Some of you may not be in attendance at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, so here is my pastoral report for that day:
Currently preaching through Hebrews (believe congregation needed to be in a strong book study after a couple of topical series) – will mix in Advent and New Years message if/as the Spirit leads.
Winter Adult Sunday School classes have been set up, options include “Wild at Heart”, “Creation Changes Everything”, a fundamentals/membership class, “The Reformers” and “Walking in God’s Promises” (life of Sarah). Please sign up over this next week for the class of your choice. On the other hand, our small group initiative is proceeding very slowly.
Fall attendance is averaging 247, year is in the mid-230’s (slow summer, averaged 199). However, as we look over Sunday morning attendance, Awana, Youth, Women’s Bible Study and other ministries I find we are impacting 350+ adults and children. So why do only 2/3 of all those involved at Princeton Free come on any given Sunday morning? Thoughts:
- Some of these numbers reflect “community kids” – some believers, some not – who are only touched by us on Wednesdays. Transitioning them from unbelief to belief, and from “the crowd” to “the congregation”, is one of our greatest challenges.
- Some of these reflect youth and children from other churches who lack a strong youth or children’s ministry program. If these are coming from evangelical churches, we should not be recruiting them.
- These numbers reflect a great many people who only come 1-2 Sundays per month. Some have family commitments that take them away the other Sundays (such as children’s sports programs). Some are relatively new or inexperienced believers who don’t have or see the value of consistent attendance that leads to discipleship growth. Some base their decisions on how they feel on Sunday morning or on how their week went. This reflects a significant culture change, and is an area that needs thought, prayer and proclamation, particularly in light of Hebrews 10:25 and on-going discipleship needs.
The second draft of the ordination paper is nearly complete. Process from here is a second reading/review – recruiting and scheduling of the ordination council – probable recommendation to the Board of Ministerial Standing of the EFCA for affirmation or denial. Chad is also actively working on his ordination process.
Dave Redding has been commissioned by the elders to build and oversee an Outreach Committee. Initiatives by that committee will include BabyCare (an outreach to single mothers in the area) and PROJECT, an outreach led by Terry Harvey to provide house repair and related help to congregational attendees and related who need assistance. They are also examining other outreaches as well.
I heartily commend to you the work done by the elders and councils on the budget. The 3+% reduction (note most current budget), while both maintaining and adding to our sphere of ministry, represents significant thought and work. I particularly want to state my appreciation to the Missions Council for adding Michael Lundell - a new, younger missionary with connections to Princeton and our Awana program – we need to face the fact that our missionary force is aging and retiring. In addition, I think the elders are exercising good judgment by recommending moderate salary increases for the staff (except for me, I requested a personal one year freeze) – this is a staff that the congregation has graded out as consistently a 4.5 or better out of 5 on our 360 degree annual review process - lot of good work being done! I imagine you will have a spirited but positive budget discussion today.
Lord willing, we will be holding a Winter Ministry Seminar here for our cluster of churches (Zimmerman north to Malmo) in February. Look for more information on that in the near future.
Thank you for the opportunity to be your pastor. I love being here!