Last Sunday was July 1st, the first day of our new fiscal year here at Grace Church. Over the past 12 months we have seen God do so many wonderful things. It was a record year for Grace Church when it comes to Sunday morning attendances; offerings; and most importantly, people coming to know Christ. I don’t think I will ever forget that day when we baptized 104 people in one Sunday morning. This past fiscal year also included the largest Bible School we have ever had along with effective events like the Christmas Walk-Thru; Youth Fifth Quarters; The Beach Blast; The Easter Egg Hunt; and our Rodeo and Western Event that allowed us to build bridges to literally thousands of people from our own community. The past year also saw another tremendous year of impacting many young lives through the ministries of MorningStar Daycare and Lititz Christian School.
In my 20 years of pastoral ministry, I have never experienced such an amazing ministry year. As a result, I firmly believe, as does our Church Staff and Elder Board, that this coming fiscal year (July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008) will be a year beyond anything we have ever seen here at Grace…a year of unprecedented growth. In putting together our budget for the coming twelve months, we have planned with this in mind.
We have put together a budget that will allow us to meet more people than ever before right where they are and then help move them to where God wants them to be. At the same time we want to be able to continue to take our former mortgage payment ($297,000 a year) and to put that same amount into our Facility Expansion Fund so that we are primed for future expansion as God directs us. In fact, this summer our Concept Development Team will begin working on plans for our twelve acres of land across the street that will allow us to more effectively fulfill our mission while paving the way for us to be able to expand our present facility.
This fiscal year we will add Tim Auld to our staff as our Pastor of Spiritual Formation. We have also made increases to our children’s ministries. Over the last fiscal year we increased our Children’s Director position from part-time to full-time and we increased our Early Childhood position from just 5 hours a week to a part-time position. We are now ready to see our Children’s Ministry reach levels never before seen here at Grace. We are also giving great emphasis this coming year in seeing all of our new people, and the many more that will be joining us this year, become more connected to our church.
As you can see, this is going to be a very exciting and very important fiscal year for our church in regards to our present and our future ministry. It is this excitement and anticipation that unified our Elder Board in taking a step of faith and presenting a budget that is a 10% increase over the actual giving of the past fiscal year. This budget was unanimously approved by the congregation at our annual business meeting in June. It will allow us to be able to accomplish all of our plans for this upcoming year, including $200,000 going to missions that will allow us to have a greater global impact for Christ while still allowing us to position ourselves for the future.