Yes, emphatically, we do!! I have been asked this question so I think it important to provide a clear and unequivocal answer.
To go a bit deeper, you may know that our offering envelopes have two boxes for contribution amount – one for “BUILDING” and one for “OPERATIONS”. We established this pattern many years ago to emphasize both the need to secure a physical base (building) and to support our ministries (operations).
The “operations” portion of contributions is to support all ministries and outreach, staff salaries and administrative overhead expenses. The ”building” portion of contributions was designed to support three distinct elements: buying the land; construction, furnishing and equipping a building; and paying a mortgage. The first of these three is complete; the second is nearly complete (with some equipping in progress or planned); and the third is, of course, a work in progress.
That third element, our mortgage, is an expense that we have always known we would have and that was included in our planning. Our mortgage represents the primary continuing need now, and in the years ahead, for contributions to the building fund. We estimated, well before construction started, that a mortgage payment would approximate $13,000 per month. The reality, with inflation and interest rate increases, is that our mortgage is about $15,000 per month. Our contributions have been notably generous but below what is required. The shortfall is not alarmingly large at this point, and we have some funds set aside as contingency, but we will need to step up support in this area. We will continue to carefully track building fund income as the year develops and keep you informed.
Finally, while the subject of this article is the “building fund”, let me close with something far more important, the very presence and majesty of God. During a recent worship service, we were singing “How Great Is Our God”, a portion of which is reproduced below. It came to me in that moment that there is a time to set aside spreadsheets, anxieties, administrative concerns, visions for ministry, mortgages and even successes, thanksgivings and joys – in favor of simply praising God for who he is. Every blessing from God emanates from the very nature of a loving, forgiving, gracious, merciful, bountiful, saving and Almighty God. Can you sense that in these words?
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God
The spiritual and emotional nature of this song is very much lost without the music and congregational fellowship that brings the words to life. But we know the song well and have no doubt experienced the thrill of the Holy Spirit as we praise Him in this way. My sense is that simple praising brings our effort into perspective. Check me on that the next time we sing this beautiful praise song, and I would like to hear your experience, as God speaks to your spirit.
Alan B. Clark