Debbie Shearer, Moderator
Warm greetings to the congregation of The Church in Silver Lake.
I am writing to you now because I want you to begin to think about and plan for our annual pledge drive for 2016. Individual circumstances can change for the good or bad in a single year, so please know that your pledge card simply represents your best estimate of planned giving. Our “official” Pledge Sunday will be November 8th but you may make your pledge at any time.
Let me share with you the reasons why I make an annual pledge to my church. First and foremost, I give money to my church because I always support the things that are important to me. I go to church because I need the blessings I receive. Pastor Brad has such powerful messages in his sermon that I find myself leaving church every Sunday and thinking “I can do better this week.” I get such joy from seeing the children and hearing their sweet voices when they pray. I enjoy trying to make a “joyful noise” when I sing with the music team or follow our guest musicians. I love greeting my friends on Sunday mornings and getting to know new people who visit our church for the first time. I feel so close to God, and this is the way I want to start my week. This church is a priority in my life and is deserving of my support.
In addition, I give money to my church because this is God’s house. I want the building and grounds to look nice and be well maintained. I know this takes money. It gives me great pleasure to walk into my church and see everything look orderly and welcoming. I love the new furniture in the narthex, and the Sunday School rooms are so much more cheerful with the fresh paint. Are there other areas of our church in need of attention? Absolutely. I want my church to be something that our members can be proud of, and I am willing to provide support for these projects.
Finally, I give money to my church to honor the memory of my grandmother who was the role model of my life and my best friend. She always told me “You never lose anything by giving.” I have found this to be true in every aspect of my life. When I give my time, talents, and money to the things I care about, I received blessings beyond anything I could have imagined. I want my church to be financially sound so that the good things that happen here will continue for many years to come.
Composing this letter about our pledge drive has not been easy. Asking for money never is. However, it is necessary to insure that the ministries, day-to-day operating expenses, and outreach programs of our church can go forward in positive and secure ways. I sincerely believe that investing in
The Church in Silver Lake is a gift you give yourself!
I ask that you consider what this church means to you. Reflect on the ways you have been blessed by the message and the fellowship. Talk with your family and/or your partner. Pray.
Please complete your pledge card and bring it to any church service between now and November 8th or mail your pledge card to the church office. There will be a locked box in the Narthex for the pledge cards. The church treasurer and I, in my role as Moderator, are the only people who will see your pledge card, and this process will be held in the strictest confidence. I will keep a confidential tally only so that the treasurer can prepare the budget for approval at our January congregational meeting.
Thank you for your consideration and support of The Church in Silver Lake.
In Christian Love,
Debbie Shearer, Moderator
Brad Jagger, Pastor
Growth, transition and excitement have been a constant trend over the past three years. Here is a quick look at our church by the numbers.
113 Members / Active
13 Members / Inactive
28 non-members active
63 – Children under the age of 12
Of our 113 active members it is almost exactly a 50/50 split between people who became members in the past 3 years and people who were members before prior. In addition to these active members we have 28 people who fall into the category of non-member / active. These are people who have been attending for a while and are involved in the life of the church as a member would be, but have not officially joined. Our church has 63 children under the age of 12 (not yet confirmed into the church). And finally, we have 200 people who are listed as visitors. These are people who have visited our church. Some have attended only once. Others occasionally show up for Sunday morning worship. All these numbers can be confusing but what the numbers clearly show is that our church is rapidly growing and changing. Of the more than 400 people listed above, well over 300 of them are relatively new to the church.
Along with all the new growth we have added many new ministries. True Colors, Autism Inclusion Ministry (AIM), partnering with Camo, Shambhala, Theology On Tap, Soda Pop Theology, Family First Friday. We also have a growing Sunday School and youth group.
In addition to these new ministries, we are exploring the possibility of a second traditional worship service to possibly begin in the Spring. We have grown to the point where offering a traditional worship service has become a very real possibility.
All this growth as created lots of wonderful opportunity as well as many new challenges. Finances is one of the major realities we need to address in the life of the church. This year we find ourselves $30,000 in debt for the year. $17,000 of that came from much needed repairs to an aging building. As our church grows, so will the financial realities related to growing ministry needs.
For the past several years the annual budget of our church has been hovering around $150,000. Think about how active our church has been over the past two to three years. Also, consider how much we have rehabbed our aging building. This year alone we have torn down the condemned garage behind our building, renovated the Sunday School classrooms, and repaved and lined our parking lot. These are naming only the largest of the projects we took on this year. All this work and we have cut spending in others places enough that we are still on budget for the year.
In fact, so far this year we have spent $3,000 less than last year. Our $30,000 debt is not from over spending our budget. The $30,000 is directly related to a transitioning congregation. We are thrilled that we are attracting younger families to the church. Our sanctuary is now full on Sunday mornings! This presents an exciting challenge for the church. More people means more ministry and resources are being used. More people costs the church more money. The church has worked miracles, growing our ministry while keeping the spending down.
The optimistic way of looking at our situation is to say that our church is only short $20!
We understand that new young families coming into the life of the church are struggling to make ends meet with their own family. Also, many of these families have been coming to the church for less than a year and were not attending during last year’s pledge drive.
Now for the good news! We are only $20 short on our budget! A gift of only $20 will transform the life of this church. One of the great things about the new young members and visitors to the church is the fact that there are LOTS of them! There is strength in numbers. If all of our new members and new visitors would pledge just $20 a week, we would be able to fully fund our budget in 2016. Of course we also understand people will be giving different amounts. Many will be giving more than $20 a week and others giving less than $20 a week. All gifts are equal in the eyes of God when we give from our heart.
We have heard so many stories of how much this church means to so many of you. We now ask for your financial support to continue the meaningful ministries that have touched your lives. If we all pull together and make a meaningful commitment, the blessings of this church will continue to multiply.
We encourage everyone, if you have not already done so, to turn in your pledge card this week!
With deepest regards,
Brad Jagger, Pastor