Here’s a recap of what has been happening since the last update was published on January 26th.
Over the three Saturdays (1/20, 1/27, and 2/3), 222 adults were able to come to our congregational brunches. Adding in all the others who helped make those brunches possible, close to 300 people were here as we talked about generosity and about the ministry we share here at St. Paul.
Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to everyone who helped make those brunches a reality!
A summary of those brunches is posted on our website, including a letter from Pastor McKenney, videos in which Liz Kogler and Ron & Susie Schroedl share their stories, a copy of all the brainstorming Post-it notes, and a digital copy of the reflection guide. Click here to read more.
Sunday Mornings in Lent
Our worship beginning on February 11th will use the church season of Transfiguration and Lent to talk about generosity—God’s generosity to us in Jesus, and the way we reflect that generosity in every aspect of our lives. We also want those themes to spill over into our Sunday morning adult Bible study discussions. The Bible study series will focus on things Jesus said about generosity in his parables in the gospel of Luke.
Here’s what you can expect in upcoming sermons:
|Lent 1||Feb 17-19||Mark 1:12-15||Generosity: God is First|
|Lent 2||Feb 24-26||Mark 8:31-38||Generosity: Losing Your Life|
|Lent 3||Mar 3-5||John 2:13-22||Generosity: Requires Housecleaning|
|Lent 4||Mar 10-12||John 3:14-21||Generosity: Love in Action|
|Lent 5||Mar 17-19||John 12:20-33||Generosity: Sowing Seeds|
February Sunday, February 25th will be Leadership Commitment Sunday. Just as David did in the Old Testament (read 1 Chronicles 28-29), we’re asking our leaders to step up to lead and inspire all of us in supporting God’s work here at St. Paul.
Feb-Mar Worship and Bible study will focus on generosity.
March On the weekend of Palm Sunday (March 24-26), look for a full packet of information as we start to gear up for Congregation Commitment Weekend. Maundy Thursday is March 29th. Good Friday is March 30th.
April Easter is April 1st. Christ is risen! The three Sundays after Easter (4/8, 4/15, and 4/22), we’ll focus on our ministry. At St. Paul we are connecting people … to Christ … to each other … and to our community. Confirmation Sunday is April 29th.
May The weekend of Sunday, May 6th will be our Congregation Commitment Weekend. God has generously blessed each of us in different ways. We hope that already now you’re thinking and praying about how God can use you to extend our gospel ministry to the future.
Check the previous project updates for other FAQs:
December When is groundbreaking going to be?
Do the renderings show what has been approved for construction?
January May 6th seems a long way off for our congregation commitment weekend. Why the wait?
Are we really going to be able to complete the whole project?
What’s the goal?
Our goal is to give five million dollars over the next three years in addition to our regular offerings. More than you could give? Of course it is, because this isn’t just you or me. This is about all of us coming together to support and extend the ministry of God’s Word to Lake Mills for the future. It is a big number. But remember that we have a big God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Know, too, that we’re not just picking a number out of the air. That number is based in part on conversations with members who have already said they want to give toward this ministry, and in part on the advice from our consultant from Generis, Larry Ulrich, after he studied our finances and our giving. We’re praying that God will give us resources and willing hearts to reach that goal.
That financial goal is written first here, since that’s usually what people have in mind when they ask that question. But honestly, there are other goals that are more important than funding a building project. They’re the goals that are part of our whole “connecting” theme … the goal that we would connect ever more deeply to Jesus Christ over the coming months … the goal that we would connect to each other as a congregation … the goal of finding more and more ways to connect with our community.
Because honestly, if we build a building but end up further from Christ, further from each other, and further from our community, what have we gained? That’s why our deeper goal is to engage 100% of the people of St. Paul over the next few months as we grow together around God’s Word.
What is the commitment process like?
Perhaps the whole idea of making a commitment is new to you. We’ve been fielding some questions about what to expect. Here are a few tips. If these don’t quite get at your questions, contact one of the people in the box on the first page of this update.
- A commitment is a promise. We hope that you take your promise seriously, since the plans we will be making together depend on it. At the same time, only God knows the future, and it could happen that someone needs to change their commitment down the road (either increasing it or decreasing it) because of some major change in life.
- The commitment period is over three years. It could be that you spread your gifts evenly from 2018-2021, or perhaps you’ll give most up front or most toward the end. Each of our financial situations is different. But a commitment is not saying you have the resources to give it all right away.
- Keep in mind both the new and the ongoing. Yes, a new building would be new and exciting. But remember that the building isn’t the end goal. It’s a tool to reach people with the gospel. The last thing any of us wants is to have a brand new building but to be unable to expand (or even maintain) our vital ministry that happens in the building. As you plan your commitment, include plans for how you’ll intentionally support our ongoing ministry with your weekly offerings.
- Don’t just think through what you give; think through why you give. That’s one reason why we’re not scheduling the congregation commitment Sunday for next week. We’re hoping no one gives out of a guilt trip. Even worse would be thinking that your gift earns you something from God. Christian giving is different. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Similarly, we give because he first gave to us. Let’s spend this Lent and Easter marveling again at God’s love to us in Christ. May his love and generosity deepen our own love and generosity!
- Return a commitment card on the weekend of May 6th. Unless you’re one of our elected leaders, you don’t have that commitment card yet. Those will be coming on the weekend of Palm Sunday (March 25th). You’ll write your commitment on the card and bring it to worship on the weekend of May 6th.
Why can’t I find everything on the main website menu?
One of the main purposes of our website is to connect with people outside our church who are interested in learning more about who we are. With that in mind, the main church menu has a page titled “Expansion Plans” that has the basic information about our project and the renderings. But the details about our plans are on a separate part of our website because they’re meant for our members rather than for our whole community. People who are not members can still get there if they have the link, but it’s not the first thing they’ll find and read.
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