By Matt Blecker, call committee chair
This past Sunday was our annual budget meeting and we took some time to give an update on the call process. As we have worked through the process of calling a new pastor to lead GPS, we have had the opportunity to do a great deal of self-reflection as well. We are learning more and more about who we are and where we want to be in the future. A big part of this is realizing the financial realities that exist for us as a faith community. On Sunday, we did our best to map out the journey of attracting a pastor to join GPS and to help us all realize the potential of our faith community.
Up to this point we have had the honor of working with two potential candidates and we are blessed to have at least one more that we are ready to begin working with. The most recent candidate that we worked with was a pastor with 28 years of experience. He shared his concerns with us once he had an opportunity to go over our finances, which is part of the process, and he brought to light what many of us feared. At this time, our budget cannot support a pastor, any pastor. The reality is that we would have been struggling financially even if Pastor Rob was still at GPS. The condition of our budget was a big reason why this most recent candidate passed on us and took another call. After several meetings with the GPS Leadership Team, we have determined that we must become fiscally sound in order to attract a new pastor to lead GPS.
GPS has made a history of living into its name. We are “God’s People Serving” and we have always given above and beyond when we see a need in our community. We donated over one million pounds of food with the Hope for the Hungry campaign and we continuously give of our resources to help support our ministry partners at Maple Elementary School. The problem seems to be when it comes to taking care of GPS itself. Without an amazing staff, GPS can never be successful. Without a building to hold services, have meetings in, and host the community in variety of ways, we would struggle to be relevant and to live out our mission. The problem is our budget for these basic needs is coming up short and we can’t do a special offering to fix the problem. The solution must be a commitment by as many of us as possible to increased and consistent giving.
During the meeting on Sunday we shared some information about our offering for 2018 and showed that we need to come together and accept the responsibility to support GPS financially. The reality is that close to half of the active membership of GPS (72 out of 156 households) gave less than two dollars per week for 2018. This is a tough pill to swallow. We do not know everyone’s story and many give of their time and talents, but in order for GPS to survive for future generations, we must commit to an offering that will support the budget. We need to increase our annual budget by about $50,000 to become fiscally sound and confidently welcome a new pastor.
On Sunday we introduced a new campaign called Forward in Faith. We invited everyone at the meeting to sign their name on the poster paper at the back of the sanctuary as a pledge to increase their offering by any amount and close the budget gap. In the coming weeks we will continue to discuss our need to increase the offering. We ask that everyone who considers GPS to be their faith community to sign the pledge and help carry GPS successfully into the future. On behalf of the Leadership Team and Call Committee, thank you for the part you play in helping GPS go Forward in Faith.