In short, what is happening in this transition?

After much deliberation and prayer, Trinity Grace has decided to reorganize into eleven distinct churches. Since its inception, Trinity Grace Church has functioned differently than other multi-site churches with a highly empowered leadership model. To date, each parish has functioned as its own church in many ways. As each new parish has joined Trinity Grace, operational and organizational complexity has increased. Recently, the parish churches have wrestled to relate as one larger church, while also propagating unique visions for their neighborhoods and parishioners. We believe this reorganization will empower each parish and result in continued missional fruit and effectiveness. The parishes are collectively committed to pursuing ways to partner and express unity as the church across the city. We will continue to collaborate and partner together as each parish pursues renewal according to its vision and unique gifts.

You can access this initial letter of explanation form Joshua Staton, executive pastor of TGC.

Will we have to become our own 501(c)(3)?

Yes. We are required to separate as a legal entity in order to align legal and financial responsibility to a local governing body. How we partner with other organizations after we become an individually registered entity is open for design and we are seeking wise council from outside organizations regarding this.

Was there a theological, moral, or relational difference that led to this?

The need for a change in structure was one the pastors have identified and discussed for about a year. There was no moral failure, no relational fallout, and no theological dispute that caused this.

What is the timeline for Chelsea standing as its own church?

Our central office and current organizational structure still exists until March 31, 2018. This is the period in which each church, with the help of the central team is gearing up to stand on its own two feet, both organizationally and financially.

Will the new churches partner together after individualizing?

We are committed to unity among this family of churches. We are discerning and planning what the structure for partnership will be in the new individualized reality and have some of the world’s best outside consultants helping us plan this. Our relational ties remain intact, and we are excited to support each other as each church responds to its individual neighborhood. 

Will churches still be called Trinity Grace?

Some of the TGC parishes are choosing to operate under a different name in the new season. This is happening for a few reasons, one of the main ones being changing a church’s name will better contextualize and serve their specific neighborhood demographic. Each church remains committed to partnership in the city. Many, if not most, will keep the name Trinity Grace Church.

Are we going to keep the name Trinity Grace Church Chelsea?

Yes. For the foreseeable future we want to retain the name.

How will the transition affect the staff?

All the staff need and are afforded time to process the transition. Bill and Miriam, who have served this church faithfully for a long time, of course have the option to remain in this local congregation or anticipate their own personal need for change with the new season. They both are processing this and we give them grace and prayers as they look ahead. We also want to make sure that they have a significant break over the summer to rest after an intense and busy season in ministry.

Our staff team will also adjust over the next few months in responsibilities and perhaps new staff positions as we seek to take on the responsibilities the central office previously covered. We are excited about these changes and sense it will create space for other leaders to step up to the plate.

You can find the current staff positions here.

What does this mean for our finances and contributions to TGC Central?

We have a modest capital reserve and given current levels of giving and expenses, we foresee a period (12 months) of stability that will allow us to establish our new structure and start building.

We aim to have a positive cash flow with income covering all expenses by the end of 2017. This will require all of us to faithfully obey and contribute to the vision and mission of God at TGC Chelsea. Join with us in prayer regarding this.

In 2016 we contributed 20% of our annual income to TGC Central services and ministries. At the beginning of this year that percentage dropped to 17%, and since the decision to individualize it has dropped further to 14%. This percentage will scale down as TGC Central services create our stand-alone structures and we take on new organizational responsibilities. In the fall our contributions to TGC Central services will go to 10% and in January 2018 to 8%, where it will remain until the end of March 2018 when all Central influence and services will officially cease. Join with us, in faith, as we, as a family, joyfully partake in funding God’s mission. More financial updates to come.

Where does this leave our lease at St. Paul's?

Our current lease at St. Paul's extends through the end of 2018, and our relationship with the German Lutheran Church is strong. For the foreseeable future we expect to remain in Chelsea, using St. Paul’s as our venue.

What will be our governance structure going forward?

A local eldership team will govern TGC Chelsea. We want to align as best we can with biblical and legal requirements for church authority and governance.

More about this structure below and we will explain this over the next few months of transition.

What about new Elders and Deacons?

Part of a healthy local church is the need for robust Elder and Deacon teams. Liza and I have invited and received feedback from the Elders, Deacons, and Covenant Community regarding potential new Elders and Deacons. We still welcome nominations so please email to nominate someone for consideration. We have narrowed down a list of potential Elders from nominations, and we are praying about each of them and beginning preliminary conversations. As soon as those conversations come to a close, we will inform you of the nominees and invite your prayer and feedback regarding them. We will implement an Eldership preparation process that will run through the Summer and end in the Fall with installation.

We have also been working at discerning areas of greatest need where Deacons should be installed, and we are finalizing this list. This list of categories will be available May 26 in the weekly email.

What if I feel like leaving TGC Chelsea?

People leave church communities for a variety of reasons. Some reasons for leaving are motivated by wisdom and obedience, while others are less thought through and more reactionary.  We understand that for some people this change is no small thing. We invite you to process your desires and intents with your leaders, and we will gladly pray with you and for you in this season. You can contact us here.

If you have processed this with your leaders and are deciding to leave our community, we would especially love to pray for you as you seek another community to worship and serve God in.

How can I help in this season of transition?

Great question! You can help by processing the change well. If you need to grieve or process the change, please engage in doing so actively. It is important to process the change well. Please use the avenues provided through the TGC Chelsea Transition Page and email to process as you need.

We want to seek the kingdom of God wholeheartedly. This mission does not stop. We want to love God and love our neighbors. You can help us through this season by getting involved, voicing your support, contributing through volunteering in the life of the church, participating in events, praying, and giving generously, financially towards the mission of God and the financial health of our maturing congregation. Be part of the community family of believers in TGC Chelsea.

Sign up for the May Retreat.
Volunteer for our Kid's Ministry, Hospitality Team, or Ops Team.
Give financially in support.

Can I ask for personal prayer?

YES! You can come up front for prayer on any Sunday if you feel you need support in this season. Also, if you have any specific prayer need, the leaders and staff would love to prioritize praying for you specifically. Please click here to submit a prayer request.