Rev. Dr. Joel Mitchell, Interim Pastor
Rev. Millie Myren, Support Minister
11024 S. Bell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
Reflection November 1, 2015
Our 2016 Estimate of Giving Cards
Rev. Dr. Thomas Aldworth
This week our church leadership has mailed out letters along with the Estimate of Giving Card - 2016 to our members and friends. If anyone failed to receive this important letter, please call the church office to let us know and we will promptly send one to you.
Every year we lose members to age and illness. While we happily receive new members each year, we stand in need of a healthy influx of new members. This is not easy to achieve since statistics point out that only about 18% of our country’s population attends church regularly. Those who attend church even half of all Sundays is only 22% of the population. We are rapidly becoming a less and less church-going population.
It has been shown statistically that if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s church-attendance, only one child in 50 (2%) will become a regular worshipper. So there is much work that needs to be done to help families attend church together!
Our beloved Morgan Park Baptist Church is too small in numbers to easily sustain the costs of our large church buildings. We also depend heavily on a handful of individuals to do the many things church life requires.
As mentioned in the letter from our Stewardship Department, we have cut our annual budget 26.3% in just the past five years. We continue to seek ways to cut our budget without cutting essential services.
I want to encourage everyone in our church to invite others to our worship. We are the oldest church in Morgan Park with a long and honorable history!
A vital aspect of church life that demands everyone’s attention is a church’s finances. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have been the pastor of two very large churches with very large budgets - one in downtown Chicago and one in the suburbs of Cleveland. I’ve also been the pastor of a small church with a small budget in Grambling, Louisiana.
I can say from my experiences in those churches as well as my seven-plus years of experience as pastor of Morgan Park Baptist Church that finances are never far from a conscientious pastor’s mind.
Yet I’ve made it a point in my 40 plus years of ministry to seldom write or preach about financial issues. I believe too many congregations are too often assaulted with pleas from pastors for more, more, more.
So I’ve been content to mention church finances only when needed. It is again that time of year when I ask our members and friends to be as generous as their resources permit in supporting our beloved church.
Frankly, our congregation’s financial situation is daunting and troubling to myself and the rest of our church leadership. Yet in my seven plus years as pastor of our beloved church, I’ve been amazed again and again at the generosity of our members and friends. We are, without doubt, a very generous congregation even though we are small in number!
This generosity has revealed itself not only in the funds given to support our church’s mission and ministry but also in the funds given to support the mission and ministry of American Baptist Churches - Metro Chicago and American Baptist Churches - USA.
We are, of course, in God’s hands. We trust those hands at all times. We trust that our Good Shepherd will lead us and guide us. I believe God has plans for our future as a beloved congregation serving our community and bringing people to the love of God and the compassion of Christ.
On behalf of our Stewardship Department, in the name of our Board of Deacons, and as your pastor, I humbly come to you, seeking your generosity. Our Estimate of Giving Card - 2016 will be collected onCommitment Sunday - November 15. They may also be mailed to the church office or dropped off at any time. I do ask everyone to seek God’s guidance in prayer before filling out the Estimate of Giving - 2016 Card.
Our budget for 2016 will be determined by the amount generated by the Estimate of Giving Cards - 2016. Your response matters immensely to the life and the ministry of our church. Please help our beloved Morgan Park Baptist Church as best as you are able!
May we hold these words from Jesus in our hearts: “give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)