Saturday, February 03, 2007

Did you get it?

Hopefully, if you attend Grace, you've received and carefully read the whopping 3 page congregational letter sent earlier this week. It was a bear to get out. We had crazy copier issues.

In case you didn't get it, there will be copies available at tomorrow's services or you can just read it right here. . .

Beloved Family of Grace,

As 2007 is now in full swing, I wanted to take some time to update you on some significant happenings this Winter and Spring at Grace Church, San Luis Obispo. This long and detailed letter contains important and valuable information that you need to know. I encourage you to read it slowly and carefully. Please keep it for future reference.

As hopefully you are aware by now, after much prayer and planning among our elders, ministry staff and broader leadership, we are now leaning forward into a new and bold vision that we’re calling Building on the Legacy. Leading up to the New Year, our elders hosted four separate Vision Forums to inform and invite feedback concerning our emerging vision. We were encouraged and emboldened by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the great majority of those who attended. I hope that you had an opportunity to attend one of our four Vision Forums, but in case you didn’t, I wanted to present it to you now.

Priorities of the Building on the Legacy Vision
Our 75th Anniversary Celebration this last Spring took us backward in time where we together had the chance to reflect on both the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of His people here at Grace these many years. Looking back on our rich 75 year history and the work of God through Grace here on the Central Coast has caused us to look ahead by faith to the future and ask. . .

“What now, Lord? How would You have us build on the legacy of faithfulness?”

As we continue to passionately and aggressively celebrate, proclaim and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Central Coast and beyond, Building on the Legacy is the first step in what will be an evolving 25 year vision looking forward to our 100th Year Anniversary. Building on the Legacy specifically addresses the important and complicated area of our campus facilities and their relationship to our overall ministry.

The area of campus facilities is a unique area of our ministry in that it requires long term strategic and financial planning. We have identified three immediate and important priorities related to our campus facilities that we are seeking to address through our Building on the Legacy Vision:

  1. Parking: Our 25 year parking agreement for the lot across Osos Street expires in December 2007. Obviously, this is a major concern. We need a visionary parking plan that will address the city’s requirements for work week staff parking as well as our current and projected congregational parking needs.

  2. Property Acquisition: Throughout our long history, the leadership of Grace prayed and planned strategically about our place and presence in the community. God has bountifully blessed that process as we now occupy a strategic corner giving us an amazing, debt-free downtown presence in the middle of San Luis Obispo in the heart of the Central Coast.

    We are trying to build on that legacy as we look to the future. The quickening pace of downtown redevelopment has spurred our thinking about our current and future place in our community’s landscape. We have recognized a unique window of opportunity to acquire adjacent and nearby properties before these properties are possibly redeveloped. Our active planning for the acquisition of nearby properties, should they become available for purchase, opens up some exciting possibilities for immediate classroom meeting space and future campus expansion, including, in the very long term, the possibility of a new larger worship center, if the Lord should will it. The Lord knows the plans He has for us (Jer. 29:11), but if we don’t pray and plan, these possibilities will not become realities. By faith, we have set an initial goal to raise $1 million for the Property Acquisition Fund.

  3. Annex Renewal: The 50 year old building attached to and behind our current Sanctuary has always been called “The Annex.” Since the early 80s, the Grace Church Master Plan has called for the reconfiguration and remodel of this space. We’ve been actively talking about this project for the last four years. Now it’s time to get it done. Renewing the Annex will (1) bring some much needed improvements to our circulation flow by creating some new hallways and corridors; (2) provide improvements to our early childhood area; and (3) transform our old gym into a valuable multi-use Founders Hall for adult education, overflow homeless ministry, and an array of other current and new ministry possibilities. We have estimated our costs for the Annex Renewal project to be just under $1 million.

Your Part in the Building on the Legacy Vision
If you’ve been reading carefully up to this point (and I hope you have!) you’ve figured out that part of our Building on the Legacy Vision will involve a capital fund-raising campaign to raise $2 million dollars or more for future Property Acquisition and Annex Renewal.

I invite you right now to begin praying and planning about your financial participation in our Building on the Legacy Vision.

Beginning Sunday February 4, we will begin sharing 3-5 minute Building on the Legacy spotlight moments in our worship services where each week we’ll share a piece of the vision from a different angle. Over the Winter and Spring our goal is for you to know exactly what we’re doing, where we’re going and why. As we did at each of our four Vision Forums, we always welcome and encourage your feedback and input.

Along the way, we’ll provide opportunities to gather and pray for our emerging vision, for our community and for our whole ministry. Our first Building on the Legacy Prayer Forum will be on the evening of Wednesday, February 7 at 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary and will be led by our Building on the Legacy Prayer Coordinator, Donny Valliere. We’ll be providing other opportunities to pray along the way through Growth Groups and Sunday Morning Adult Bible Fellowships.

