In this report, we revisit the five key initiatives that we introduced at Annual Vision & Prayer in January, along with an overview of our finances to date. Our vision is to be a community following Jesus, seeking renewal in our city, and we are thankful for God’s faithfulness as we strive to live out this vision. Thank you again for your faithfulness and generosity to our community and to what God is doing here in San Francisco.
We are halfway through the Year of Biblical Literacy. We are grateful for the six amazing lecturers who have joined us to speak on some of the most difficult topics in the Bible, and we're also encouraged by the ways our Community Groups have worked through the Old Testament together. We look forward to the remaining six lectures of the year and entering into the New Testament soon!
Our Community Group (CG) team is growing in its capacity to care well at a local level for the 68 CGs across the city and East Bay, while also reaching out to those interested in being part of a CG. The four Neighborhood Ministers not only create the weekly CG material to help shepherd our church through the Bible, but they also extend pastoral care to our 21 coaches, 130 leaders, and many future leaders. Our newly appointed Director of Community Groups extends care to those in the process of joining a CG, which first involves attending an Intro to CG Dinner. With about 1,600 people in our CGs, we continue to seek and discern wisdom in how the roles within the CG team can help shape the next season of our church.
We have set out to extend greater care to our families in the church — those with kids and those without. Our premarital class relaunched in February with 19 couples. And our Sunday kids ministry, The Village, welcomed 46 new families, hosts an average of 85 kids per Sunday, and coordinates about 100 active volunteers. The kids have been pacing alongside the adults in the Year of Biblical Literacy and have been learning about God's character, spending time with Him, and building loving relationships with peers and volunteers alike.
One of the key initiatives this year for the ministry was to launch a High School ministry, and we are happy to report that our first HS ministry gathering will be on September 18th! Throughout the rest of this year, we aim to train new volunteers and also to provide more opportunities for families within our church to connect with one another.
We are excited to launch in September Gotham SF, a 9-month intensive fellowship focused on equipping people to be courageous followers of Jesus in the workplace. We hope that the participating fellows will be equipped to not only live out the Gospel in their workplaces but also to lead and shepherd others within our church who work in those same industries. The fellowship launches in September with 8 fellows from our church across 8 industries with curriculum from Redeemer Church in NYC.
In January, we launched Grafted, a church plant incubator program through which we are helping new church planters contextualize their vision to the unique culture of SF. We meet with them on a biweekly basis to pray and equip them with some of the tools and resources needed to survive as a church in this city. Please continue to pray for these leaders and their churches!
Being a church in San Francisco comes with many challenges, one of which is gathering spaces. Earlier this year, we invited you to pray about acquiring the adjacent space next to our offices so that we could reconfigure the entire 3rd floor into a Ministry Center…and we got it! With the acquisition of the new space our Board of Directors and the Elders are putting together a proposal for the church to prayerfully and financially get involved. Thank you in advance for your prayers which is sustaining and moving this key initiative forward. We look forward to sharing more about the vision and plans in the next few weeks.
We have been able to fund every one of our initiatives, as we have prayed and trusted that God will supply all of our ministry needs through His church. And as we have received much, we have also given much outside the church into San Francisco and beyond. While our ministry expenses have exceeded our plan by 5%, we are managing them very closely relative to giving. We remain dependent on Him, and one another, to see that our generosity continues in order to finish each initiative well. Thank you, church, for your continued generosity and commitment to the work that God is doing through us here in San Francisco.