Above and Beyond

By the time you read this, you’ll either notice a few changes around the church or will notice them soon.  They are awesome changes – but what’s more awesome is how the changes came about.

First, our sanctuary will soon appear brighter to you.  That’s because we are replacing every one of the chandelier light bulbs, spot lights, and cove lights.  A number of them, as you’ve probably noticed, have been burned out for a while.  So it is good to replace them.  It’s even better to replace them with energy-efficient LED bulbs that will last longer and use less electricity.

Second, we will soon have a new Fellowship Hall floor.  If you’ve been in there recently you’ve noticed that many of the tiles were coming unglued.  Not only was this unsightly, but unsafe.  No more – a new laminate wood floor is being installed that’ll look fantastic and be more durable for the heavy use our fellowship hall is getting these days.

There’s a new middle railing being installed for the stairs from the cloister to the sanctuary.  Over the years we’ve had some older members encounter difficulty going up and down holding onto just one railing.  This middle railing will make it easier for folks to get to worship – something we certainly want to make easy to do!

And last year, we were able to fix the Parlor doors leading out to the courtyard area so they could be used as originally intended, while alleviating leakage problems on rainy days.

All of these are awesome changes, but here’s the real awesome part: the church did not pay for these repairs out of our operating budget – not a single cent.  In each case, someone approached me and offered to pay for it above and beyond their normal giving.

I love this.  And not just because someone else paid for it.  I love this because someone did two things: first, they noticed something in our church that could be improved upon.  Sometimes we get so used to seeing something the way it is that we just forget about it.  These folks, though, took notice.

And second, rather than simply ignoring it or complaining about it, they took it upon themselves to talk to me and the Buildings & Grounds Ministry Team and offer to be part of the solution.  They made the decision to contribute funds above and beyond what they’ve already pledged to our operating budget and capital campaign.

The sanctuary lights, cloister step railing and Parlor door donors have asked to remain anonymous, and I will honor that.  I do want to share that the new Fellowship Hall floor was provided by the Weekday School, who chose to use a portion of their end-of-year surplus for that purpose.  To me, this is an amazing gesture from one of our most treasured partners in ministry.  I’ve expressed to Stephanie Palmer, our Weekday School director, how tremendously grateful I am for what they’ve done, and I hope you’ll do the same.

While “the church” will always belong to Jesus Christ, this particular church in a sense is yours, the members.  Pastors and staff come and go, but you are here for the long haul.  You are its leaders; you are the ones who do everything from keeping the lights on to keeping its mission intact.

Which is why one of my joys as pastor is when people like these three donors and the Weekday School take the initiative to come talk with me about some way they’d like to help – a way that serves not just their own needs but the needs and mission of the larger church.  This allows for important things to be addressed without taxing our already tight operating budget, as well as giving a church member an opportunity to feel good about making a difference for not just themselves but everyone else.

If you ever want to make a special gift to the church – to fix a facility need, to grow our endowment through legacy giving (don’t forget about our two gatherings later this month – more info in this Postscripts) or something else, come talk to me.  We’ll sit down with the corresponding staff person or ministry team chair to make sure your generosity aligns with the overall church’s vision.  And then we’ll rejoice in your joy of doing something special for the church you love.

Not everyone can step up like this, I know.  Still, we all can join in gratitude and thanks to God for those who can and do.  And in everything we do in our faith and in the life of God’s church, may we always strive to go “above and beyond!”

Your pastor and friend,

Steve