“LOPC is a big church, with so much going on, and there is something for everybody!”
“We have a great staff and lay leaders who are always there when the community needs them.”
“There just doesn’t seem to be anything we can’t accomplish when we set our minds to it!”
“When the need is clear, LOPC is a congregation that responds!”
The above statements are certainly things we hear said about LOPC on a regular basis, and in my 18 years of service to this congregation I have found no reason to doubt them! I’m taking this opportunity to invite you to be part of a special May stewardship emphasis, “All Together.” The theme is drawn from the book of Acts, where we are told:
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”
The earliest Christians, still reeling from the events of Holy Week, were huddled together in fear. And then the Spirit descended upon them, and everything changed. They were filled with a new vision of how the world could change and a new kind of community was formed where:
“All who believed were together and had all things in common.”
From that day to this, the church has held a common ministry of service and love in which we all share and support – it truly does belong to us “All Together.”
That spirit of Pentecost is what drives our ministry, and it frames the matter at hand. Simply put, over the past 10 years our annual giving has remained strong but it has been largely flat. Due to the constant presence of inflation and rising costs, our gifts to support this ministry have lost about $400,000 in value. We’ve responded by cutting costs, restricting growth in some ministries, and, most regrettably, not adjusting staff salaries to keep them competitive and fair. Our “All Together” emphasis is about one thing – raising up resources to recover the financial strength that has eroded over time. We can do this!
Here’s what I’d like you to do:
- Pray – This is God’s work, not ours, and the church doesn’t have needs so much as meet needs.
- Read – In this brochure you’ll find some important information and perspective on LOPC.
- Reflect – What gifts is God calling forth from you? This isn’t about money, it’s about stewardship.
- Respond – On Pentecost, June 4th, return a commitment card that reflects your means and heart.
We are taking the unusual step of lifting this up to our church family mid-year because your LOPC leadership team believes firmly that through prayer, thought, heart and action, we can “All Together” make the difference!
Learn how you can help make a difference in the All Together brochure to the right and see what your help means to specific ministry efforts through the videos below.
Year at a Glance
- 4,905 Hours of YOUTH ENGAGED in mission and service projects in the community and abroad
- 152 children being cared for at Seedlings
- 1,600 Hours Pastor, Chaplain & Deacons Visitation
- 41,100 PAGES READ in small groups ministry
- OVER 10,000 log-ins for worship via livestream
- 750 Hours of prayer lifting up the needs of others by the prayer team
- 70 Mothers Connecting and supporting each other
- 2,200 visits by seniors through thursdayfellowship
- 60 Families who have children and youth with special needs finding respite and encouragement.
- 1,704 unique events at the church by LOPC groups and ministries, and 176 non-LOPC community groups.
- $500,000 GIVEN in support of mission partners working with homeless, hungry & vulnerable
- 920 HOURS of Spiritual Direction with Companions
- 35 New Parents engaged in Bible Study
- 1,700 HRS of community service during One Sunday
- An average of 80 children each week participate in The Garden on Sundays, and another 76 per week in KidsRock on Wednesdays, with more on the waitlist!
- 85 Musicians, ranging from 26 to 83 years old, developing skills in choral arts and musicianship in ensembles
- 121 Worship experiences with 40,000 in attendance
- 700 hours of clergy, deacon and administrative support to host memorial services for grieving families.
- Stephen Ministry 1,040 hours a year on one-on-one care & 1,000 hours a year in Peer Supervision and Continuing Education
- 3,400 hours of service for 325 participants during the Warm Winter Nights homeless-shelter program.
Patrick Morrissey: My father-in-law, Hans, recently passed away unexpectedly. Even though he was not formally a member, the clergy, staff and Deacons stepped forward to assist us in every way, and the memorial service was a true blessing.
Steve Crocker: I have been involved in ONE Sunday for the past 10 years and it has been amazing to see this program grow! I have received so many messages of thanks and gratitude from the non-profits we work with on ONE Sunday and I am so glad that our community knows that we care!
Chris Brock: LOPC is the place where I first heard about God when a friend brought me to youth group. I’ve had some family challenges, and this is my faith home for encouragement and support. I’m currently working towards serving in ministry on a full-time basis, because I want others to have the same experience.
Bobbi Cassettari: The preschoolers at Seedlings brainstormed ways to help people experiencing homelessness. One little girl raised her hand and said: “I live in a big house, I could share it!” I love helping share the love of God for the whole world to our preschoolers!
Wayne Brock: I have always considered myself a Christian, but I didn’t truly explore my faith until I was in my late 80’s when I started to see a Spiritual Director at LOPC. My Spiritual Director helped me to understand more about God in a helpful way to me and in a way that fit my personal theology. As part of the process I realized how important baptism is to the Christian Faith so I was baptized at 90!
Haley Lewis: I went on the High School Trip to India three years ago. I remember the kids’ unwavering faith in God and their endless love for us as their visitors. One boy even told me that he would “remember me until he was an old man.” This experience inspired me to study Public Health in college and pursue providing healthcare for children like the ones at Children of Faith.
Chris and Heidi Johnson: Recently our family has been part of Sowers. Through this program we have been able to start the conversation of faith and service with our children. One of our daughters even reminded us to do our devotionals one week when we forgot!
Graham and Carrie Wiseman: In 2013, we lost our son Colin to suicide. The support, love and strength we have received from the church is immeasurable! The pastors were at our side from day one. They comforted us, connected us to other families who had experienced similar losses and even reached out to those in our community to develop coping strategies.
