Message From Pastor Stanton for December 2017

Since October 15, First Lutheran has been in an ‘every-member-visit’ mode. Thirty visitors have made their way to almost 150 families thus far. The conversations our visitors are having are priceless.

Last week I talked with a longtime member who is far less engaged with First than he used to be, “for no good reason”, he said. Through the course of our 45-minute conversation, I heard about the challenges his family has faced over the last year including a retirement, two elder deaths and three imminent graduations. What is so incredible to me is that most of my visits are like this. So much is happening in the lives of each and every family at First as parents age, kids grow, jobs change and life goes from one stage to another. Every time I leave one of these visits, I feel so much better about the health of our church as I know a little bit more about what my prayers should include and I understand how interconnected we already are. The ways I preach and the programs we offer take shape from these conversations. The vitality of our fellowship comes from knowing each other.

The greatest priority of the “Our Church ☩ ☩Our Time” capital campaign is to listen to every member of our church. Slowly, but surely, our visitors are attending to this priority. If only we had ten or twenty more visitors! We would finish this campaign before February! Please consider making a couple visits once you welcome a friend to visit you.

Maybe you are wondering about some of the numbers… As of November 19 (check the clock near the welcome center for an up-to-date status report) our pledges exceeded the $750,000 mark which is more than ⅓ of the way toward the $2.1 million “needs and opportunities” total. That number has been achieved by 94 pledges. More than 30 additional pledges are ‘pending’ from people who have been visited, have not said ‘no’ and are simply considering their gift. The million dollar mark is in sight! And we still have more than 350 families to visit!

In the midst of the Advent/Christmas season, as you discern how to be generous this year, please consider making a special gift to First Lutheran’s general fund for 2017 (our giving remains behind budget for this year) or First Lutheran’s capital campaign. We (Our Church +) are indeed in the midst of a special time (+ Our Time) filled with an opportunity to ground our church in financial stability so that we can serve those in need, grow the faith of children and adults and worship God for years to come.