Hello Seacoast Vineyard family!

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer thus far. Despite the heat and humidity, there is just something special about summer at the beach, huh? So, enjoy it!

Survey says…

You recently filled out a survey that was very helpful to the Executive Team & Staff. Here are some of the results:

  • 46% of our church is 18-45 years of age, and 57% 46 years +.
  • 61% of our church has a college degree, or are in university.
  • 80% of our church has been attending for less than 8 years.
  • 80% of our church knows exactly how to get involved. 
  • 57% of our church is female, 43% male.
  • 89% of our church is Caucasian, 11% Hispanic, African-American, Asian
  • 25% of our church is single
  • 57% of our church is married
  • 11% of our church is divorced
  • 3% of our church are single parents
  • 4% of our church are widowed
  • 56% of our church attends Sunday worship each week.
  • 23% attend three times a week.
  • 67% of our church knows how to get involved
  • 28% sort of know how to get involved
  • 10% of our church financially supports its ministries with more than 10% of their income.
  • 35% of the church financially supports the church with 10% of their income.
  • 38% of our church financially supports the church with less than 10% of their income,
  • 17% of the church rarely, or never financially supports the church.
  • 71% of our church does not attend a small group.
  • 29% of the church attend a small group
  • 41% of our church reads the Bible daily
  • 83% of our church pray with people outside of the church
  • 17% say they would attend an 8:30 AM - 9:15 AM Sunday service
  • 52% say they would attend a 9:30 AM - 0:10:40 AM Sunday service
  • 31% say they would attend a 11:00 AM - 12:10 PM Sunday service
  • 28% would never attend a night service
  • 25% would attend a Thursday night service
  • 54% would possibly attend a satellite campus of Seacoast Vineyard
  • 87% would support a facility expansion; 5% more “maybe” 

So what does this tell us?

We have a wonderful mix of younger and older members! I see this every Sunday as I preach, but it was so encouraging to actually put numbers to it. This even split, tells me we have a very healthy church. It will also help us in designing ministries, like types of small groups, discipleship tracks, outreaches, and especially prompting us to consider how we approach caring for one another. How do we do community together, both young & older?

We are an educated church. I’ve always said you folks were smart! 61% of our church have college degrees, or is working on them. 31% have their High School diploma. You are a well-informed church so I know I can preach on certain topics, scripture you’re already aware of & very capable of handling. I love a thinking church!

45% of you give 10%+ of your income to the church & its ministries. I am very grateful for all of you who give to the church.  This is a wonderful statistic, and I can’t wait to see others join the Vineyard team as supporters. We have a giving church, a kind church, and a church that realizes we can’t get it done without financing. 

Recently we received some very exciting news. The Chapin Foundation, a local foundation that gives to local non-profit organizations, told us we have been awarded a $20,000 grant! We applied and they came out to see the All Nations Café, and decided they wanted to support us! We are still anticipating this check, and have plans to use it to minister to more people. See what is happening? Your church is being recognized as an asset to our community. We’ve been praying & dreaming about being a blessing to Myrtle Beach, and here we go!

25% of our church is single! That tells me I must continue to teach, preach, and connect with our members who are not married. It’s too easy for those of us married (57%) to only fellowship with other couples. Our church has a very healthy split, in that singles & couples are already attending. But this says we must reach out to one another, be intentional in community. 11% have gone through divorce & should receive our (single & married) compassion & support. Our Vine Kids, youth ministries, all must intentionally realize this & do what we can to see our children healed, loved, & instilled with the ever commitment of a loving Savior in their lives.  

Only 29% of our church is committed to small groups. This is the epicenter of where we are cared for, grow in discipleship, develop deeper relationships, & have a presence in our neighborhoods. We all need a group we can call home. Please talk with pastor Rick if you would like to lead one, or become a part of one. As we endeavor to sink our roots down deeper into Christ, what better way to do it than with one another? We will be looking at how we can better design & promote small groups in the year to come.

Our church is reaching out, as 80% of our attendance is made up of people who have come to the church during the last 8 years. How exciting! Thank you to one and all who invite your family & friends to small group, Sunday gatherings, and outreach events. People are responding by becoming a part of the church. Also, we realize we must do a better job at “closing the back door.” Turnover these days in local churches is notorious. Some say you lose 20% of your attendance yearly. Also, 20-30% of your church is out on any given Sunday, so the size of our influence is much larger than any one Sunday attendance. But how do we close that “door” so we can effectively disciple, equip, & care for our people? These are the issues we will be dealing with as we move into the fall season.

