Dear Grace Family,

This past Monday night, your Session and Diaconate met to discuss where we are as a church from a facilities, finances, and programming standpoint at the halfway mark of 2023. Let me say that the overall outlook of your officers is one of great hope, optimism, and encouragement. We continue to see God grow us as individuals, and us as a church collectively. The common consent was that God is doing something “special” in our midst, especially in the Lord’s Day worship services. That being said, we also had to take an honest assessment of our financial status and the number of members needed to execute the different areas of ministry we wish to provide. As of June 30, we find ourselves $43,000 in deficit for the calendar year. In carefully looking at our budget, it is clear that we have an income “problem,” not a spending one. Our expenses are nearly spot-on compared to what we’ve budgeted for the first half of the year. Our giving, however, has simply not been able to keep up. We knew when we made the 2023 budget that it was an ambitious one. We went into the year knowing that prayers would be needed to meet our financial goals. So, we aren’t panicking. We are simply letting you know that we need your prayers and your faithful giving, to start erasing this deficit before the year ends. In the meantime, we are looking at ways to “tighten up the belt” across the board, and be faithful stewards of what the Lord has entrusted us with overseeing.

As to the matter of human resources, I told our officers that I’m convinced the Lord is using the financial deficit to make us take a closer look at how we are managing the volunteer load our members must carry on a weekly basis to execute our various ministries. The last thing I want is for any of you to feel stretched so thin that the joy of serving Grace is diminished, or that you don’t have any energy/desire left to be an evangelist in your neighborhoods and workplaces. With this in mind, I want to point out 2 immediate changes we are making to alleviate this concern. First, we are cutting back our Sunday evening suppers to once a month. This meal will now take place on the 4th Sunday night of the month, coinciding with our evening communion. This means our next Sunday night meal together will be July 23. This will give Annie and our deacons a much needed/well deserved break. It will also provide our officers with the opportunity to do some smaller sized shepherding functions on the other Sunday evenings of the month after the service. Second, beginning on August 6, we will no longer offer a nursery for the Sunday evening worship service. Nursery volunteers continue to be the area we struggle with the most, and trying to fill this need has us stretched out more than we can afford to be right now. This isn’t ideal and will be reversed should the Lord see fit to add to our number, giving us some more hands on the plow. The education building will be locked on Sunday nights, but we will make sure my old office is set up to be a comfortable space for any diaper changes, etc. that the parents might need. In all of this, I want to make sure I am communicating clearly that these changes do NOT represent a retreat from the work of Kingdom advancement we believe God has called us to labor towards as a church. I hope you are gathering from my preaching that there is not an ounce of slowing down in me or your officers. Rather, this is a moment in time where we can hit some reset buttons. This will ensure that y’all are being given the rest you need to be faithful 7 days a week, not just for the few hours we need you around here. Please let me know if you have any questions concerning any of the information above.

Humbly yours,