Helen and Ernie Dale have been a fixture here at SLPC since 1962. Helen taught the 3 year old Sunday school class for ten years. She and Ernie sponsored the youth group and new members' classes for many years. Many people told me it was Helen and Ernie who wooed them into the Church. I believe it!
How could you not love Jesus after you let Helen and Ernie love you?
Thankfully God has blessed us with such leaders. The Town Hall held on October 9th will blow the minds of many people. Yes, I believe it will. Our amazing ruling elders are brave courageous people who continue to listen to God. That is a hard thing to do when you have to make difficult, strategic decisions.
Today the session is in a box that forces them to choose between the building and the ministry. Every time they bring out a challenge budget, they know they cannot pay real money for doing ministry because they must first pay for the building.
Our donors, you, the friends and members of this church, are the most giving people I have ever met! You give so generously and yet we cannot move the needle on paying for this marvelous facility, until we have 900 to 1,000 people worshipping here. That was the vision way back in 1983. Our beautiful sanctuary was built for two- 500 attendee services or a congregation of 1,000.
It was a fantastic vision which has never been fulfilled. Peak attendance was barely over 350 attendees and that only occurred for part of one year. Today we average 88 attendees per Sunday. You can chance pastors, change music, etc....but we cannot bring 900 more people each Sunday no matter what we do.
Yet we have a fantastic mission, a wonderful core of congregants and a "story to tell to the nations". Our challenge is not the mission, its the space. We need to be in an appropriate space for the mission and ministry of our church. Currently, we have 88 people using 46,000 square feet! Wow, isn't that crazy?
Rev. Dr. Rick Morse, son of our own Ann and Bob Morse, wrote a fantastic booked titled, From Our Doorsteps: Developing a Ministry Plan That Makes Sense. He shares that the budget expenditures for conducting ministry should be: 50% personnel, 25% building, 15% program, and 10% mission. Our building cost, realistically prevents us from spending 15% on program or 10% on mission. These two components are precisely why people give.
Your ruling elders have prayed and talked to the Presbytery, each other and long time members of our church about all these issues. They have taken action on everything else to help us accomplish our mission. Now they turn to you, the congregation, to determine what only a congregation and Presbytery can do; to consider relocating to a more appropriate facility for ministry and worship.
You will hear about their actions taken and their "thank you" to you for your financial support. They will challenge you to continue your support and to increase it as you are able for 2017. Now they want to talk openly with you and hear what you think about their actions and recommendations.
This is a bold step they are taking and it is because you called them to be leaders of this church. Please come to the October 9th Town Hall and let us come prepared to share openly, honestly, and with mutual respect.
I am very proud to say that the tradition of bold leadership by Helen and Ernie Dale is continuing under the leadership of our ruling elders today. May God forge a unity of spirit as we share our diverse opinions and feelings about what God would have us do.
In Christ, Pastor Will