Most of us manage to keep our homes looking neat on a day to day basis. Sometimes during stress filled times we let it slide a bit. However, when word arrives that company is coming, the clean genie goes into overdrive. Vacuuming, dusting, tidying, scrubbing, etc., etc., all must be done immediately. After all, we want to make a good impression, more so for guests than we would always do for family. This is normal. I remember Mom going into overdrive when church events were to be held at our house, when my sister and I had graduation open houses, or when she hosted family holiday gatherings. Denise and I pitched in, whenever we couldn’t find a better place to hide or to be.
As a church family, we are seriously looking at a major investment in time and resources to remodel and update our fellowship hall building. We are also looking to do the work and pay for it by taking out a loan, something this congregation has rarely done. Why go to this length? Why not just make do? Why not do what we can as we can?
If this were our family home, I would agree that we do what we can as we can. However, this is God’s home and we are its stewards. This place is for us, but it is also for many others to enter and find God’s presence in a variety of ways. We are to be the hosts for God’s guests. We have to make an extra effort.
We have all seen the rotten soffits, the leaks from the roof, the spots on the carpet from glue leaking through. We have seen how crowded it can get in the main fellowship hall as well as in the kitchen when we host events. Remember how tight it was during the 50th anniversary of the congregation? We also know that we lose a lot of money on energy expenses because of the older, thinner windows.
Pretend that you are new to our church; now look at the condition of the fellowship hall. Does it truly represent the people of our church? Does it show how we really feel about our God? Does it look like a place for on going ministries? Honestly answer these questions.
We already host three different outside groups in that building. We just served a Boy Scout group who were bumped from another church and they filled the place. We already do a lot of ministry in this space. Let’s make it a better space for strangers to enter and become a part of the family.
Some have suggested that we wait until the economy is better. This is reasonable. However, we are a people who act from faith. Yes, we weigh all the factors so we don’t make the mistakes of the poor planners in the Gospels, but we also look with the eyes of faith at what this congregation can do when we choose to do so. We have helped with disaster relief through our gifts. We have sent volunteers to work Miracle Days in Dublin and at Camp Christian. We have even exceeded our pace in Outreach giving to date over 2009. We are the people of God in this place, and we can do great things if we will exercise our faith. We can do this!
We are NOT redoing the fellowship hall for our present congregation. Yes, we will benefit from it, but we do this for the future ministry it can provide. As I said before, three groups already use the fellowship hall. From these groups we have a potential to reach out to these groups in ministry. We can also open the doors to other groups, such as the Scouts who were here in August. We can also serve the greater community. In the 10 years I have been here, Georgia has been fortunate enough to not have a hurricane come ashore. We are at the end of the emergency escape route for people along the GA coast. We can become better suited as an emergency shelter for brothers and sisters escaping nature’s threats. Our women, men, and youth ministries can also be enhanced with a better space to host district and regional events.
We do not approach this work with an idea of what we can do with the fellowship hall today, but rather how God can put it to use tomorrow. Pray about this, talk about this, listen to the leading of God about this. Then, we can step forward in faith to minister as God’s stewards.