Pastor Rick & the staff have done an excellent job at creating & communicating the process of becoming a functioning member of our church. 80% know how to get involved. The hard work in putting together Vineyard 101, 201, 301, 401 has paid off! Good work team!

57% of our church is female, 43% male. We are a church who believes the Kingdom of God frees one & all to pursue whatever gifts God has placed within us, male & female alike. Any & all leadership positions, pastors, church planters, outreach leaders, are not limited by sex. This tells me we have many women who believe in the vision of our church. God has sent him or her in, & we should be seeing what we could do to identify, recruit, train & deploy every person, male & female into his or her calling. And men, join me in pursuing God’s plan for our lives within the church & outside it. God knows we need godly men leading, serving, & pursuing God in every aspect of our church life as well. 

89% of our church is Caucasian, 11% of another ethnicity. This is a little higher than normal for our area, which makes me very happy. But, I believe God has plans for us to be much more diverse. The success of All Nations Café is but a message from God to let us know how he wants to use us to bless the nations. We have wonderful missionary leaders (Doug Dorman, Linus Morris, Phil Graf, Lauren Bass, Thor Colberg, Ricardo Walker & other Vineyard missions workers) on the field training leaders in Zambia, India, France, Brazil, Africa, Europe, the Sudan, & even Coastal Carolina (World Series winners!!!). And how awesome is it that now God is bringing the nations to us, right here in Myrtle Beach? Remember, we look for what God is doing, & we join Him. I believe there is much more in store for us locally. Our diversity will speak a word of welcome to the nations like nothing else. That means looking for leaders who can help us navigate the waters of diversity in a way that will throw an even bigger welcome mat out!

41% of you read the Bible daily. That is awesome. So, you do read this book.That means we have a rich well to draw from when it comes to well-read leaders, people who immerse themselves in the Scripture. It also means we want to get the 59% that rarely reads the Scripture to do it more often. So teaching pastors, leaders, & we small group leaders know we have to do some work. How do we introduce the scripture in such a way that others will want to dig into it? This is a discussion I will be having with my PIT Crew & the staff.

You, church, are definitely taking it outside the walls of the building! 83% of you pray with people out there in the streets, in your homes, in the stores, wherever you sense God is working. That is so encouraging. That helps me know we can even dig further into how we might even do more. There are some resources available to us, people I know who are really good at on-the-street-ministry that we may want to bring in & help us take this to the next level. We already have such a healthy outreach focused church.

Let’s see what God has for us next.

In an effort to reach out to more people, & recognize what God is doing, we are going to shift our attendance times come August 7, 2016.  The 8:30 service is a wonderful gathering that has a consistent attendance of 40-60 people. You folks are committed, very faithful, & we want to do all we can to see that we get the most out of our time together. It seems to me that this is more like a chapel service, a smaller, more intimate group fully committed to our church. We have recently dialed back the worship to one or two people leading to fit the setting. Also, we will revamp the format into more of a communion, chapel-style service come August. The time will remain the same but we will shorten the service a bit so that we can also shift the next two services to earlier times. I’m excited about a revamping of the early service because I think it is what God is saying through your faithful attendance. It will have the same sermon, but there may be more interaction. The early service is like a really large small group, so why not enjoy it as such? We will also reschedule our next two services to 9:30 & 11:00. That way we can open up more seats & still get out around noon. I’m excited about the changes & I hope you are as well. All of this is in response to trying to see what God is doing, & to join him. 

We are having a feasibility study done, by our architect, to see if our current building can meet the needs of our future goals.  87% of you said you would support a building expansion. That was a very strong message of support. Our architect is looking at what a larger auditorium would look like, as well as how the building is currently laid out & whether it would meet the future needs of the church. God is using us in the center of Myrtle Beach. What does that mean? What is our next move? We can build a new auditorium that would seat close to 500 at our current location, taking into consideration our available parking & land space. God is using us to reach internationals. We need a fully functioning kitchen, more space to host our community events & serve our congregation. Please pray for your leadership team as we traverse these exciting waters. Your input is appreciated, so don’t hesitate to email me, or speak with me about what you sense God is saying.

I was going to include a financial report with this but I will send it separately. Building expansion, possible multi-site to reach the further outlying areas, international outreach, so much more going on and still to come. Great stuff church! Thank you for your commitment, your gracious giving, & your involvement in what God is doing in & through our church. We have some wonderful days ahead of us!