonition that we, the elders here at Five Points, are eager to fulfill. We want to press on in the faithful proclamation of the Word, teaching the whole counsel of God. That is why we are now two weeks into our summer Bible Study Hour series called, "Foundations: The Central Doctrines of Five Points." We want to see us as a church continue to grow in our understanding of God, the gospel, and the implications of both on our lives.
We are using our primary theological statement, the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, as the outline for the series as one of the elders teaches on one of the theological topics of the confession each week. Here is the outline for the summer, using the confession's headings and section numbers:
+ June 6 – Scripture (Sect. 1)
+ June 9 – God (Sect. 2)
+ June 16 – Man (Sect. 3)
+ June 23 – Salvation, Justification & Freeness (Sect. 4-6)
+ June 30 – Regeneration, Repentance & Faith (Sect. 7-8)
+ July 7 – God's Purposes of Grace (Sect. 9)
+ July 14 – Sanctification & Perseverance (Sect. 10-11)
+ July 21 – Gospel Church (Sect. 13)
+ July 28 – Law & Gospel (Sect. 12)
+ August 4 – Baptism & Communion (Sect. 14)
+ August 11 – Sabbath (Sect. 15)
+ August 18 – Civil Government (Sect. 16)
+ August 25 – The Righteous, Wicked & World to Come (Sect. 17-18)
As you can imagine, these are some pretty big topics to tackle in an hour. And if you look over the long lists of Scriptural references for each section found in the confession, the task is even bigger. So the elders will focus each week on one particular passage that sheds light onto what the Bible and the confession says about that topic.
Come join us in pressing further into the wonder of God as we look to his Word. Maybe read over the section of the confession to be covered each week in advance and look up a few of the Scripture references to start getting your mind around the revelation of our magnificent Savior.
I look forward to pressing into these areas with you.
- Brett Toney
- Jan 16, 2013
Coming up at the end of January, we will be having another Missions Focus. Over the course of the weekend, there will be a number of opportunities to learn more about missions and those who have been sent out from Five Points. Here is a rundown of what will be going on:
Friday, January 25 — A Family Night in Chad
Saturday, January 26 — Meet the Missionary Night (note the change in location of the open house for our missionaries to Chad)
Sunday, January 27
- Hear from several of our missionaries during Bible Study Hour.
- Cameroonian pastor and theologian Dieudonné Tamfu will be our guest preacher in the morning service.
- Join us at the Evening Family Gathering to pray specifically for missions and enjoy pizza together (donations accepted); some of our missionaries will be available as well.
Monday, January 28 — All are invited to a noon luncheon hosted by our seniors to encourage our missionaries.
I am looking forward to celebrating the global work of God as he fills the world with image-bearers, having been made disciples of Jesus through the teaching and baptism of everyday saints.
- Brett Toney
- Oct 15, 2012
This Sunday at 5:00pm we will have the first Members’ Meeting of this ministry year. This is a time for our 272 members to come together to care for one another in the organizational life and broader vision of our church.
Specifically, we’ll hear from Mark Kakkuri about why we call these meetings “Members’ Meetings” and what goes on at the bi-monthly elder meetings. We will hear a report from Daryl Gingell, praising God for how the needs of our previous fiscal year were met. JJ Sherwood will present a biblical view of church growth and how that relates to church planting. And I will provide an overview of my role as the Associate Pastor for Administration now that I’ve been “on the ground” for four months.
So, members, come engage in this aspect of the life of the church. Bring your questions. If you haven’t already, review the minutes from our previous Members’ Meeting and the financial overview for Sunday. And if you aren’t a member, consider joining us, both at this meeting—to see how we pursue our joy in Jesus in this aspect of church life—and in covenant membership.
And after the meeting, we encourage you to continue experiencing the fruitfulness of life together by gathering with your Shepherd Group. If you aren’t currently in a group, search online for one near you or contact us.