Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Time to Build for a New Day

We have had a really exciting time these past few months. Since last fall, we have brought on a new music minister, restructured our school, restarted our Kid’s Koinonia, and perhaps most importantly started action teams to rebuild and redevelop our community. All of these steps were spearheaded by the call of Jesus Christ to our congregation to be a more active presence in our area. They have been carried out by our committed disciples who are willing to put their hands to work to show God’s love so that lives can be changed for the better.

When we met in November of 2013 our congregation saw another financial crisis looming and decided that we no longer want live in fear of the future; we decided to embrace it. We committed to step up and break the cycle of financial instability. We began to rebuild by through the help of Pastor John Wimberly of the Alban institute who consulted us and led a process to form a strategic plan. He concluded that Holy Cross is a “ministry worth supporting.” Our mortgage lender the Mission Investment Fund called for a comprehensive ministry review, which came up with a list of affirmations (things we do well) and recommendations (steps to improve) and came up with the conclusion that “God is certainly not done with you yet”. Two groups outside of our community, who visit and know about lots of churches, told us how we are a special church that can be a blessing to our neighborhood and the wider church by living out our calling as God intends.

Can you help us?

We are ready to embrace the future that God has in store for us. We have a ministry plan in place and is it already beginning to be executed. Last week we greatly impressed the Mission Investment Fund with both this and our financial stability plan. Now all we need to do is carry our plans out, and we need your support to do God’s work. I am asking you to prayerfully consider pledging to the work of rebuilding our congregation for a new day. I am encouraging you to do this by signing up for the “Simply Giving” program that allows for automatic withdrawals from a bank account. If you have not done so already I would also encourage you to step up your giving in some way. You may have noticed how hard your friends at church are all working these days to build a congregation that changes lives. You will receive the form in the coming weeks. Please pray about it and respond however the Spirit leads you. On June 15th at our annual meeting we will present the plans to you. You will see all the work your leaders have done so far at our meeting and how they are committed to redeveloping Holy Cross.

Do not Fear

Since we started on this ride last fall, our president Heidi Klebaur has been calling our attention to the book of Ezra, which shows how God helped Israel rebuild their temple for a new day. It was not the old temple that they built, but one that met the needs of the people rebuilding it. The exact same thing is true for us today as we seek to rebuild the Body of Christ in Springfield New Jersey. Ezra’s contemporary the prophet Haggai encouraged their rebuilding with these works from the Lord.

Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? Yet now take courage....all you people of the land... work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. Haggai 2:3-5 (NRSV)”

That Christ is present at Holy Cross is abundantly clear to me, I pray you may see him clearly at work too.

Keep the Faith

Pastor Knecht