October 19, 2016
Dear FBC Members and Friends,
These past weeks Pastor Julie has asked us to focus on how Christian generosity can shape our lives according to God's purposes—in our own lives and as members of the Body of Christ.
Through the sacrificial generosity of past FBC members and friends we, unlike many inner city churches, have survived financially. Many of those gifts were intended to provide for the upkeep and maintenance of our facilities so that congregational giving could be dedicated to supporting our ministries and missions. Among those gifts was the property on which the Drake apartment building now sits next door.
The good news is that the Drake's ground rent provides over $1 million per year of operating funds: The not-so-good news is that after decades of deferred maintenance, the estimated cost of needed facility repairs and improvements now exceeds $6 million.
More good news: Because of the Drake income, 100% of your gifts and offerings does go to support our ministries and missions. More not-so-good news: The Drake income is providing most of the financial resources devoted to those programs as well as building repairs, deferred maintenance and aesthetic improvements. This means we can only nibble away at meeting our critical building needs.
Fact: Our current congregational giving covers only about 21% of our budgeted needs.
The 2016-2017 budget we courageously endorsed at our September 25th congregational meeting calls for a 12% increase in congregational giving. This challenging but doable
goal increases overall congregational giving to 24% of our budgeted needs. We have a promising start: Over the past six months our membership, worship attendance and giving have seen strong growth.
We know that a church's budget is the most concrete expression of its values, vision and priorities. To put it another way: Our budget is where the rubber meets the road. In our case, it’s the road on which Christ is leading us to become the church that serves God's purposes in our community and in the world. We need your support.
These past weeks Pastor Julie has asked us to allow Christian generosity to shape our lives. If each FBC member and friend gives gratefully and generously, we will meet this year's challenging giving goal and move confidently into the future God has prepared for us.
On Sunday, October 30, we will celebrate an “offering of financial commitments” in worship together. Will you take time to pray about your financial participation in what God is doing in and through First Baptist Church during the coming year?
And as an expression of your intention, will you please complete a commitment card indicating your financial commitment between now and December 2017? Your pledge will remain confidential—whether you make it here online or use a paper card located in the pews, sanctuary welcome area, office area or fellowship hall. (If you pledge online or turn in a commitment card early, you’ll still receive a pledge card in your order of worship on October 30th that you may use as a symbol of your pledge during the offering of commitments.)
We believe that 2016-17 is poised to be a banner year in our history—for all kinds of wonderful reasons. Thank you for all that you mean to this congregation, and to the gospel of Christ.
Your Stewardship Committee: