Council Update 2019.10


The council held a long meeting in October covering a number of important issues.

First, the council received an official request from the Call Committee to remove the three-year term limit on the call for a new Pastor of Congregational Life. The committee is having some difficulty in finding outstanding candidates and the committee felt that removal of the term limit would help. We placed the three-year term limit on the call because some members felt that the church could not afford three full-time pastors and the term limit was viewed as a safe exit strategy from three pastors if finances became difficult. Since the congregation approved the call at the December 2018 annual meeting, only the entire congregation can change the call. The council decided to table the vote, on whether to recommend to the congregation if the three-year term limit should be removed or not, until the November 20 council meeting.

The council also discussed the Youth Director Hiring Feasibility Task Force. At the time of this writing, five people have volunteered to be on the task force and there is room for more. One of the items, the task force will be investigating will be how to pay for a youth director at least for the first year. If you are interested in serving on this task force, please contact Pastor Suzi.

So, the hiring of a third pastor and the possibility of hiring a youth director got me thinking. Have we ever had three pastors and a youth director? And so I did a little research to find the answer.

The answer is yes. We had three pastors and two people concentrating on the youth programs from November 2004 to essentially the end of 2009.

  • Pastor John Folkerds retired in August 2007. Pastor Delwayne Hahn became our interim senior pastor for most of 2008 and then Pastor Chris Hagen became our interim senior Pastor for most of 2009. Pastor Ted started in November 2009.
  • Pastor Becky Sogge, and Pastor Steve Svoboda were our associate pastors for most of this time. Pastor Becky did not return to Zion following the completion of her sabbatical in October 2009. Pastor Steve resigned in July 2008, but Pastor Judy Burgett Winzig was hired as an interim from January to November 2009.
  • Jen Chorost was our youth director in 2004 and 2005 and Myron Crawford started in August of 2005. Jimmy Onstad was employed part-time for the Youth programs during this time.

So, having three pastors and a youth director is not unprecedented.

The other big issue discussed by the council at the October meeting was the 2020 budget. The 2020 proposed budget includes a third full time pastor, but it does not include a youth director. Also, necessary changes are needed for personnel salaries mainly because of 2019 new hires and savings resulting from Pastor Ted no longer needing full family medical insurance coverage.

The Personnel Committee recommended targeted raises for hourly part-time administrative staff (other than 2019 new hires), the custodial staff, and the sound technicians. They also recommended a 1% raise for salaried personnel other than pastors over 30 hours per week. Other salaried personnel, including the Pastors, would not receive a raise in 2020.

The method in which fees are accounted for in the Fellowship program and the Children Youth & Family Ministry would also cause these line items in the budget to appear larger. The line items will now include all expenses even those offset by fees. In the past, the budget only reflected expenses not covered by fees. Finally, the technology line item also increased significantly from 2019. This is due mainly to needed replacement and upgrading of computers and software. On November 5th, the Foundation approved a $10,000 gift to Zion to purchase a new server and software and this significantly lowered the Technology budget needs in 2020.

If you include the necessary changes in staff wages, the targeted raises recommended by the Personnel committee, and all of the other changes requested, the 2020 purposed General Fund budget is $982, 354. The Finance Committee recommended that the 2020 General Fund budget be between $980,000 and $986,000, so the purpose budget being considered is right in the Finance Committee’s range. With the addition of the Building Fund budget, which pays for the mortgage of $166,000, the total 2020 budget is $1,148,354.

The council has been reviewing the numbers and discussing the options since the September meeting and will vote to recommend the 2020 budget at our November 20 meeting. Once the budget request is approved by the council, it will be available with the other annual meeting materials at Also, a recommendation from the council on whether to remove the three-year term limit will be voted on by the council at the same meeting.