Several of my columns on this page during the fall months spilled a lot of ink honestly describing our church's financial condition. I tried to be frank about the challenges facing us while also attempting to inspire all of us to resolve the problem.
In October I wrote, "I have faith in a God of infinite resources, and I have faith in the wisdom and generosity of FCC folks." Today I am happy ("ecstatic" would be a better word) to report that my faith was not misplaced. Our financial condition looks remarkably better.
Our "God of infinite resources" has proved once again that there is not only enough, but more than enough. A gift from the Florence Palmer estate will push our investment portfolio into higher interest yields than before and also provide a cash cushion, if needed, to fill in any budget gaps caused by higher than usual heating costs and skyrocketing insurance premiums.
But, to me, that's not the best part. The really exciting news is how you have stepped up to the plate this year. As of the date of this writing, our pledges for 2006 have increased more than $23,700 over last year. That's a phenomenal testimony to your trust in God and the place FCC holds in your heart.
A "God of infinite resources" coupled with "the wisdom and generosity of FCC folks" has met the problem which was making some of us more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Of course, this is no time to be complacent. Meeting our needs will take all of us living up to the commitments we've made. None of us can slack off, believing someone else will pick up the ball and run with it.
But the dramatic increase in pledges tells me this church is willing to do what it takes to put our financial house in order. It also tells me you are capable of handling whatever challenges will come our way in the days ahead.
For example, we need to revisit the issue of renovating our facilities. With the kind of commitment you've made this year, that goal looks much more attainable.
Also, we need to address our outreach needs. As downtown Elgin redevelops, and new people move into the townhouses along the river, FCC must be poised to reach out to them with our message of exclusive devotion to Christ and our inclusive commitment to God's unconditional grace. We need to find creative ways to bring those new residents to our fellowship and give them reasons to stay.
Therefore, there is much to do, but I know we are up to the task. Perhaps the apostle Paul said it best: "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."