Last month I wrote about the proposed purchase of the Templo Calvario property. I speculated on whether or not God was at work in this opportunity, and I waxed eloquent on the theological implications of the decision-making process.
What a difference a month makes. Check out Tom Powell's article on page 13 and you will discover why everything is now dead in the water. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. My frustration stems less from any conviction that we ought to buy the property (I wasn't sure) and more from my desire to play out the process. I saw real value in a period of reflection, dialogue, and discernment.
In the meantime we have a building project into which we can pour a lot of energy. For some time we have had preliminary drawings for a major renovation of our facilities. The changes would render our facilities more inviting and signal to everyone that we are here to minister in Christ's name to the community around us. Perhaps it's time to re-visit that project and make it come to life.
But there's another issue, one that's not as exciting, but no less challenging, and it must be addressed whether we buy property, renovate, or neither. For some time now we have been operating our budget at a deficit. The shortfall has been filled with funds from various reserve accounts, and we have had to be increasingly creative every year with ways to fill in the gap.
We cannot continue to operate this way. There are some who suggest we must start thinking about cutting the budget; i.e., slashing programs and staff. Let me be as clear as possible on this issue: Such a solution would be a cataclysmic mistake. Cutting the budget is the first clear sign of a dying church, and God did not call me to FCC to preside over a funeral. There is too much life, too much vitality, too much potential here to begin the spiral toward the graveyard.
The deficit, however, must be addressed, so I want to propose a two-pronged solution. (1) If 100 of our pledging units averaged an additional $300 per year (that's less than a dollar a day) we could totally eliminate the deficit in three years. I don't think that's unreasonable for most of us.
(2) Bring somebody new to church with you. The vast majority of people (85-90%) who join a church do so - not because they read an ad or found our website - but because someone invited them. And new people add their time, talent, energy, and resources to our own. We've seen plenty of that over the last three years. We need to see it more often.
I continue to believe God has great things in store for FCC. Now is not the time to narrow our field of vision, but to broaden it to include the full scope of God's grace. It will be an exciting journey. Will you join me?