JOSTCORNER

laura_for_web

December Article

 

From Pastor Laura Esposito, Associate Pastor

Someone recently asked me where I see St. Paul’s in five years?  It’s a good question for this time of year where we see the deficit in giving to our Mission Plan, a decrease in giving, a decrease in attendance at worship, and other ministry areas.  Even getting folks to help in worship is getting more difficult.  Some of you may have noticed that we have not been using four people to distribute communion at the 11am service.  One reason is people are not signing up to help and the other reason has been attendance has been low.  

If I take the decrease in attendance, giving, and participation as a sign and the lack of enthusiasm that we are nearing the congregation’s 150th anniversary then things aren’t looking so great.  Assuming we all do what we have been doing and expecting different results then I predict we will be a small congregation that meets for one worship service a week, a part time pastor at best, no other paid staff, and a building that is locked and dark all week.

That would be a shame, young children and their families would miss out on a great preschool program in a wonderful Christ centered, nurturing environment.  People who are hungry would lose food to eat because we would no longer collect and distribute food around the area.  Young people might miss out on learning about God, Grace, and Love.  They also would miss out on discovering their talents and sharing them in a supportive community.  People young and old might miss hearing the gospel and would not be a part of God’s feast.

This is where I see us if we keep the course we are.  That is not my vision for this community of Christ.  Here is my vision, it involves some change, but with your support and work this vision will turn into a life giving, life changing, Christ centered ministry.  We only have one pastor at each of our existing worship services.  The other pastor will be out leading a Bible study, discussion group, or a different worship experience that may take place in an alternate location.  You will invite people you know who have not been to church lately or have no church home to come and see what church is about.  When folks come here they will be warmly greeted by everyone, not just one or two people.  In fact, every person who walks through the doors will be warmly greeted by everyone whether that be within the St. Paul’s campus or at another location.    If you notice someone has not been around much, you will reach out to that person in Christian love to see if they are okay and to tell them they are missed.  

I see a generous community that will generously support the ministries of this congregation financially and through giving of their time and talents.  I see a state of the art building for our ever-growing, well known preschool ministry.  A building that will have ample classroom, administrative, and indoor play space, with ample outdoor play space, all meeting the new governmental regulations for security and safety.   Our campus will continue to serve as a beacon for the surrounding communities.  Our ministry will reach out into and flood the area. 

I see new worship experiences that incorporate our long standing liturgies, the sacraments, and proclaiming the gospel through different medium and modalities.  I see things like dinner church at a local brewery, flash worship or flash Bible Studies at local gathering places.  I see small groups that gather regularly to study scripture, pray, support one another, and have fun together.    I see families gathering everyday for prayer and scripture study.  I see people of all ages living out the gospel in their vocations.

Where do you see St. Paul’s in five years?  Feel free to call, email, or set up a time to talk.