“Growing The Church” Sing for the Lord
Your pledge cards are in the mail. You are urged to thoughtfully complete them and return them to the Church according to the options available to you.
Bill Springer discussed how pledges will support our new associate pastor position and outreach to younger members.
Good morning! Carolyn and I have been members of our Church for 40 years. Our children learned to love God here and we have grown in our faith through the help of our Church community.
In late 2017, after the departure of our Associate Pastor Kate Kelly, the session formed a committee to study the staffing needs of our Church. I served on that committee along with Floy Shaeffer, Owen Heath, Jodie Harmsen, and Pastor Joe.
This morning, I want to talk to you about the recommendation of that committee to hire an Associate Pastor and why this is important to you as members of the Church. Although the process to accomplish this will take some time, the investment to make it happen is in the proposed 2019 budget and we believe is vital to the growth and sustenance of our Church.
Let me take you through the process that led us to our recommendation. Our analysis included reviewing data from both our Church and from other churches of our size in geographical areas with similar demographics. What we found is really a confirmation of what we already knew! Our active, engaged congregation is a senior one. The demographic data by age grouping for our church over the last two years is enlightening!
While our total membership decreased by 15%, those younger than 65 decreased by 21%! The only segment showing an increase were members 65 and older! Up by 28%! It is obvious that we must do a better job of attracting and maintaining younger adults and families.
How do we do this?
Our recommendation is to hire an Associate Pastor to who can focus on the needs of and to nurture these younger adults and families to sustain our beloved Church!
This effort will include reaching out to the community and to the younger families who are already members, to help our Church to be more relevant and important to them as they manage their lives and difficult schedules, to include God and Church in their lives. We want to welcome these young families to be part of our congregation….to worship with us, to teach their children to love God, and to be part of our community of faith, service and mission.
Our recommendation for an Associate Pastor looks to the future of our Church as one with a growing, sustainable, demographically balanced congregation, which has active adult participation within and outside the Church. We are blessed to have a senior pastor with extraordinary energy, commitment and vision. However, our recommendation for an Associate Pastor recognizes that our desire for growth and financial stability call for an Associate Pastor who is specifically charged with devoting their time and energy to those areas which are essential to achieving those goals.
Lastly it is very important to keep in mind that we can only do this if each member pledges and supports the Church. The effort to secure and retain an associate pastor has costs in excess of our normal budget and we need to be able to pay these costs in order to take this important step in growing the church.
We pray for your support. Thank you, Bill Springer
This week, Jack Ellis gave a short message during the service on the importance of pledging and how pledging supports the music of our Church.
STEWARDSHIP 2019 – MUSIC PROGRAM
Michael explained to you the hopes we have for making our church the place we all want it to be- a thriving focus for worship, fellowship and mission. I want to speak about one of the aspects of worship that is personal for me – music.
There are many ways we worship our God: we read, we listen, we pray – individually or together – to name a few. Music has been an important part of worship services since early times. I feel so blessed that our church has continued that tradition in such a strong way. We have the privilege of hearing and interpreting composers from early days, such as Bach and Telemann, down to the present – artists who had the inspiration of God’s love in their hearts.
We also have the great fortune of having Kirsten Hedegaard as our Music Director. Kirsten is a rare talent, and we all are blessed to have her clear commitment to God as she leads our music ministry. Kirsten recognizes the importance of coordinating our music with the weekly scripture and Joe’s message. She inspires the adult choirs – and bells – and perhaps equally said, she insists that the adult choirs give their best efforts; and she provides the guidance to allow that to happen. She is a wonderful teacher to those of our youth who have had the great good fortune to participate in her youth choirs. Through her initiative she has created the “Music on the Hill” (– or in the parlor, or in the Pastor’s house –) programs. That is what we as a church strive for – open doors and a community presence. And her network of professional musicians is valuable in augmenting the regular choral offerings, with soloists and instrumentalists and special music, making our worship service so very meaningful and fulfilling.
If you were to believe in miracles, I might offer that the conversion of a pedestrian voice such as mine into a contributing choir member might be one. I believe I speak for the choirs and I hope for you as well when I say that music has become an intimate part of my worship experience. For that I say, ‘thank you, Kirsten.’
Likewise, Rich Leasure is a gift to behold, performing faithfully, discretely and seamlessly at the organ or piano, supporting the choir and Kirsten, selecting the hymns we sing and making beautiful music. Thank you too, Richard.
We have to pay for the tunes we enjoy on our iPods and other electronic media. But the music we enjoy here weekly is not free either. The total cost of our music program this year will be more than eighty thousand dollars. To sustain this rare gift in 2019 will require at least that much. Please consider the value of our church’s music program to you when determining the benefits of belonging to our great church membership, and in setting your pledge for 2019 and the future. Diminishing our current music program due to lack of financial support is to me personally a chilling thought. I pray we won’t let that happen. Thank you.
Jack Ellis October 7, 2018
Next week: Bill Springer will be discussing how pledges will support our new associate pastor position and outreach to younger members.