In January of 2016 I wrote the following words in my first “Jym Shorts” article of the year: As we welcome in the new year, we have much to be thankful for here at LifePoint. I've been out of the pulpit for the past two weeks and was away from our own worship service this past Sunday while I visited friends and family and officiated a wedding in Bloomington, Illinois. While I was away, we opened up the first stage of our expansion, a welcome addition to our children's area. As I write this, the church continues to look and sound like a beehive, with construction workers painting the office, a few tearing up the old flooring in the Café, and others drilling through the concrete foundation to add plumbing to our restrooms. The next few weeks promise to be busy here as S&B Construction finishes up phase one of our expansion. I thank God for the additional ministry space, and I also thank him that this church family does not live and die by my presence in the pulpit, or even in the office for that matter. I returned from a week's vacation to good reports not only on the transition to the new space last Sunday, but on Pastor Tony and Pastor Nate's preaching the past two Sundays and the joyful worship that was experienced in my absence. Gee whiz, seems like I'm not nearly as important as I thought. Makes me consider the possibility that things happened in this world before I was born, and may actually continue on after I die!
Here is the follow-up to those words from just two years ago. First, Pastor Tony and Pastor Nate are still here with us, doing the good work they always do, along with Pastor David (who has passed 15 years on our staff), Pastor Chris, and now, starting January 2nd of this year, Pastor Nate Meece, who joins us after completing his M.Div. in Theology in December. Mary Veal remains with us as the outstanding leader of our Children’s Ministry, along with Dave Kerr and Dr. Justin P’Pool, who have come on board since 2016 to lead our Middle School and High School Ministries respectively. As always, an incredible support staff works at our side to keep the ministry operating smoothly. We are blessed to have such consistency among our staff team! Add to that godly elders and deacons, and literally hundreds of volunteers, and you have the makings of a biblically healthy (albeit flawed) church family.
The building projects are complete now, and I am happy to announce that, as our “Consider…Building for God’s Glory” emphasis officially draws to a 3-year conclusion, we have surpassed our pledge. $2,118,609 have been received, surpassing our pledge by $1,854. God is good, and you are generous! This was accomplished not by flashy campaign slogans or constant reminders, but by steady, faithful, and generous giving. Thank you!
So, what do we do now? My prayer is that we continue to give generously to the Building Fund, which will remain available, and do all we can to eliminate our original loan on our building and property which now stands at $1.265 million. Our Finance Team and Elders are being aggressive in applying excess funds to that loan every year, (including during our building project) with the goal of seeing us completely out of debt. We remain both a biblical and frugal church, theologically and financially, and your giving has been generous, so we have been able to remain under budget and “in the black” every year. I believe this pleases the Lord for, as the Preacher of Proverbs has warned us, “the borrower is slave to the lender” (Prov. 22:7). We have been reasonable with our loans, but I think it is time that we remove this debt we have carried (faithfully making payments every year) as soon as is reasonably possible.
As we go into 2018, would you consider continuing to give, as the Lord provides, to the Building Fund? Let’s eliminate our debt and continue to proclaim the freedom that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully every opportunity that arises. Let’s do both to the glory of God!
Grace and peace,