At church this morning our head pastor (just back from painful ankle and foot surgery) announced that he's stopping the capital campaign three weeks hence because they've only been able to raise half of the funds needed. The plan is to scale back and just build the children's pavillion and remodel one of the halls so the music department can have new offices. Apparently only 10 million is needed for this instead of the 13.6 million that had been asked for. And they only have 6.8 million so far. All this after building the 11 plus million dollar family life building and worship arts center.
The worship arts center has kicked off their "Ovations" program with an art show of secular paintings that loosely try to tie into scripture. They're nice paintings. Though I do not understand what a painting of an old man gardening in his underwear has to do with Jesus. Or of a lady slumped over asleep at a table. I must just be thick headed.
The new building did not enlarge the sanctuary. And we really needed that. But the idea was to put overflow into the worship arts building so folks could watch their kids or the programs on a live feed video screen.
Our pastor acknowledged that he knew he had offended a lot of the congregation with the enormity of this building project. Especially when it jumped from 8 million to 24 within 4 years. It really doesn't matter whether or not it was his personal fault that all this has gone remarkably south, but I felt an apology from him was in order. It was not at all forthcoming.
Instead, the congregation was chastized by telling us that the only thing keeping our church alive is the constant incoming flow of new families and if we don't build this big expensive new building then that flow is going to stop and our church is a' gonna die. Gotta have the pretty, expensive building or the church will die. And that's that. And if that's what we want, that's what we'll get if we don't sign onto the five year plan of giving. I hadn't been all that offended before. Just skeptical and incredulous over the session's idea of how the numbers were supposed to work. NOW I am offended. I know the church is in trouble. But there is just no way I believe a pretty, expensive new building at the cost of what would rebuild a sizable portion of Katrina victim's houses, or maybe make a profound positive impact in Africa, or both with that kind of money, is gonna save our church.
Children and families will come when there are good programs based on Jesus and teaching the Bible. *shakin' my head* And of course they'll come to party with interesting secular programs and to play pool and basketball in the shiny new buildings. But then it won't be church any more, will it?
I would love to find a smaller, spirit centered rather than secular centered, church with my mom, but Wonderboy loves the children's choir so much and the leaders are spirit centered. So, for him, I'll hang in there. And there are good people there. Though some of my pals have left. And the junior and senior high programs are also centered on Jesus and scripture. Though the entire time I've been at this church there has always been a disconnect between youth, adult and senior groups. Now I understand why.
Oh, and they're starting a new study group on "The New Atheists: A Christian Response". I wish I had time for that one because I have always thought that being an atheist meant that one did not believe in God. Apparently there are new requirements for the club. Maybe a secret handshake or something. Or maybe it's a "unborn again" program. *shakin' my head again*. I had thought that the church already had a Christian Response.
Can I get a witness?