First Baptist Family,
The next two Sundays, on each side of the Thanksgiving Holiday, we will have great opportunities to gratefully reflect as we both look back and look forward.
First, this Sunday, November 19 is Aimee Hobbs' last Sunday with us before she transitions to her new role as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Rutherfordton, North Carolina. None of us can adequately express our appreciation for Aimee's ministry here at First Baptist. During her tenure here, through pandemic, pastoral interim, and untold transition, Aimee faithfully and consistently served our congregation with excellence. This Sunday we will joyfully reflect on her time with us as this chapter of her ministry closes, even as we celebrate her new call and this next step in her journey.
Aimee will preach Sunday, and following worship, we'll gather in the Narthex for a Farewell Reception for Aimee, Jason, and Harrison. Remember to bring your cards, love offerings, memories, and appreciation on Sunday!
Thank you Aimee. Well done.
Even as the Hobbs move into God's good future for them, First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg moves into God's good future for us! Next Sunday, November 26, we will hold our church Annual Meeting as part of worship. During the meeting we will vote on affirming our 2024 Church Budget and Leadership.
The Proposed 2024 Budget is available for review below, and hard copies will be available to pick up at the church this Sunday if desired. The Nominating Report is being finalized and will be available soon. I want to express my appreciation to the Stewardship Committee and Nominating Team for their good work in putting these together.
Even as we vote next week, we will also remind ourselves again that because we are a priesthood of all believers, if we are to become the church God desires us to be, it will take all of us working together. Together, the church.
We will begin to prayerfully consider, each of us and all of us together, how we feel called to invest ourselves and our resources into the ministries of First Baptist in the coming year.
I have been participating in "God Owns It All" the study on stewardship Roger Henricksen is leading on Sunday mornings (9 a.m. in Heritage Hall - I commend it to you!). Something said in that study has stuck with me, "Regardless of what a person claims, if you get a glimpse of a person's bank or credit card statement, you will see a true picture of their values and priorities." I think that is true for churches, too. Where we invest our financial resources says a lot about what we value as a community together.
So as you look over our 2024 Proposed Budget, I encourage you to see it not only as dollars and cents, but to also recognize the values represented. Investing in a building that makes ministry possible and serves as sanctuary for our city. Caring for our staff and their families. Providing spirit-filled worship, cultivating discipleship, enabling community fellowship around tables, engaging in mission partnerships that provide housing and food and care in St Pete and around the world. Offering quality childcare in a loving environment for families in our community. We do all of this and so much more so that people might experience God's gift of life in Jesus!
I'm certain as you ponder the details of the budget you might have questions. Feel free to reach out to Stewardship Committee Chair Jim Alonso or myself, we would certainly be glad to field questions anytime! Additionally, Jim will be in the Narthex each of the next two Sundays in the 9 o'clock hour if you would like to ask him questions about the proposed budget.
There is one thing I want to mention before you dive into the proposed budget. You will note that though we have invested a great deal on catching up on deferred maintenance over the last two years, and despite planning to spend more than 60% of our budgeted Tithes & Offerings on facilities next year, there are still a significant number of facilities repairs and maintenance needed well beyond what our current giving and other revenue allows us to responsibly budget for the coming year. None of these repairs has yet reached the point of being an emergency, but we should not and cannot ignore the truth that these projects are needed and will be very expensive. So for the sake of transparency, you will see some of these needed projects noted in an addendum to the budget. Let this serve as an impetus to us all to begin to prayerfully consider how we might most faithfully respond to this reality both individually and collectively. As Jesus said in Luke 18:27, the things which are impossible with humanity are possible with divinity. I am confident God will make a way; often God's way is working through God's people!
Church family, as we head into this Thanksgiving week, we have so much for which to be thankful. Let us count our blessings, not only all that God has already done in our midst but also God's good and beautiful future for us as well. I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for us as we are together, the church!