The Weather Report APRIL 2018

The National Football League has mastered the art of getting the “big picture.” A video system called “All-22” employs a camera positioned high above the playing field. It shows all 22 players (11 offensive and 11 defensive) at the same time. No player, no action goes undetected.
There is no plan at the present to install a version of “All-22” high above our sanctuary. If one were to desire perspective regarding the larger picture of our life together as a community of faith the balcony will have to suffice. Be prepared. The space is not pleasing to the eye; some of the pews are not anchored to the floor. Caution aside, what might you observe about our interconnectedness as a church from this perch high above?
The larger picture of Immanuel Baptist Church reveals the many ways her members and participants are connected. At our best, our coherently organized system achieves her mission. Relationships are a key factor in any success. Tod Bolsinger uses the image of spokes on a wheel in describing how people connect in a church family. “When church members have children in the program or settled in a small group, we are a stronger community of faith.”1 These interconnections influence our participation and commitment.
In the month of April, members and participants of Immanuel Baptist Church will be invited to make their commitments to fully fund the ministry and mission of this congregation. Our new fiscal year begins May 1. Stewardship is one expression of our commitment to the mission God has given us in the world.
Soon, you will receive a copy of the proposed budget along with a pledge card in the mail. Commitment Sunday is April 15. The proposed budget is a collaborative effort of the Stewardship Committee and staff to close the gap between “budgeted expenses” and “anticipated income”. Not every problem can be solved through addition, e.g. the addition of a new program, a new staff member, a new line item in the budget. Some problems are solved by subtraction. The proposed 2018-2018 budget, if approved by the church, will accomplish the church’s mission on increasingly limited resources.
I invite you to join me in prayerfully considering our stewardship of the meaningful work God has called us to accomplish together. Last year, one third of the pledge cards indicated a commitment to tithe. What would it take to increase those making a tithe to fifty percent of the total number of giving units? What sacrifice would be required to increase your support of the church’s mission next year by one or two percent? If you currently do not support the church financially, would you pray about doing so next year?
To resume a position of strength that permits our church to solve her problems by addition necessitates an increase in financial support. As you consider your commitment, imagine yourself in the church balcony. As you observe the ties that bind you to this church, consider what value you assign those points of connection. One way to arrive at such a valuation is to imagine life without them.
 —Steven 
1Bolsinger, Tod. Canoeing The Mountains. P.117.