Marnie Peterson: I serve with the Deacon Emergency Fund team. Recently, we worked with one of our mission partners, to help a family of four, who had been forced to live in their car for many months. We were able to help them secure an apartment with affordable rent. Many people from the church were moved to donate more to the Deacon Emergency Fund to set up the family’s home. When the family settled into their new home they hosted a celebration thanking all the people, for assisting them throughout their difficult journey.
Molly Smith Olsson: I know what God is up to in my life because of the ministry of Companions. I bring the practices of Companions into my life, and I see and experience God’s ever present grace in all situations, I see that I am one with God and one with the community and creation around me. Through this ministry my level of intimacy with Jesus has deepened.
Ibis Schlesinger: I recently went on the Sea Kayaking Spiritual Formation trip and had a magnificent time. I experienced God in a new way, and was recharged by the beauty of nature. The first night of the trip, our leaders asked us what we were leaving behind. My husband died 8 years ago, he would have loved this trip. This experience helped me to continue to learn to say good-bye and enjoy the beauty of life that God has in store for me.
Sandra Scherer (Executive Director at Monument Crisis Center)- Monument Crisis Center relies extensively on volunteers to help us serve the community. Since we currently serve over 10,000 different clients, we especially value our volunteers from LOPC as they help in various areas of the center. Volunteers like Sandy Peter come in on a regular basis to perform critical tasks such as the organization of client files and entry of distribution data. Susan Freeman, another regular volunteer, participates in direct client interactions during our food pantry intake process, updating client files and recommending resources for clients within the community. Becky Jenkins teaches our Tuesday ESL classes. These are just a few of the many dedicated volunteers from LOPC who support us in our efforts to provide food and resources to our community and each of these critical volunteers have been with us for more than 10 years! LOPC helps us to make a real difference!
The purple line tracks annual giving at LOPC over the past decade. We are really grateful that even during our capital programs, giving to support the ongoing ministries and mission of the church has remained strong. So many of our sister churches are reporting declines in giving, and we are definitely bucking that trend! Still, the orange line shows how that same giving has, effectively, lost about $400,000 of purchasing power. And we’ve had to respond by limiting growth in some programs and not keeping current with staff salaries even as the overall size of the staff has remained constant.
Over the past decade, we’ve had more people giving on an occasional basis during the year, particularly at year’s end, and a softening number of people who submit pledges as part of the fall stewardship emphasis. We appreciate all gifts that are offered, certainly, but this trend has resulted in a growing dependence on unpredictable year-end gifts. We often don’t really know where we stand until the books are closed for the year! The practice of pledging is, we believe, a spiritual one, through which members and friends prayerfully consider what gift God might be calling forth from them and their families for the coming year. It’s an act of faith, we know, but it’s a practice that helps us commit a portion of our income as a “first fruits” offering to support God’s work in the world. Our pledges are so important, as they also allow us to plan effectively for each year’s ministry!
So what can we do?
Faithful Christian stewardship is all about responding – to God’s love, our shared mission of service in the world, and opportunities to take our part. It’s about considering all that we have – time, talents and treasure – as a temporary trust from the God who created all things. What we offer is up to us, and so this brochure is simply an invitation for you and your family to consider “All Together!”
We’re asking you to fill out the enclosed commitment card, and either mail it in to the church, drop it by the office, or, preferably, bring it with you to worship on Pentecost Sunday, June 4th. You can check as many boxes as you like!
- Prayer : I/We commit to include LOPC – its health, vitality and faithful witness for Christ – in my/our prayers.
- Hold Fast : I/We believe that what, and how, we are currently giving is what I/we can offer at this time. I/We will consider future gifts as the year progresses.
- Increase : As I/We have considered this information, our pledge can be adjusted with an increase of $______ for 2017, and I/We will prayerfully consider this increase on an ongoing basis.
- One Time : I/We would like to keep our current level and means of giving, but we do understand the situation and would like to make a one-time gift of $________.
- New Pledge : We’ve been giving regularly, but not pledging, and in light of this information we’d like to make a pledge for 2017 of $______.
- Time : I/We understand that the real strength of LOPC is the gifts of time and service that people offer, and I/We are interested in volunteering some time in the area of _______________________________________.
What will recovering ground lost to inflation and rising costs allow us to do?
- We will be able to fund a salary adjustment pool for staff whose pay has fallen behind.
- We will be able to provide funds for ministries (particularly with children, youth and families) that will allow more participation.
- We will increase our funding of mission partners, focusing on homelessness, hunger and needy families.
- We will avoid the need for last minute appeals and funding strategies throughout the year.
How much should I give?
This is a very common question, and it’s natural to look for some guidance. The Scriptures encourage giving a tithe (one tenth) of what we earn, and that can be divided between the Church and other charitable causes which further God’s work in the world.
Those not yet tithing are encouraged to give in increasing amounts, with the goal of achieving a tithe. If you’re looking for a place to start, try one percent of family income and grow from there. A good test is to take what you plan to give to God in prayer and consider it for a few days.
Another test is to find a giving level that you believe communicates that LOPC, as your church family, is a priority and not an afterthought.
Scriptures for thought…
- Acts 2:44-45 – 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
- 1 Peter 4:10 – 10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 – 6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
- Proverbs 16:3 – 3Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
- 1 Corinthians 4:2 – 2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
- Proverbs 3:9 – 9Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.
Budget & Bagels: Q & A on the LOPC Budget Trends & Trajectories
May 21, 2017 – Budget & Bagels: Q & A on the LOPC Budget Trends & Trajectories
Come to the Oak Room between services at 10:15 a.m. for a brief presentation by the Finance Elder, Jim Nagle, on your LOPC budget, and have any questions answered that might be on your mind.