- Phone: 919.969.8820
- Address: 800 Market Street | Chapel Hill, NC 27713
- Sundays: 8:30, 9:45, 11am, and 7pm
THE BIG QUESTION: WHY CHATHAM PARK?
This should be our favorite question: “Why?” When we look at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, one thing is striking. Okay, more than one thing. But this is the one I want to focus on: Jesus didn’t stay still. He was constantly on the move. And not only was Jesus on the move, but he also brought his friends with him and then sent them out to carry the good news of the kingdom of God to new places and new people. That mission, that sending, continues today, and it’s why we are excited to launch a new faith community in Chatham Park.
IS THIS ITS OWN CHURCH?
Well, yes and no. The church in Chatham Park will be its own faith community but will remain connected to Christ United Methodist Church. Chatham Park will become “part of the Christ UMC family.” We’ll share much (keep reading!) and will remain connected to Christ Church in Southern Village, but the church in Chatham Park will thrive in its own context.
WILL THERE BE ANY SHARED ANYTHING?
Yes! We will share DNA, certain administrative tasks, resources, ideas, dreams, and much more. Christ Church has been a vibrant faith community for over twenty years, and the Chatham Park community will benefit from that which has made Christ Church so special – a focus on mission, a local and faithful presence in the community, and a commitment to following Jesus for the transformation of the world.
WHEN DOES IT START?
It already has... sort of. As of July 2017, we began laying the groundwork to build toward an official launch in the fall of 2018. Right now, we are working to form small groups, engage in mission/service opportunities, host community celebrations, and get to know the people in Chatham Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. These are important steps to encounter the heartbeat of the community and discover the place where our passions and hopes and dreams intersect. If you are interested in being part of any or all of these experiences, let Brent know!
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT THE CHURCH IN CHATHAM PARK?
At its core, much will remain the same in Chatham Park. Everything we do will focus on connecting with God and one another, growing in our faith, and serving our neighbors in the community and around the world. We will continue to follow Jesus for the transformation of the world and love one another and our community well. But how that happens will look different. We’re in the early stages, so we will flesh this out over the next 18 months, but it might look like different expressions of worship, different styles of preaching, different mission emphases, different ways of gathering and growing, etc. (I know, these are broad, but we can’t begin to know what God will do! Much will depend on the lead team’s work together.)
WHERE WILL THE FUNDING COME FROM?
Funding for this new faith community will come primarily from three places: 1) The North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2) Christ United Methodist Church, and 3) through the financial gifts of those who become part of the new Chatham Park faith community. The North Carolina Conference commitment will fund Brent’s salary for a few years, decreasing each year as the faith community’s commitment increases. The Conference will also provide limited one-off grants for certain ministries and projects. Christ Church will help fund the faith community’s operation for five years until, by God’s grace, the Chatham Park community is self-sustaining. Again, Christ Church’s commitment will wean as the Chatham Park church grows. (Christ Church’s commitment includes the cost to lease the space, provide additional staff, support marketing efforts, etc.) Christ Church has already allocated this money and views the Chatham Park venture as an opportunity for mission – to make the dream of God a greater reality in Chatham County and beyond. We are also considering other, creative opportunities for revenue beyond financial stewardship.
WHAT WILL STAFFING LOOK LIKE?
As of July 2017, Brent serves as quarter-time pastor for the Chatham Park community (remaining three-quarter-time for Christ UMC in Southern Village). In July 2018, Brent will move to full-time in Chatham Park. As we build toward launch, we’ll look to hire a worship leader in spring/summer 2018, and we’ll address other needs as they arise. For the foreseeable future, financial responsibilities will continue to be handled by the business administrator at Christ Church.
WHAT SHOULD EXCITE ME?
Everything about this is exciting! God is doing something new, and you are invited to be a part of it. It’s exciting to be part of a new venture. It’s exciting to be God’s partner in this fresh expression of church. It’s exciting to be a bearer of the good news to new people in new places. It’s exciting to witness and experience transformation. It’s exciting to work for justice and peace. It’s exciting to be able to say, “By God’s grace, look what we did. Look what God did through us.” Jesus’ words ring true in John 1: “Come and see.”
WHAT ABOUT A BUILDING?
The Chatham Park church will have its own space, but it will initially not be a separate, free-standing location. Instead, we will lease retail space within the community. This location may house worship, offices, meeting space, etc. – everything our fledgling faith community will need, and we look forward to having a presence literally connected to the rest of the community. It’s an exciting new model and a novel way to connect with those who may be uncomfortable stepping foot in a traditional church building. It will also force us to get out of our building more and keep us on the move – just like Jesus was!
WILL WE BE INCURRING DEBT?
In the first five years, we do not anticipate any debt incurred. This could change depending on the needs of the church as it grows.
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN AND YOUTH?
There’s a lot we don’t know, but we do know that the new faith community in Chatham Park will be a place where children and youth are welcome and can thrive. We’ll listen deeply to God and the community over the next 18 months to decide exactly what that looks like.
WILL BRENT STILL BE INVOLVED ON THE MAIN CAMPUS?
Yes! As of July 2017, 75% of Brent’s time is at Christ UMC with the remaining 25% working on the new Chatham Park community. This means he is still an active part of the worship and ministry of Christ UMC. Very little will change with regard to Brent’s visibility and work in the community until July 2018 when Brent becomes the full-time pastor in Chatham Park.
HOW MUCH WILL THIS ADD TO THE OVERALL CHURCH BUDGET?
Over the next five years, the net cash outlay is estimated to be $435,000. This represents estimated expenses net of anticipated new revenue and the funding from the North Carolina Conference that will partially defray salaries. This number does not include grants from the North Carolina Conference and is less than 7% of our current annual budget. This is made possible because sometime in 2018, we will be debt-free as it pertains to our buildings. A portion of the money designated for debt retirement will be made available for this new missional ministry in Chatham Park. As this represents a mission of our church, it is already within our current expenditure levels.
WILL PEOPLE FROM CHRIST CHURCH BE SENT TO HELP LAUNCH?
Absolutely. Jesus didn’t do it alone. It started with 12 apostles and quickly became a movement as they were sent to proclaim the good news of Jesus with their voices, hands, feet, and hearts. Similarly, as we begin thinking about what it means to launch in the Chatham Park community, we will need a sizable team from Christ UMC to help lay the foundation for this fledgling faith community. Brent will need folks from Christ Church willing to commit throughout the launch process and then one-month post-launch, three months, six months, a year, and beyond. If you are feeling a tug to join this movement, let Brent know!
CAN WE PARTY?
Meaning can we bring the two campuses together from time to time for revelry and celebration? Um, absolutely. Jesus loved a good party and we will, too. There are plenty of parties and picnics and joint worship services and mission opportunities in our future. We are one church – one family – better together.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
We can’t do this without you. There are a number of ways you can help. First and most importantly, pray for this new thing God is doing. Pray for our leaders and for those in Chatham County and Pittsboro who we don’t even know yet. Second, if you’re interested in joining the team, opening your home to gatherings, or assisting with other needs as they arise, let Brent know. You can also help by talking about this new thing with friends and neighbors and helping our team get the word out and build excitement. If there’s someone we should meet, let us know! And if you have questions, they are welcome. Brent would love to hang out with you. Get in touch with him via email at or send him a text at 919-578-3241. You could also check out the ever-evolving website at chathampark.church.