All of this will lead up to and culminate at a very special Building on the Legacy Pledge Banquet on Sunday Evening, April 29 where all those who worship at Grace will be invited to offer their gifts to the Lord in the form of one time gifts and/or three year pledge commitments. Our desire is that this event will be an exciting evening of celebration as we give ourselves to the Lord and renew our commitment to His work here on the Central Coast.

This will be the one time when you will be asked to make a financial commitment to the Building on the Legacy Vision and we will determine the scope and direction of our plans based on the amount of gifts and pledges received on that night. Our leadership is trusting our Sovereign and Faithful God in all
these things. Faithful is He who has called us and He will bring it to pass (1 Thes. 5:24). If we do not reach our financial goal of $2 million dollars, we will scale back and take another look at our vision. If we exceed our financial goal of $2 million dollars, we will accelerate the pace of our vision.

Between now and our Pledge Banquet on April 29, we invite you to trust the Lord with us as you consider your financial part.

Money is a sensitive area for all of us. We believe that God calls us to live by faith in this area as well as in all areas of our lives. The Bible is clear that God wants us to give of ourselves and our finances to His work bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6), sacrificially (Phil. 4:18), consistently (Prov. 3:9) and cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7).

While you can expect to be personally invited to attend our Building on the Legacy Pledge Banquet, our heart’s desire is that you would not feel pressured to give, but excited and eager to give as God has blessed. We want you to celebrate and participate in the work of the Lord with us. Some will give more than others. Each will give as the Lord has blessed and as He leads. Each and every gift will be gratefully received as an offering to the Lord and His work through Grace Church. Your gifts and sacrifice touch and impact eternity.

Grace Church, San Luis Obispo is Christ’s church, but it’s also your church. The place where you worship weekly. The place where your family is spiritually fed and nurtured. The place where your children are dedicated, loved, baptized and married. The place where your loved ones are grieved. The place where we live life together before the face of God. The place where God is at work. We encourage you to be a part of the future as we build on the legacy of faithfulness together.

Other Important Matters
While the Building on the Legacy Vision is a big thing that’s happening the first part of this year, it’s sure not the only thing. Here are a few other big pieces that you need to be aware of:

  • The Preaching Plan: We’ll transition from our January preaching series in Jonah back to Matthew where we’ll finally wrap up that big and long series right around Easter or so.

  • 2007 Missions Conference, February 25 – March 4: The theme of this year’s Mission’s Conference, which will happen over two Sundays, is Grace Around the World. We are privileged to have Peter Xu, a leader in the house church movement in China, with us on February 25. The Mission’s Committee has some fresh, creative and new things planned for this exciting week. It’s going to be a challenging and unique kind of Mission’s Conference. . . I guarantee it.

  • Staff Shuffle: Since last summer, our staff has been in a bit of transition. Now we face another transition. After three and a half amazing years, we will sadly say good-bye to Kathy Borland, our Business Administrator, as she moves on to other exciting opportunities which the Lord has provided. Though much of what she has accomplished has been behind the scenes and unseen by most in the congregation, Kathy’s contribution to our ministry and organization infrastructure has been enormous and cannot be overstated. We’re grateful that Kathy is staying in the area and will continue to serve as a part of our broader leadership. We are carefully considering how to cover Kathy’s many responsibilities.

    In addition, we are still actively searching for a Youth Pastor as part of a plan to transition Pastor Ken to the position of Pastor of Family Ministries. We are zeroing in on an excellent candidate. On top of all that, we’re prayerfully considering the calling of a part-time Missions Pastor, an extraordinary and uniquely gifted man that God has brought to us. We’ll see what God has for us!

Are you still reading? If so, I thank you for your time and attention. As you can see, it’s going to be another full and fruitful year here at Grace. When I stop and think about it all, I can easily get overwhelmed. I am so glad that our Great and Sovereign God is in control. He knows the plans He has for us (Jer. 29:11)!

Thanks for your faithfulness to the Lord and His work here at Grace. I am privileged to serve as your pastor. There’s no other place or people I’d rather serve.

I am His and I am yours . . . because of and for the Gospel,

Tim Theule
Lead Pastor
Grace Church, SLO

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. . . . 2 Corinthians 9:7-8


Andy Gibson said...

Yeah, I got it. Took me like a week to read it....:)

Matt Gould said...

This website is really convicting, I don't know what else to say.

"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'depart in peace, be warmed and filled' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
-James 2:15-17


All you have to do is make a choice.

$8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.

$30 could buy you an ER DVD Boxset OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.

$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village.

What then could we do with an amount in excess of $2 million? Should we really be treating ministry as a business venture? My heart is heavy over this issue, who will help our brothers and sisters in need if not those God has blessed in abundance?!