Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
The end of the year is a wonderful time for us to ponder the issue of stewardship. What unique perspective followers of Jesus can have: humbly trusting God with outcomes, even as we faithfully work where he has us. While this past year’s vote on building funds redirected us back to a season of prayer and consideration over how to best steward all God entrusts to us, it’s a joy to continue working to wisely steward resources to support ongoing ministry.
God has supplied us with a number of talented and sacrificial team members willing to serve—including, amongst others, our facilities manager, Jason Schrepfer, who happens to have experience in a number of relevant areas. Individuals like these have provided us with an opportunity to make a number of low-cost high-impact updates to our facilities. In November we shared plans towards this end.
Below is more explanation of some of the specific changes you can anticipate, as well as some of the desired practical and spiritual outcomes behind them; grouped according to three areas: in the foyer, in the sanctuary, and by the roadside.
This is a significant change that includes several design intentions related to the wisdom of how the space might be most effectively used.
While the wall has provided a room for some prayer and special events, it has also been an unintentional barrier that limits current space and use. The removal of this wall is designed to allow for:
- More frequent use of this strategic space by more people on a regular basis.
- Increased capacity and flexibility in how this space is used for fellowship and ministries like funerals, weddings, Bible studies, socials, training events, and evangelistic outreaches.
- Broadened experience by many of the wonder of God’s glory displayed through the flowers, the field, the lake, the sky, and sun by bringing a warmth to the space where we gather for fellowship each Sunday. The current wall obscures one of the most wonderful views of God’s creation that we have on our property.
The intention is not to decrease prayer. In fact, we hope the church family has actually experienced an expansion of the prayer ministry as volunteers have permeated the foyer area and utilized a number of gathering rooms in the building. The intent is that this expansion would continue the permeation of prayer and fellowship in our midst.
The replacement sign on Route 150 is designed to better communicate our presence and identity as a church family that is following Jesus together to those who regularly drive by our church on this busy road.
The new sign is designed with a large legible lettering and internal lighting to increase our visibility in a way that captures attention and expresses eager hospitality to our community and guests.
Funding for the new signs is coming from memorial donations, not the general or vision fund. We are planning to have the new sign in place mid-January.
After the last congregational vote, the elders had a number of discussions with some members who were distressed by the proposed new sign. These concerns and discussions led to design changes for the 150 sign that replaced the website with the words “Following Jesus Together.”
We are thankful to be a family where members feel free to express every opinion openly. Please continue to express your opinions, share ideas, ask questions, and extend grace to one another over differences.
We realize that not everyone will agree upon the extent to which these kinds of changes will impact real ministry. Differences of opinion are going to occur in any healthy church family. Even so, we believe it is helpful for all to have a reasonable sense of clarity on some of the changes that are being made in an effort to more faithfully fulfill the ministry that Jesus entrusted us.
We pray that God will do a wonderful work in our midst in 2023 and the years to come.
To Him alone be the glory!
To be sure, any investment in material things can bring an amount of spiritual danger. Here are a few dangers we’re praying we can avoid as we strive towards faithful stewardship:
- Deception: Material wealth can easily become a cover-up for spiritual impoverishment (Rev 3:17-19). It is very tempting to trust physical resources to cause spiritual growth; but this is a clear danger we are to avoid (Psalm 20:7). God’s work always depends upon God’s Spirit (Ps 127:1-2). External beauty is not the same as true internal value (Prov 31:30; Lk 21:1-6). It is all too easy to begin to believe that superficial things matter more than supernatural ones (1 Sam 16:7; Dan 4:30-32).
- Discontentment: Contentment is a command for us to honor in times of little and times of much (Phil 4:12; 1 Tim 6:6-10). Thinking about our possessions, even as a church, can stir within us covetous desires we need to beware. Projects like these can tempt us to turn inward rather than upwards, outward, and onwards whereby we enjoy wealth enjoyed to the exclusion of those in need (Lk 16:19-25; Gal 2:10; Jas 5:9).
- Distraction: We don’t want the building to overshadow other opportunities like mission projects, local ministries, church partnerships, evangelistic outreach, community needs (Matt. 25:31-46; Jam 1:27); most of which are either built into our current budget or require more people to research. But it is important to note that our primary limitation and competition for resources in regard to ministry is generally related to people rather than finances (Mt 9:37-38).
- Division: Matters of wisdom and preference can often become a source of division. What one part of the body may believe is wise and helpful, another may be concerned about (Rom 14). It is possible that some initiatives can become unhelpful even though they may seem spiritual on the outside (Mk 12:38-44; 1 Cor 11:17-19). It is also possible to make accusations against extravagant worship as a waste of money, energy, & resources from a self-righteousness and selfish heart (Ez 4:1-5; Hag 1:7-9; Lk 10:39-40; Jn 12:3-8). It is important for us to prayerfully seek the Lord and extend grace and believe the best about one another and strive to do all things by faith (1 Cor 13; Eph 4:1-3; Rom 14).
Absolutely. In fact, the bulk of our ministry efforts and prayers do not relate to the facility. We do not view investment in the building as an either/or, but a both/and. We hope to communicate many of these ideas and prayers over the coming months and years. Several of these areas include: evangelism efforts and training, mission projects, compassion initiatives, community group development, outreach events, discipleship relationships and training, and more. Again, the most frequent limitations we face are not typically funding, but the need for committed and skilled leaders able to carry initiatives through to completion.
May God continue to help our church family follow Jesus together as we call everyone to believe in his gospel, belong to his community, and become his disciple-makers.