Some see it as just a necessary evil, but I see it as a symptom of Hope’s strength. On Sunday evening, after we gather at 5 pm for a fellowship/community dinner, we will have our Annual Meeting at 6. Some think such meetings are just the “rent” that needs to be paid to do church in the 21st Century…approve a budget and things …a necessary evil. But I see it as far more than that. To me, it is symptomatic of the fact that Hope Chapel is built on the commitment and discernment of far more people than just me, or the staff, or the Elders, any other leadership team. Instead it is built on the commitment and godly discernment of a large swath of people who are the ministry partners/members burdened for Hope to be faithful to God and highly effective with the Gospel in our region. And according to Ecclesiastes 4:12, there is definitely strength in numbers. I know some downplay the significance of membership, thinking it is “enough” to be a part of the general “body of Christ” but I personally think it is more vital now than ever. With theology being a moving target today, it is vital for a church to know who it can count on…those committed to God, to biblical truth, and to that individual church being great for God. Any church is in deep trouble if it does not have a great group of people like that whom it can rely on in seeking God’s leadership. That is why the Kingdom needs its best servants committed to membership.
A word about our upcoming meeting, specifically our 2017-2018 Budget recommendation with an aggressive 5.3% increase. The main driver behind the increase is the sense that the Elders and Staff have that this is the moment to intensify our “come and see” and “seek and find” church culture. God has gifted Hope with what the world needs. God is leading us to capitalize on that giftedness and create more opportunities for people to invite their friends to come and see Jesus at Hope. And then to help them find the One they seek. Given that, here are some new elements in this year’s budget recommendation:
– The creation of two new support staff roles. One is a Facilities Assistant role that will focus on much of the set-up and take down that goes on each week at Hope so those who come to serve can focus on serving people, not moving furniture. The other is a Digital Outreach Assistant role designed to help us utilize social media tools to reach people for the Kingdom.
– Funding to under gird several outreach efforts. One is ACE (Academic Center for Excellence) which is a tutoring ministry we started this past year. Another is funding two “workshop” days like this past spring’s Parent Workshop. The third is some money to support some community outreach projects.
– There is also a new budget item called Elder Initiatives with $5000 in it. This is to resource the Elders as they formulate some specific action plans to under gird the “come and see” environment at Hope.
– The budget includes salary increases. The base line was a 3% COLA which applied to all full time staff. Some of the part-time staff members are slated to receive slightly larger increases because it was appropriate to do so when the minimum wage in Massachusetts increased to $11/hour and the differential between their wage and the minimum wage became very small.
Please pray for Hope Chapel. Pray for the staff. Pray for Hope to be used of God to better our region and expand the numerical size of the Kingdom. Pray for God to lead committed folks to become ministry partners/members. Pray for God to lead our meeting Sunday night. Come get informed so you can know how to pray for all that is happening at Hope.
See you Sunday, hopefully with a friend.