It is hard to believe October has arrived! So much is happening in the life of our church - don't miss the blessings of this month and this fall! Here are multiple opportunities before us:
* Sabbath End - each Sunday evening beginning at 5pm, you have the opportunity to end your weekend with an intimate time of worship, teaching, encouragement and prayer. We meet in the foyer outside the Sanctuary and this gathering is led by non-staff members - Ken and Susan Klein, Dave and Becky Glenn and Tom and Dee Milanski and others. Why not give it a look? You will be blessed!
* Men's Ministry - Area Men's Fellowship is tomorrow night - at Saybrook - FCC van leaves at 6pm - join us! Reload for Men will meet at 6am on Tuesday mornings October 10 and October 24 - we meet for one hour to enjoy an awesome breakfast and some Biblical encouragement - join us!
* Women's Ministry - Each Tuesday morning at 10am, Ladies gather to study God's word together - all women are welcome! On Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm, a women's BSF discussion group gathers in the Family Life Center. On the 3rd Friday of each month, Women's Coffee Break meets at 10am - all women are welcome! Mom and Tots play day is the first Friday of each month at 10am. And don't forget Ladies Night Out - Thursday October 26 at 6:30pm!
* Senior's Ministry - The October Young at Heart is this Friday October 6 at 10:30am in the Family Life Center - Oktoberfest is the theme! On Friday October 20, YAH is sponsoring a trip to Bement to attend the Country Opera. And Wednesday October 25 is Senior Saints Day at Little Galilee - I'm going for the day - why not join me?
* Discover FCC - THIS Wednesday October 4 at 6pm in the Family Life Center - come learn about the History, Theology and Ministries of FCC - all are welcome! And Rotary pulled pork will be served!
* Doughnut Sunday at FCC - come to our latest and greatest fellowship event on Sunday morning October 15 from 9-10:30am in the Family Life Center! In addition, tours of the newly renovated Care Center (formerly the Cable Building) and the Underground ( formerly the Fellowship Hall) will be offered during these 90 minutes.
* Worship/Music - do you like to sing? Why not consider joining the choir - they practice on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm. Do you like the Bells/Chimes? Why not consider joining the bell/chime choir? They practice on Monday evenings at 7pm. Are you interested in being a part of the second service worship experience in one way or another? We need folks who can sing, play, or be involved on the tech side of things - computer, sound, lights, video, etc.
Finally, this week, I want to share the following message from one of our elders, Mark Behrends - this was read during both services yesterday:
Good Morning, I would like to take a moment and update you on where we are at financially with Next Steps and with our giving in general.
Next Steps has just completed another renovation and ministry upgrade. Like past renovations this has been completed debt free through God’s provision and your faithful over and above giving. The cable building which for many years has served as our Student Ministry Center has now been transformed into a “Care Center” and now houses our food pantry and our expanded local benevolence ministry. With Cody Monkman now overseeing this important ministry we are excited to see how God will use this renovated space to minister to those in need in our community.
Student ministry is now located here in the main building. The Junior High area and Fellowship Hall have been renovated to coordinate with the previously renovated Edge space and now the whole area in the lower level is known as “The Underground” and while Ben Pertl has only been on staff for a month we are excited with the direction student ministry is taking. I would like to stress that while Fellowship Hall has now become part of “The Underground” it remains a multi-functional space and this space will continue to be used for a variety of purposes.
We would like to invite everyone to view the newly renovated spaces in two weeks on Sunday October 15th during an open house from 9 until 10:30.
While it is exciting and encouraging to talk about our new ministries and renovated spaces I also feel obligated to talk about our general fund giving. 2017 is on track to be the lowest giving year since 2005 and the second year in a row that giving is significantly lower than the approved MAP. While we realize there are many different reasons that have contributed to why giving is down the leadership believes that receiving the $2 million estate gift that went into the Next Step fund as the primary reason. We believe that the perception existed after the estate gift was received that our need was not great. Unfortunately this has never been true, none of the estate gift was spent on MAP expenses and it has all been spent on investing in the future of our church through the renovations and upgrades already completed. Currently, the Next Step fund has approximately $30K remaining in the fund which is earmarked for upgrades to mechanical systems, renovations, and capital improvement projects. All of the rest of the gift and your donations have been spent on renovation and upgrade projects already complete. As a leadership we apologize for not communicating better these past two years about our finances, but the reality is that the general fund cash reserves continue to significantly decline and this is a trend that we cannot sustain. To the extent possible we have tightened our belt and have not spent where possible so we have not drawn on our cash reserves for the full amount of the MAP giving deficit but currently our giving is $67K behind our current MAP need. The leadership is encouraging you to pray about how you may help to close this gap.
The leadership is currently working on the 2018 Ministry Action Plan and the current plan that we are reviewing contains $24,512.00 of cuts from our current 2017 MAP. We feel this is a realistic and workable plan to carry out the vision, ministries and mission of our church in the coming year. This plan contains no transfers to savings or rainy day funds. It is all spent on ministry and missions. Obviously, current giving levels will not support this Ministry Action Plan. To make this plan work giving will need to increase by $50K in 2018. $50K is a large amount to increase our giving by but with your prayerful consideration it is not insurmountable. $50K is 96 people increasing their giving by $10.00 per week.
A $50K deficit is however too much for our cash reserves to absorb. The leadership is committed to promoting giving and good stewardship of the funds provided and will reevaluate giving trends at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Budget cuts will occur at that time to meet the then current giving level. These cuts will be painful and unpopular and will most likely involve additional cuts to our monthly mission partners and to our personnel budgets. To ease the pain of the cuts to our Missions giving we will put a formula in place where if giving is over the MAP or increases after budget cuts are made then our Missions team will receive a percentage of this increase to distribute to our mission partners.
We don’t want to make this all doom and gloom and we feel that very positive things are happening for the Kingdom through the work of this church. We continue to pray that we are faithful stewards of everything that He has provided while staying true to our mission to “Love God – Build the Church – and Reach the World.” We are hoping that through this frank disclosure you will understand that the need is critical and you would earnestly consider how you could increase your financial commitment to our church. While we are always thankful for your faithful weekly giving please know that a onetime gift between now and the end of the year would also be a great blessing to help close the gap in current giving.
Thanks Mark for this update.
Have a great week - see you Sunday!