A Special Stewardship Message from Pastor Chris:
September 22, 2022
To the Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Berthoud,
“How are things going at your church?” Whenever I’m talking with a friend, colleague, or relative, this question eventually comes up, and I’ve recently noticed a change in the way I respond. Words come to me more naturally and I feel enthusiasm and joy. I find myself telling people that 2022 has been a great year for our church. Switching my role from a full-time pastorate to three-quarter time seems to have activated the gifts of our congregation. Our elders are doing an excellent job of leading the church, including taking turns preaching and leading worship. New people are coming to worship with us and are joining the church. The choir started singing again this month and is even preparing for a Christmas cantata. God is doing a new thing among us and it’s exciting to watch.
Along with that good news, I also celebrate that our church is in a more stable financial situation now than we were a year ago. When I was called to serve here in 2016, the Session took a risk by calling a full-time pastor, even though doing so meant budgeting for a sizable deficit each year. For years we made it work by having a congregation that gave more than they pledged, leaders who spent less than was budgeted, and savings from which we could draw to make up the difference. Then last year we faced the hard truth: the pace at which we were spending down our savings was unsustainable. The prudent thing to do was to cut expenses, most significantly by changing our ministry model from a full-time pastorate to what we have now. We framed this change as an invitation to “rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Now we can celebrate how the Lord indeed is giving us new life.
I am grateful for the ways you have followed the Holy Spirit and shared your time, talents, and resources with our church this year. Now, as we plan for 2023, I want to ask you to look ahead and consider how God’s inviting you to share in and support the future life of our church. If you hear our announcements each Sunday, you know there are myriad ways you can volunteer in service to the church. Our Nominating Committee will be gathering soon to discern who to invite to serve as Elders and Deacons in the coming year. Our Budget Committee is also already at work planning the 2023 budget, and we know that the generosity of our congregation is essential to our church’s continued growth and renewal.
In 2 Corinthians 9:8, the Apostle Paul wrote that “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” Trusting that God is able to provide more than enough for all our needs, I invite you to prayerfully consider sharing abundantly in support of our congregation’s life, worship, and witness. To help the Session and the Budget Committee prepare for next year, we’ve created a pledge card with this letter on which you may indicate your financial support for 2023. (Download yours here.) The card also has room for you to commit to praying for our church, serving as a volunteer, or telling others about the new life God is giving us. If you worship with us in person, please bring your card with you to worship on Stewardship Sunday, October 23, at 10:00 a.m., when we will collectively offer these pledges to God. You may also mail your pledge card back to the church in the enclosed envelope. Your responses will help shape our 2023 budget which will be presented at our Annual Congregational Meeting on November 20, following worship.
God is indeed doing a new thing at First Presbyterian Church, and I’m grateful that you are part of it. Thank you for all you currently do in support of our congregation and thank you for considering how you will support our future together. May the Lord bless you with wise discernment and joy as you respond.
Grace and Peace,