It’s a new day for God’s beloved here at Light of Christ.
We’re beginning to live into that new day. We are taking a big step into this new day as we launch our major capital campaign in February. The first priority in our New Day capital campaign is to retire our indebtedness. We currently owe about $435,000 on our building from our last building project. Retiring that debt does two things: 1) it will save us between $80,000 -- $100,000 in interest by eliminating our debt in three years rather than thirteen years; and 2) it will free up about $46,000 in annual mortgage payments that we will then use to fund our mission and ministry.
What will we do with the money that we free up? One of the first things we want to do is strengthen our worship and music ministry and our children, youth, and family ministry. We want to develop a more dynamic and transformative worship experience on Sunday mornings. One key piece of that development is to move from a part-time music director to a full-time worship and music director. We believe that by moving to a full-time position we will be able to attract a top-flight worship and music director who can lead us into the worship and music life that we desire: children, youth and adult choirs and ensembles; vocal and instrumental; singing and playing a wide variety of music; and introducing innovative, transformative worship services.
At the same time, we want to strengthen our children, youth, and family ministry. We want our children, youth, and families to be transformed by the love of Christ. We want every child at Light of Christ to know, deep in their bones, that they are a beloved child of God. We also want every family to be a “beloved community” where Christ’s love is taught and known and lived. We want our youth to not only know how deeply and dearly loved they are, but also be equipped to give Christ’s love away in authentic, transformative ways. One essential element in strengthening our children, youth, and family ministry is to move toward two full-time children, youth, and family directors. which means that over the next several years we want to have Kirsten move from part-time (two days a week) to full-time.
We have also made the decision to set aside 10% of the money we raise in our New Day campaign for serving those in poverty. Right now we give 10% of our offerings to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (our national church body) and the Minneapolis Area Synod (our regional assembly of congregations). We also give 1% of our offerings to Love, Inc. I’d like to see us duplicate our “Love, Inc.” model to nine other ministries. That means giving 1% of our capital campaign funds to nine different ministries like Feed My Starving Children, Habitat for Humanity, St. Stephen’s Shelter, and so forth. These are all ministries that serve those in poverty. In addition to giving 1% of our offerings to each ministry, they are also ministries with whom we can do “hands on” service. My hope is that once the capital campaign is over we will continue to give to these ministries through our regular offerings and serve in a “hands on” way. In this way we will increase our benevolence, that is, the money we give beyond Light of Christ, from 11% of our annual offerings to 20%.
We also want to develop our ministries of healing and wholeness. Last summer we met with half a dozen community leaders from a wide variety of vocations: law enforcement, mental health, schools, social service, and local government. When we asked them what were some of the most pressing, unmet needs in our community they all said that they are encountering a growing number of people with mental health needs and thus, a growing need for mental and emotional health services. As a result, we are asking ourselves what we can do here at Light of Christ to address these needs. We are exploring ways in which we can be a community of healing and wholeness by tapping into the resources of our faith: things like healing prayer, healing services, spiritual support groups, prayer groups, speakers, workshops, and so forth.
We also need to care for the building and property the Lord has entrusted to us. The building and property that we have is an instrument, not a monument. Therefore, we always need to be asking: how do we use this facility as an instrument to help us grow as God’s beloved children, in God’s beloved community, caring for God’s beloved creation? In the next five years we anticipate we will have around $500,000 in building and property repairs and improvements. If you are interested in knowing what those repairs and improvements are the Property Committee can give you the details. We don’t want to defer these repairs and improvements because deferred maintenance always costs more than timely maintenance. We want to be good stewards of our building and property.
Finally, we need to invest in upgrading our technological capabilities. We need to get to the place where you can do everything you need to do here at Light of Christ on your phone, tablet, or computer – things like listening to sermons and services, registering for classes and events, giving financially, volunteering for ministries, and so forth. We are moving in that direction—our new website is one step—but we still have a ways to go.
It is a new day here at Light of Christ and I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to step into that new day with boldness. The highest priority from the Missional Assessment Profile that many of you took last summer is to “explore new and innovative ways to be church in today’s culture.” We are committed to doing just that—being a twenty first century church. So pray for this, work for this, give for this, so that we can be faithful to God’s dream for Light of Christ in this new day.
Your servant in Christ,
A New Day
It’s a new day for God’s beloved here at Light of Christ.