August 5, 2018 – Ephesians 4.1-16

Take a look at where we are on the facilities improvements campaign.  The thermometer we’ve had in the gathering area says the goal is $117,000, and it looks like that’s going to be very close.  It’s been an interesting process, as we have worked through implementing the list of things we said we wanted to add or change.  In a way, the elevator has been the easiest part, although by a long shot the most expensive.  Elevator-wise, we got a price, signed a contract, and the work has gone without a serious hitch and is now nearing completion.

The rest, however, has been something of an evolution.  Early on it was decided that we needed to add a family bathroom, and that became a priority.  Thanks to very generous contributions by some of our members, that project was completed with no cost to the rest of us.

Next on the list is a redo of our nurseries.  We have two basic problems with our current nurseries.  First, they are two separate rooms, with a hallway in between.  So, in order to comply with generally accepted child safety measures, we would need four nursery workers, two in each room.  But we rarely have enough infants and children to warrant having four workers.   The second issue is that the bathroom is in the crib nursery, and it needs to be in the toddler nursery.  We can’t just switch the rooms because we need the bigger room for the toddlers.

So the idea was to take out the walls and make one big room.  It sounded simple, efficient, and not horribly costly.  However…we discovered we could not do that, because the hallway between the two rooms leads to a fire exit, and the walls have to stay.  So…we moved next door and decided to combine the old handbell room and the adjacent classroom into the new nursery.  We plan to install two bathrooms, one for nursery use and one for the general public, I guess you’d say, that will be accessible from the area outside the nursery.  The downside of this plan is that it’s going to cost about $15,000, by the time we do all that has to be done.

The good news, though, is that using these rooms frees up the current nurseries for use as youth rooms.  We were planning to use the old bell room and the annex for youth rooms, both of which would have required a fair bit of expense to rework.  So plan B turns out to be something of a wash, cost-wise.

Then there’s the addition of a screen and projector or pair of screens, plus other audio/visual items for the sanctuary.  The plan includes mounting a camera in the back of the sanctuary, which will be connected to the screen in the gathering area and the projector/screen in the fellowship hall, so that anytime we so need, we can show and hear what’s going on the in the sanctuary in these other places.  We also plan to put a screen in the new nursery so the attendants can keep up with the service in the sanctuary.

Lastly, we don’t think we’re going to need a new storage building, which was on the original list.  That’s because, a: even after the space used by the elevator, we still have significant storage space upstairs and downstairs, in the rooms next to the elevator, and b: we will move the ping pong table, foosball table, and furniture from the annex to one of the new youth rooms, or elsewhere, creating more space in the annex for storage.

So here we are.  You see that what lies before us is that we need about $27,500 more than what has been pledged to date to complete all the projects.  Don’t tip them off, but we can certainly hit up our former members and others who will be coming for the 50th anniversary next month.  But I doubt we’ll get much from them.  I suspect it’s up to us.  I’ve been told that more is coming by the end of the year, but I don’t think it’s going to be $27,500.

So, it looks like the plan is to keep the capital campaign account open, and as pledges/funds become available, we start on the next project.  That’s not horrible news.  It would be great if we already had the whole $117,500 pledged or given, but the fact is we are doing a bunch of this work ourselves, such that for some of these projects, we can only do one at a time.  Plus, I’m glad we made the family bathroom and the elevator priorities.  Those are both important expressions of our desire to provide Christian hospitality to all.  The other projects have that same goal, but I think it’s good that we took on those items first. We just don’t need to lose sight of the rest of the list, because they are also important matters of extending hospitality to all who come here.

So we all have a job to do.  In this case, the job is to give as we are able, above our regular giving, to complete the facilities improvements.  We need to make sure our youngest folks are safe and well cared-for.  We need to make sure our youth feel valued.  We need to be able to use the best available audio/visual technology in all parts of our building.  So we all have a job to do.

The writer of Ephesians reminds us of this important fact.  Today’s reading says, “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”  No doubt that’s not meant to be an exhaustive list.  If we were compiling such a list today we might say, “The gifts God gave were that some would be youth group leaders, some clothes closet workers, some makers of dinner for the Gateway, some deacons.”  And our list would go on.

Paul, and whoever wrote Ephesians, nobody’s sure, contend that all of us are given gifts by God.  Some of us make good teachers.  Some of us make good leaders for various groups.  Some of us are good at doing behind the scenes things.  Some of us can organize and make sure what needs to be done gets done.  Some of us are just good workers at whatever needs doing.

The bottom line is that all of us have a job to do.  We may not think we have anything to offer by way of carrying on Jesus’ work.  But we’d be wrong.  All of us have been given gifts to use “for building up the body of Christ.”  “Building up the body of Christ” means both taking care of our in house business and helping spread the good news by our work in the community and beyond, and inviting others to come and give our faith a try.  The goal, according to Ephesians, is that “all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”  That’s a lofty goal.  But apparently it’s achievable, and apparently it takes all of us to reach it.

You know that we have a lot going on here at TCC.  We have three adult Sunday School classes, youth groups, several mission teams, and people and groups who do things like work at the Helping Hands Clothes Closet and make dinners for the Gateway.  We do work with the Piedmont Community Impact Organization and sometimes help Interfaith Outreach Association.  We’ve helped build a bunch of houses with Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity.  We have people who visit our shut ins.  We do two mission trips a year.  And so on.

 

It may be tempting for us to say, we’re doing enough.  We cover a lot of bases, both within our church family and beyond.  We have a lot of people going in a lot of different directions doing good things in the name of Jesus.  And every now and then we take on a new something.

But saying “we’re doing enough” is always dangerous.  Believing that to be the case opens us up to missing opportunities to carry on our mission, to grow and share our relationship with God through Christ.  Believing we are doing enough is the attitude of a dying church, not a growing one.

So what else might we do?  Well, in the past we have had a welcome team, which works to make sure our visitors and prospective members are shown hospitality and helped to be included in who we are and what we do.  This is a vital ministry for a growing church.  Maybe you have the gift of conversation with people you’ve just met.  I happen to know that we do have such people in our midst.  We need such people to help us be welcoming and hospitable.

In the past we have had a generosity team.  That may sound like a strange name for a mission team, but it’s task is to keep generosity in front of us as a Christian discipline.  Their job is not raising money.  It is not trying to make sure we meet the budget.  Their job is to teach us and remind us that we give because God has already given to us.

Maybe you have an idea, maybe you’ve felt a nudge, we haven’t even thought of yet.  Maybe you’d like to see if some children at a local school or in our neighborhood need after school tutoring.  Or maybe some children need after school games on our ball field.  Maybe you’d like to see if there are some folks interested in getting involved with Lynchburg’s Poverty to Progress initiative.  Maybe you’d like to help get us back to doing highway clean up once or twice a year.

We all have a job to do.  Maybe two.  Because we all have a gift, or gifts, which can be used for “building up the body of Christ.”  And that’s good news, that we all have a job to do.  Amen.