The Value of a Building
I write today as a member of Building and Grounds, a sub-committee of the Extravagant Generosity ministry group. In case you haven’t noticed, the annual stewardship campaign is happening now. You may therefore be just a little curious regarding how and where you contributions are being spent. Just to refresh your memory, this church has an annual budget totaling just under half a million dollars. Just a little more than half of that budget goes to operate and maintain this building you are sitting and worshipping in. That may, at first, seem excessive to you, but think about it for a moment.
Look around you. It looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? The main portion of this building is 65 years old. The addition south of the narthex was completed 55 years ago, and major expansion to the east, along with modifications to the sanctuary, occurred 10 years ago. It is an amazing, and frankly, in my opinion, a beautiful structure. It was well-built and has been relatively easy and economical to maintain over the years. Most you sitting here today have at least once during the past year helped to clean, decorate and maintain it. For that, we all thank you. Two years ago we replaced the roof over the 1960 addition to the south utilizing reserve funds set aside over the years for just such a purpose. This year, we restructured the light fixtures in the sanctuary.
But this building is not just some kind of shrine or memorial to us as members. It is instead the most important tool of our ministry to the community and the world. Over the years, it has provided space for worship and church school. It has housed youth groups, Vacation Bible Schools, Bible study groups, bell choirs, counseling sessions, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies, Rotary Clubs, Mariners, meetings of Presbytery committees, women’s circles, men’s groups, Children’s Youth Theater, Narcotics Anonymous, SPEAC (the Food Pantry), music lessons, fund raisers, community meetings, election polling, auxiliary public school classrooms, Head Start classes, traveling mission groups, Final Friday concerts, weddings, funerals, baptisms and associated receptions, family reunions, anniversary parties, plays, concerts, recitals, congregational dinners, chili suppers, youth sleepovers, Family Promise, choir practice, homeschool co-ops…. just to name a few.
And if that is not enough, remember that every ministry directly sponsored by the church started as an idea voiced at a Session or committee meeting held in this building.
But outside of those ministries sponsored by the church, we estimate that in 2017, our in-kind donation of free space to community groups is a gift worth over $240,000. Many, if not most, of these community groups could not exist if churches like ours were not there to provide them meeting space. There is simply no other place you can go around here to get free meeting space, day or night, seven days a week for charitable work.
Please keep this in mind as you make your annual pledge. This building is an important tool necessary to do God’s work and it is imperative that we be good stewards of it. When you give to the church, you support the building, and more importantly, you support the good work God is doing here and now.