Financial struggles in churches all over the U.S. is a well documented saga over the past year and Disciples has been no different. Add to that mix the loss of a few influential staff members partnered with the summer slump and you have a pretty depressing landscape for fostering health and growth in a church.
Like many churches this year, Disciples faced budget shortfalls, staff layoffs, ministries without promised resources and the inevitability of the strain and stress all that brings. However, through all of these challenges we have worked diligently to remain centrally focused on the mission before us, connecting people far from God with Christ and community. And while we’ve never lost sight of ourselves as a Rescue Vessel, the fog rolled in pretty thick a few times making it pretty difficult to get out of harbor and on the open seas where people long for rescue.
So in an effort to keep our focus laser sharp for rescue, we have decided to take a step that may seem surprising. We have given up all of our office space as well as our Elementary Wing for a temporary reduction in space, freeing up resources for RESCUE. As detailed this past Sunday at our 3-Year Anniversary Celebration, we are making the move back into smaller quarters beginning this week. We will be reworking some classrooms and creating more functional spaces in our top building that will allow us to temporarily, and I do mean temporarily, function in just our upper building.
The thought of scrunching (Is that a word?) back into a much smaller space does not sound like good news but this temporary move will reduce our monthly overhead by nearly 20%, availing us once again to devote the bulk of our ministry efforts toward rescue and not toward “staying afloat”. That means more resources actually in the hands of our ministry leaders to disciple people. It means a return to our high quality kids curriculum that has been on hold for months. This means tangible resources to those in our community struggling in their marriages; facing depression or financial ruin.
We are truly in a great season and I believe that with this humbling – maybe, but indeed courageous, move we will set the stage for the next fruitful season of ministry. This sets us all up to live out our CORE Practices with greater focus as well as rescue those who are drowning. Let me be the first to challenge you to jump aboard, the fog is clearing and waters invite us into a great adventure together on the open seas!
It remains my great honor and high privilege to lead you.