The staff and elders received great feedback and questions from the Family Meeting a few weeks ago. I, Pastor Joe, wanted to take a couple of minutes to address through this post a few questions that were presented during the table discussions. I am grateful for the input and communication that happens during our times together. In considering all the options God has graciously given us in response to our prayers for direction, I am asking that we all spend time in prayer still asking God what He desires for us to do. I am asking specifically for doors to be opened and closed in His timing.
I want to start by sharing some of the thoughts that were expressed from the membership at the meeting. I will simply lay out the bullet points of what people communicated.
- The current building is too much space for us.
- The presence of the church in Ferguson is important.
- Make sure the motivation for us moving forward is Spirit led.
- We need to be financially responsible
- Whatever God leads us to do we need to get outside the building and get into the community.
The level of thoughtfulness and humility in processing all that was shared in the last Family Meeting was a testimony to God being present among us. I will not be able to address all the questions in this post, however, several key questions I will address. The plan is to have another Family Meeting once we have more information concerning the School District, and during that meeting to address some of the questions that cannot be answered in a simple written post.
Are we wanting to leave because we are a mostly white church?
The simple answer is no. The heart of examining all the options God has given us centers on stewardship and where is God leading us to invest heavily. Stewardship is taking care of the property, finances, and people God has entrusted to this church. The church as we sit today is able to continue in our current situation, but the question has to be asked, “Are we being the best stewards of God’s resources here?” That is at the heart of the issue. The cost per person roughly of running our current facility is $1,140 dollars a person. A smaller facility could cost as little as $140 per person. That is a lot of God’s money freed up for ministry and a fully funded budget, so that we no longer fundraise for our youth and children. Instead fundraising could be used for special projects and initiatives of the church, like helping the homeless.
In the coming years of ministry I foresee the need to have lower overhead. Christianity is under attack in America. The cost of running a ministry should be focused on minimizing cost to ensure that the church can endure the potential of tax exemptions being taken away. It should be a place where the cost of a building does not hamper the ability of the church to be on mission. Having a building has historically caused the church to be inward focused and preoccupied with getting people to a location. The call of the gospel is to go be fishers of men and women, which means we focus more on going, that gathering.
The heart of the question does have merit. The truth is all of north county is now a melting pot of race, background, ideals, and dreams. The church needs to be going and engaging all of these levels of our community. Our church is more diverse than many in our area, which is something to celebrate, but also something we should continue to expand.
Let’s simply say the prayer should be what is the best way we can steward the resources God has given us and what is the way we can best get out into the community.
How will the school impact the current ministries we run and house at FBCF?
While we cannot see every potential pitfall and issue that could arise, there should be little disruption to what we do as a church. Our normal weekly activities will remain unaffected. Sunday mornings will be the same. Wednesday’s will be the same. The unknowable part is exactly how the daytime activities will be affected. To be clear, safety of people in the building and a mixing of the school and the groups of the church will not be an issue. What is exciting is how all our groups, those that are church groups and the outside groups that use our building, will be able to interact and grow new relationships.
Specifically a question about the homeless arose. And we will not give up on helping those men and women who desire help and prove themselves by working with the staff. That being said, the staff have had to remove several people from coming on property due to inappropriate behavior, rule breaking, and the like. The men who are around the property are committed to helping police themselves and work with the staff to ensure our facility is safe and a welcoming place.
How is the church doing financially?
The church cash position is as strong as it has been since the replant began. We have reserves to cover unexpected repairs. We are underspending the budget and have the past several years. The church is not close to closing as some people expressed concern about. However, this goes back to the stewardship question. What is best to do with God’s resources? And that is something we need to be in prayer about.
While more questions and thoughts were shared and need to be addressed, I hope that this post has been helpful. Please continue to pray for God to lead us by opening doors and closing doors and unifying the church.