The Second Half of our Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan and a Campus Catalyst Update

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On Sunday, June 18, church members gathered for a Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting to discuss VDOT highway project updates and participate in a Q&A Session on the second half of the Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan.


This year, we have done our budget differently than we have in the past — we have broken it into two six-month budgets, January to June and July to December. Pastor Eric explained that because of all the VDOT construction and uncertainties we have been facing this year, we felt it was prudent to break up the budget in this way.

The great news is that Wendy Howard, our financial controller, has estimated that by June 30, we will have approximately $545,000 “to the good” in our budget. This will help us accomplish more ministry in the second six months of this year, Pastor Eric said.

Before discussing the details of the July-December budget, Pastor Eric first went over the progress of our Ten-Year Vision (to see 10 campuses in Hampton Roads and plant 20 new churches around the world) and our One-Year Goal: Between January and December of 2017, First Baptist Norfolk will begin a second location. We are in “persistent and constant negotiation” about one piece of property for our satellite location, Pastor Eric said. We are waiting on God to open the door and resolve all the issues in order for us to move forward with this location. We have budgeted $130,000 for the second campus lease/rental.

As for our Ten-Year Vision, around Easter we took up an offering to help launch the Mission Church in Norfolk (one of our church plants). Pastor Eric was just with our church planter partners in Canada, and La Chapelle Church in Montreal has baptized more than 450 people since 2013!

Please download/print our Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan July-December (second half) here (Budget Booklet 2017 2nd half July-Dec final) and take a look through it. We will have a church vote on Sunday, June 25, in all worship gatherings by church membership to approve the proposed ministry plan, as well as to approve the motion to authorize a VDOT mediation team (see next section). This budget is “one of the best years that we’ve had in my recent memory,” Pastor Eric said. The reason that our budget is so good, he continued, is increased giving and generosity from our church members. We launched a new online giving platform in January, and we believe that has helped increase our giving significantly, as well.


The church will vote on Sunday, June 25, in all worship services to approve the motion to authorize a VDOT mediation team, as well as to approve the proposed ministry plan. On Thursday, June 29, we will have a mediation with a judge, attorneys, and VDOT here at our church.


Next weekend, there will be lane closures on Kempsville Road that will impact our Sunday morning traffic. Please read this blog post to prepare for this change.

Campus Catalyst/Church Conference Recap: Our Next 90-Day Objectives

img_2563On the evening of May 7, our church family gathered for a combined Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting and Church Conference. Geoff Hemphill, church treasurer, opened the meeting by giving a financial report. Our church “is in great shape” this year, and is even doing better than at this same time last year. Hemphill thanked church members for their generous giving to our missions and benevolence funds.

“Not only do you give to the budget, but you give above and beyond the budget,” he said.

During the Church Conference portion of the meeting, Pastor Eric Thomas held a vote to approve the four nominated messengers for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, June 13-14, in Phoenix, Arizona. The vote passed, and the four messengers are Eric and Eydie Thomas and Phillip and Jan Herring.

After the Church Conference, Pastor Eric moved into the Campus Catalyst discussion. He iterated that although the construction on and around our campus has been difficult, it has also been a big blessing. The visibility of our church facility from the highway has never been better. In light of that, we have updated the sign on our building from First Baptist to to point passersby to our website.

Another positive from the highway construction project is that we gathered together as one body at one time for Easter at the Ted, and it was “a tremendous blessing as a family of faith,” Pastor Eric said. This is something we would like to make a regular once-a-year event if possible, he continued.

Pastor Eric then reviewed our Ten-Year Vision to see 10 multi-site locations and 20 church plants in the next decade. He also reviewed our First Norfolk Advance One-Year Goal: Between January and December 2017, we will launch a campus in our multi-site strategy. We are making progress toward that goal, but have not yet finalized a location for our second campus location. As soon as it is possible, church leadership will announce the second campus location and bring it to a vote before the church.

The time period for our first 90-Day Objectives (Jan. 1-March 31) is over, but Pastor Eric introduced the next 90-Day Objectives (April 1-June 30) to our church:

  • Select and train leader/core team: We will call the church to pray God’s will for them to join the leadership and core teams to be selected by June 1. (The leadership team will be First Norfolk staff and lay people who will be the “point people” for the new campus. The core team will be individuals who commit themselves to take the gospel to that neighborhood in Hampton Roads.)
  • Establish footprint at New Campus: Leverage VBS, student/young adults ministries in neighborhood of new campus beginning at occupancy of new location.
  • Implement Communication Plan: We will implement intentionally the compelling communication plan for the church and community to tell the story of First Norfolk’s advance.
  • Develop multi-campus ministry model: Identify core values to guide multi-campus ministry to reach neighborhoods utilizing best practices with each context by June 30.

“God has used this church for 200 years in Hampton Roads for His glory, and He wants to use it for another 200 years,” Pastor Eric said. “But we have to join Him on that journey.”

The Campus Catalyst meeting ended with a corporate time of prayer. Pastor Eric again asked our church family to be praying over the Call to Prayer points he introduced in March.

“To be a part of this journey, you can pray faithfully for God to shine brightly through this church as we seek to glorify Him and advance His mission.”

The next Campus Catalyst meeting will be on May 28 at 5 pm, and will be a significant time of discussion and a potential vote about the second campus location.

A Call to Prayer for First Norfolk

During tonight’s Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting/Church Conference, Pastor Eric once again asked our church family to be in prayer over these specific matters:

  • Pray for God’s glory to shine through us to the seven cities.
  • Pray that hundreds of people far from God would be saved during this journey.
  • Pray for the Campus location.
  • Pray for VDOT negotiations.

Thank you, First Norfolk family, for praying and continuing to pray for our church and Hampton Roads. A more in-depth blog post recapping the evening’s discussion will be posted in the next few days.