St. Paul is now officially under construction. Early efforts are taking us closer to the point where we will be ready for the major excavation and building work being planned for early spring. At the end of October, a portion of our south parking lot was removed to make room for our newly relocated playground and a new driveway from Clay St. into the lot.
As our project progresses, let it be a reminder of the way each of us believers is under construction throughout our time in this world. True, our salvation is already finished and complete in Jesus, but this is also true: the Lord is always building us to look more like him. See his law work again and again like a wrecking ball on the sins in your heart: sins of greed, sins of worry. See his gospel message of our Savior’s victory raise you up again and again to be the living stone that you are, built on Christ our chief cornerstone, and let your whole life be a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Evidence of this spiritual construction project going on in people's hearts isn’t hard to see here at St. Paul: together we’ve challenged ourselves to contribute 23% more in undesignated offerings this year (‘22-’23) than we did last year (‘21-’22). We’ve also resolved to take on a $4.5 million construction loan. And while it’s true that we’re behind on our plan for undesignated offerings for ‘22-’23, it’s also true that we have paid off our $400,000 loan for lower level renovations fourteen months ahead of schedule. And while we haven’t yet reached our initial building project goal of $1 million in combined pledges and gifts, we have surpassed the $750,000 mark. From where come these bold goals we’ve set for ourselves? And the generosity we’re seeing, where does it originate? There is no stinging whip behind these gifts. Christ’s love compels us.
So then, what now? If you’re like me, eager to offer increased financial support as you’re able, but wondering where best to direct additional gifts, think general fund first: undesignated offerings to support our growing ministry. And let there be no doubt: a 23% increase in undesignated gifts received will translate into more and more souls hearing the gospel here right now, even before the building is constructed, because ministry opportunities abound. Then, as God blesses and moves you, let any additional increase you decide to give go to Built on the Rock, the newly constructed space that will enable us to increase our gospel reach for generations to come.
Will you pray with me? Let’s put both construction projects into the Lord’s good and gracious hands: both the project he has begun in our hearts, and the ministry space he’s inspired us to build. And let’s count on him to bless us in whatever way is best, as he promises.
Pastor Jon Zabell