I am very pleased that we have called Chris West to join our ministerial staff as our Minister of Youth. I have really enjoyed the chance to begin getting to know Chris and look forward to the ways his gifts, talents, and personality will help strengthen not only our youth group, but also our church as a whole. Please make an effort to introduce yourself to Chris, remind him of your name a few times, and help him feel at home as he ministers alongside us.
Adding staff always adds both exciting possibilities and new challenges. During the course of our Church Family Meeting on Sunday, good and valid questions were raised, including the question of where the money would come from to add a new salary to our budget. As we noted, we have budgeted for this position, but our giving is lagging behind the prorated budget requirements so far this year. This is not abnormal for churches, particularly at the end of summer, but it is an issue we must take seriously and approach prayerfully.
I believe that we must be good stewards of our money and resources. While concerns about what we can afford are certainly valid and must be considered, I still stand by my statement on Sunday that this was a hiring we couldn’t afford not to make. We have a terrific group of young people who demonstrate faith and a genuine interest in getting involved in opportunities to serve God and others in tangible ways, and I am convinced that Chris is the right person to love our youth and help them grow as disciples of Jesus and ministers of the Gospel.
These can be exciting days for this church. I see encouraging things taking place, and we have several significant opportunities for outreach and ministry scheduled for the next few months. I think we have many reasons to live with hope. At the same time, however, I want to challenge you to consider prayerfully your financial support of Hope Valley Baptist Church and whether you can increase your level of contributions to the budget. From my initial meetings with the Pastor Search Committee, I have been told that this church can support financially anything it decides to do. I have seen this to be true on numerous occasions. Of course, I understand that it is easier and sometimes more exciting to support a particular project or special offering, but I encourage you to join me in making a renewed commitment to offering generous support to the church budget. Whether through one-time gifts or an increase in what you give regularly, please give faithfully so that we can become the church God calls us to be and be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and beyond.