On Friday of this week we will be mailing out a letter to our entire church family introducing our giving project for this year’s Ingathering Offering which will take place on Sunday, November 24. On that Sunday we will be having our annual Ingathering Dinner as a church family. As is our tradition here at E-Free, we will also be taking a second offering that morning for a special project as we do each year.
Last year we raised many thousands of dollars toward our technology upgrade that is being installed this month and which will become operational in the very near future. This year the project that the Elder Board has approved is raising seed money for our needed nursery expansion which is part of our three year vision plan.
For those of you who read my blog, let me give you a "sneak peek" of what the letter will detail. Below is a Q&A regarding this project and this special offering in which we have set a goal to see $100,000 given on that one day.
Why do we need to expand our nurseries?
We are seeing amazing growth on Sunday. October this year is on pace to be a 40% increase from October just one year ago. Much of this growth is in the area of young families with young children. Our nursery expansion will accomplish several things:
· First, it will ensure that we have enough room to care for and minister to the growing population of our church which has children ages 3 and under.
· Second, it will allow us to put our nursery ministry all in one location. Currently our nursery is in two locations of our church which makes it very difficult on parents who are bringing multiple small children to church.
· Third, it will allow us to provide a nursery area in which we can secure all the rooms which are used to minister to the youngest and most vulnerable of our church family. As you know, security of children must be a priority in the world we live in today.
· Fourth, this will better equip us to be able to meet as many people as possible right where they are so that we can help move them to where God wants them to be!
How large will this expansion of the nursery be?
We will be literally doubling our current nursery capacity by adding 2400 square feet to our present nursery area.
Will this expansion provide any other rooms besides nursery space?
Yes! Because our current nursery area is directly over a section of our downstairs classrooms, we are also looking to expand this space downward. Along with the 2400 square feet of nursery expansion upstairs we will also be able to add an additional 2400 square feet multi-purpose room on our lower level which will become our biggest room downstairs.
Do we have any conceptual drawings to show this expansion?
Yes! The Vision Team that was established by the Elder Board and by our Leadership Team to implement our vision put together a building sub-committee to begin work on this expansion plan. This sub-committee is headed by Ed Hunt and also includes Chris Olds and Brad Butcher. They presented preliminary drawings to our church leadership earlier this week. These drawings will be available for you to see out in the foyer beginning Sunday, November 3. Please keep in mind that these are just conceptual drawings. These are not final plans.
How much will this expansion cost?
The estimated cost of this expansion and renovation of our nurseries (including the additional lower lever) is under $450,000. If that figure seems staggering to you think of it this way. If you were going to build a house today it would cost you well over $150.00 a square foot. The building sub-committee has worked hard to ensure the best quality expansion for the best possible price. This total cost divides out to just $88.00 a square foot (about half of what you would spend if you were to look to build a new house today). That is not only an amazing figure – it is outstanding stewardship of our money.
How does our annual Ingathering offering fit into this?
The Elder Board has unanimously voted to use 100% of this year’s Ingathering offering as seed money for our nursery expansion. Our goal is to see the largest Ingathering offering in the history of our church take place with the result being $100,000 given on that one day, November 24, as seed money toward this much needed expansion. If $100,000 seems a bit high to you for a one day offering, please remember that if we want to see God work in a big way, we need to first step out on faith. That’s why we have set this BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal. As D.L. Moody once said, “If God is your partner, make your plans large.”
As a result, we will be asking our church family to earnestly pray about the role God might have each person/family play to see us reach this goal in our Ingathering Offering on Sunday, November 24. Think of it this way. The total cost of this renovation/expansion is around $88.00 per square foot. We are asking each person to consider how many square feet they or their family can provide on November 24. It would break down this way:
$88.00 = 1 square foot
$176.00 = 2 square feet
$264.00 = 3 square feet
$440.00 = 5 square feet
$880.00 = 10 square feet
$1,056.00 = 12 square feet
$2,200.00 = 25 square feet
$4,400.00 = 50 square feet
$8,800.00 = 100 square feet
$22,000.00 = 250 square feet
$44,000.00 = 500 square feet
$88,000.00 = 1000 square feet
How can we talk about a building expansion when we aren’t meeting our annual budget?
There is a pattern seen clearly in Scripture which is that if we want to see God work in and through us, we must first take steps of faith. Remember when the Children of Israel got to the edge of the swollen and flooded Jordan River in Joshua chapter 3? God could have simply said, “Stand back and watch,” and then parted the water. But that is not what He did. Instead, He commanded that the priests carrying the heavy Ark of the Covenant first step into that swollen and fierce river. Once the soles of their sandals hit the water, God went into action and the river parted. What’s the lesson? If we simply sit back and wait – little will happen; but if we take steps of faith – we will see God work in extraordinary ways! That is His pattern.
Hebrews 11 teaches us that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” For example, we stepped out on faith with this Vision Plan and God opened the door far earlier than we had planned to a radio ministry on The Eagle (101.5) that is now having an amazing impact each and every week. He has now also opened the door for us to expand our radio ministry in the very near future with The Promise FM (90.5). That’s God’s pattern!
With that in mind, we are again ready to step out on faith and put our feet in the water, fully believing that God will respond. We are confident that if we are off track, God will close the door, but if we are on the right track, and we truly believe we are, we are confident that God will continue to open the doors wide for us.
Please also keep in in mind that our Elder Board and Leadership Team view our annual budget very much as a “Faith Budget.” In other words, we believe our budget should include all that we believe God wants us to do in the coming year and then trust Him for the resources. Some people confuse stewardship with budgets. We believe that budgets are based on faith while spending is based on stewardship. As a result, we will always look to increase our budget (that’s faith) but we will never spend more than what comes in (that’s stewardship). As a result, we have safety nets in place to ensure stewardship in our spending including a Purchase Order System in which all spending over $199.00 has to be pre-approved, as well as an emergency fund that we have established and set aside in case of something unforeseen taking place. Because of this, we believe that vision should always drive the budget. We never want to make the mistake of allowing budget to dictate the vision.
Won’t our asking for money toward a major project like this take away from other giving?
I honestly believe that just the opposite will happen. The money is there. All we need to do is to provide the vision and the opportunity for people to give generously. What I have found is that when people give generously to one project, they become much more likely to give more generously in all other areas as well. Obviously, we would ask that no one take away from their regular giving in order to give to this project. I think that what we will find is that promoting giving to this project will actually effect our other giving positively as well.
What are we asking of you as someone who is part of our church ministry?
That is a one word answer - PRAY! Nothing of eternal importance happens apart from prayer. Will you join us in praying that God will allow us to meet and even surpass this goal? I believe in specific prayer. Will you join me in praying that God will allow us to see $100,000 given in our Ingathering Offering on Sunday, November 24?
I would also encourage you to take the special Ingathering Offering envelope that you will soon be receiving in the mail with the letter being sent and put it some place where you will see it every day so that you can pray daily about what God would lay on your heart to give above and beyond your regular giving on Sunday, November 24. What step of faith will you take? How generous will God lead you to be?
God is doing amazing things in our church! Thank you for your partnership in ministry here at E-Free as we strive to meet as many people as possible right where they are so that we can move them to where God wants them to be.