Preparing For Spring

Dear Lifers. I have been amazed over and over at the faith and resiliency of our church family through this past year. It's been tough, and our faith empowered by God's grace is making us tougher. As much as we are all looking forward to 2020 being over, let's not miss the purpose of this season. I wrote this to give you a glimpse of what I believe God is doing among us and how He is preparing us for what is coming. Our best days are ahead and I'm excited to walk into this next season with you.

Winter can seem so dead….at times depressing. We are tempted to think that nothing of value happens in the winter. But actually there is a lot happening - behind the scenes and below the surface - in preparation for Spring.

It has been hard to go through this season that has not been characterized by the kind of progressive growth that LifeBridge has enjoyed in the past. I have lifted up a lot of "why" prayers. But a few weeks ago as I was praying, I felt God revealing some new things. He began to show me that there is a time and a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). As much as we would like to enjoy growth and harvest all year long, God has given us 4 seasons in the natural, one of which seems lifeless and cold. Sometimes we despise winter for those reasons, but the truth is, there is a lot happening in the winter…behind the scenes and below the surface. It’s what happens in the winter that prepares the trees and flowers to burst forth with life in the spring.
COVID has ushered in a winter season, a season without the same ministry growth or harvest. I do see people growing deeper, but we are not experiencing a lot of ministry expansion. We can get frustrated or we can accept the realities associated with it. We are in a winter season right now – as a church. We have actually been in a winter season at LifeBridge for several months. So, what do we do with a winter season? Should we resist what God has ordained? NO! In a winter season we must prepare for spring…behind the scenes and below the surface.

As I have been seeking God for wisdom and understanding, He has shown me that we have been given an opportunity to focus on some things internally. This is JUST a season...of preparation. Here is what I believe God is directing us to do during this season:

Rebuild our staff team and strategies to prepare for the new realities ahead:
Post-COVID society will be different. If the church does not adjust to these new realities, we will lose our ability to be productive in the next season. Churches often resist change and lose their ability to speak into a culture that has “moved on” especially after something as culture shifting as a pandemic. The message NEVER changes. The way we present it MUST! We have already been making progress here and are excited to have Sheila Cavanaugh on our team as the new Director of Operations and Justin Lechner as our new Associate Pastor. There are many others who are leaning in at other levels too.

Pay down our mortgage by $100,000:
Due to some completely unexpected contributions in the last year, your faithfulness as supporters, and a decrease in staffing and operating expenses, we have an unexpected surplus of financial resources right now that allows us to make some progress on paying down our debt.

Make important renovations to our building and property:
We have already made huge improvements to our parking and have added the new road to Blue Star Hwy this year. We have a window of opportunity right now that allows us to make some progress inside the building as well. Here are the renovations we would like to complete during this “winter” season:
o   Expand and renovate our current lobby to be bright, fresh, free flowing and inviting.
o   Open 3600 sq feet of NEW ministry space for recreation, fellowship and community outreach.
o   Renovate the back building to create 2,000 sq feet of exciting space for youth ministry.
o   Create a room for nursing mothers or parents with restless babies where they can stay engaged with the service, yet have the privacy they need.

I am inviting you to partner with us in this season to make all these possible. Here are the three ways you can help:
A year-end gift: We have a good start on hand, but your participation would help us finish this entire renovation project and pay down our debt? Please don’t take from what you would normally give in tithes and offerings. We still need to keep that giving stream strong for current ministry operations. This would be an above and beyond special offering to help us get fully prepared for the spring season that is coming. To participate in this way, click here to go to the giving platform on our website, and choose "preparing for Spring" under the fund options.
Lend a hand: Consider setting aside one or more Saturdays in February for a work day. Together, we can experience the joy of building something great while also making our money go further.  
Press into your own faith: The church is not a building. The building is a great tool for providing us a place to gather to worship God in unity and rally together around our mission, but WE are the church. It is your personal faith in Jesus that has made the difference and will continue to impact this community. I am challenging our people to really champion their own spiritual development. God wants to work behind the scenes and below the surface in all our lives so that together, we are stronger and ready to reach our community in the next season. If we don’t prepare ourselves, the most beautiful and functional building in the world will not change souls for eternity. I will be giving further challenges in this area that will include making a daily time of personal worship a habit in your life.
The staff and leadership are also working on an exciting project that will give a fresh look and feel to everything we do. I’m gonna keep that under wraps for now, but we'll reveal that in March.

When “spring” returns and the masks come off, we can return to a fresh look, a new staff, a renovated building and a revived passion. I believe an exciting season of growth is around the corner. Lets prepare to come back from all the crazy disruptions of this “season” ready for it! So, who’s with us?

Please take some time to pray over this message. Ask God to show you your role in this. If you have any questions regarding this message or the Preparing For Spring campaign, please email pastor Milan at [email protected].  Peace and blessings Lifers - and Merry Christmas.