Staff Change Information — April 28th, 2019
The church that began as a result of John Wesley’s class system and became Metamora Methodist, then Metamora Methodist Episcopal, then Metamora United Methodist Church, and now The Farmhouse has gone through many changes and evolutions over the past 166 years. Today, April 28th, 2019, we are publicly acknowledging another change in our church’s story.
The Jewish tradition utilizes the imagery of “milk and honey” as a central part of Israel’s journey to be the community God calls them to be. Honey came from fig trees. It takes years for trees to grow and produce fruit. They were a sign of being settled and establish. Fig trees came with affluence and comfort and resulted in a certain independence. The problem is that this state of stability allowed Israel to stay stagnant, to not pay attention, and to forget their call. This is why the phrase includes milk; which is based on cattle and symbolized a state of wandering, of having little, and being dependent on the Divine for guidance. When you are in the land of milk, when you are in the wilderness, there is an immediate need and care. You pay attention and use your instability to confront issues that will result in a healthier life. Israel, therefore, is often forcibly returned to the land of milk, the wilderness, so that they might return to the land of honey in a healthier way. When we are in the land of honey, we often stop growing and being faithful because everything is fine. It is only in the land of milk that we awake to what needs to happen.
The Farmhouse is currently in this wilderness of the land of milk.
Though it appears dismal, the opportunity to pay attention, to remember our vision, and to intentionally address our future becomes more likely. We believe this is our opportunity in this season — to take time to reassert our vision and use our darkness to bear the fruit of an even better future. Darkness is not where grace goes to die; darkness is where grace goes to be awaken and to be reborn.
Our first concern comes from our financial sustainability. As we are technically a new church start, we have had to take risks to move The Farmhouse forward. This has strained our budget more than we would like, but it has also made our work possible. Our biggest issues have been that our social enterprises, namely Farmhouse Sabbath and our Co-Op, have not been as financially lucrative as we would like so far in this past season. Our other issue alongside of this is that our general giving has decreased over the past season. Our total budget requires $16,000 per month. Our average income is approximately $14,000 per month. While we have hope in Farmhouse Sabbath and the Co-Op becoming more financially sustainable as the year continues, our most declarative need is to become more sustainable through the generosity of our community. We believe that our lives are a gift and that all we have is a gift. We exist because of generosity. Therefore, we hope that passing on generosity is a response to the gift of life. While this can be displayed in many ways — through how you use your time, your energy, your resources, your witness, and your life — monetary generosity is a part of how our society functions. We heed the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians that the response to Resurrection is to share our resources to care for the life of the church. We also are informed by the Wesleyan tradition that how we use our money reflects our posture towards the world.
In our specific situation, we have roughly 71 active groups (whether families or individuals) who call The Farmhouse home (alongside of many more units that are a part of our community in some way). Currently, only 37 of those groups give consistently. However, if each of the 71 active groups increased what they gave per week by $10, we would become financially stable. This would mean that those who currently give $0 per week would simply give $10 and those who give $400 per week would increase to $410 per week. We realize that this will not happen in its exact nature, but accomplishing this average would drastically alter our financial situation. We also acknowledge that we don’t expect everyone to give an equal amount, we simply hope for everyone to give an equal sacrifice — for we know that the generosity of our community will exponentially increase the possibilities of how we can be the church here in Evergreen.
Our second announcement concerns upcoming staff changes that will take place late in 2019 and early in 2020. Tyler is being required by the denomination to return to graduate school. Tyler is currently only a 3/4 time staff member. This change will result in Tyler becoming part-time. With this change, beginning in January 2020, Tyler will be receiving a pay- cut to reflect the change in workload from $34,000 annual salary to $20,000. Tyler will still be fully present, but his job description will change from the many items under his current role to only being responsible for teaching / producing content, discipleship, and the executive director role of our organization as a whole. Our SPPRC committee has acknowledged that because of Tyler’s large amount of current roles, he has been stretched thin and has not been able to do all of those things in a healthy way. We believe this limitation will allow Tyler to focus on just those things for which he is specifically gifted while still being the appointed pastor and leader of all we do.
To compensate for the roles Tyler will be vacating, we are looking to use the finances from his pay-cut to hire small staff roles so that those items may continue. We also hope that giving these roles to new individuals will allow them to grow those components of our work in new ways.
The value we are pursuing is what is called Lateral Leadership — where instead of one person overseeing everything, a larger amount of people take ownership together and accomplish the work collaboratively. Our primary hope for our future staff roles is that they will be dedicated to overseeing the technical nature of our functionality while making volunteering incredibly accessible and meaningful. We believe this model of leadership, especially because of the Biblical precedent of bi-vocationality, will be healthier for our future.
Finally, our leadership has made a decision in the face of our financial concerns and in the midst of these major changes concerning the staff position currently titled “Community Health Director.” Along with our leadership, Harry Daniels has decided to resign from this position and will no longer be on staff beginning the first day June 2019. This decision was not easy for Harry and for our leadership, but because of our financial strain, we are not able to sustain this position. We wish that we had such a surplus of finances that we could allow Harry’s work to continue to evolve, but our current state has forced us to make this decision.
We believe firmly that Harry’s work at The Farmhouse has made possible where we currently are and that the presence, wisdom, and gifts Harry brought have been incredibly influential to our existence — we would not be here today if it wasn’t for him. For many people, because so much of Harry’s work was not overtly public, they will never know how profound Harry’s leadership was. He brought the intangible gift of speaking life into every decision that was made and guiding our existence. His ability to work with individuals, to listen, to help people overcome obstacles, and design a healthy environment for leaders and for members of the community will be greatly missed. However, it is our hope that this change can mark a new season in Harry Daniel’s life — that how he goes on to use his profound gifts will continue to impact our area and that we may continue to benefit from his presence. We hope to send him well into his next season of life while still maintaining the relationship that has been forged over the past three years. It is also our hope that as we continue in his absence, we will all take the gifts that he showed us, especially in showing us how to be present with each other in a healthy way, and we will embody that piece of Harry that has influenced us so greatly. His impact will forever be a part of The Farmhouse’s story.
May these changes allow us to acknowledge that a new season is upon us and that our journey into this wilderness will bear a new season of life that is more than we could ask or imagine.
Please feel free to contact our leadership team, SPPRC team, or any staff member if you would like to discuss any of these announcements further. And as we enter into Harry’s last month as a leader here, may we celebrate his presence, continue to learn from him, and send him off well into his next season.
Grace and peace:
The Farmhouse Leadership
TYLER KLEEBERGER | COMMUNITY LEADER
Tyler is the appointed clergy for The Farmhouse by the Maumee Watershed District of the United Methodist Church.
Having grown up in Toledo, OH, Tyler went on to attend the University of Mount Union where he graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Interpersonal & Peace Communication. It was also at Mount Union that Tyler met his spouse Vanessa & started a church on campus.
After graduating, they then left for Pasadena, California where Tyler attended Fuller Theological Seminary - only to be brought back to Ohio by the unexpected birth of their first child, Landon. They have since added a second child to their family - Toren.
Tyler, Vanessa, Landon, and Toren now live in Metamora, OH.
Beyond our staff, our community is formally led by 40+ individuals who give their time, expertise, & energy to overseeing the life of our community.
For more information on our community's Leadership, please see our Administrative Guide: