Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The story is told of a small village on the edge of deep and forbidding forest. As years went on and the game became scarce, hunters found themselves journeying deeper into the forest. Finally, three hunters endeavored to travel deeper into the forest than anyone had ever penetrated. After trekking deeper than even they had imagined they would they came upon a high wall that stretched as far as they could see to the right and to the left.
At this point they decided that one would walk a half day to the left, another a half day to the right, searching for a door or an end to the wall. The third hunter would build a ladder. They searched and found no end, no door, nor any other way through the wall.
At the end of the day, they came back together and placing the ladder they climbed to the top to see what was on the other side.
The first man reached the top, peered over the wall, let out a yell, and jumped over the wall. The second man reached the top and looking over the wall, shrieked with joy, and jumped down on the other side. Finally, the third man, upon reaching the top of the wall, looked over into a what appeared to be paradise. Streams of clear water teeming with fish, fruit trees and wild edibles in abundance, and wild game everywhere. He too let out a shout of pure joy and began to lean over to jump. Then he paused, he thought about his village, and all the people there who were on the verge of starving.
He climbed back down the ladder and made his way home to invite the whole village to come start a new life beyond the wall.
Just over two years ago we began to speak of our Vision 2020 campaign. It began with three goals that when accomplished, would open the way to a new building for the purpose of expanding our ministries here in Edmond.
Two of those goals have been met. The first was the immediate funds to retire our existing debt. That we accomplished more quickly than we expected. The second goal was to build and strengthen the financial foundation of our congregation. Again, we have reached that milestone. With your increased financial commitment, and a few generous large gifts, we are in, to quote a member of the Finance Committee, “the best financial shape the church has ever been in.” Again, thank you.
However, the third goal in Vision 2020 was to grow the membership of the congregation. In this, we are behind. There are any number of reasons we might point to for this and there are any number of possible solutions. But in the end, if you have found a home here at Santa Fe, if you have come to love this congregation, as many of you have shared with me; if you recognize that Santa Fe is a place where you have been loved and cared for, then why are you keeping it a secret?
Santa Fe may not be quite the paradise described in the story above, but certainly we have a great deal to offer to people who are starving for the kind of spiritual nourishment and sense of community we can provide.
The first step, and arguably the best way, to growing the membership of a church is for its members to invite their friends, families, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers to come join us in the worship and work of our congregation.
Our mission statement includes the words, “come see, be fed, go tell.” You have come, and being fed, now is the time to go tell. If we are going to fulfill our vision for 2020, then we must begin now to invite, welcome, and encourage others to join us in the life of our congregation.
‘It’s just that easy,’ and really, not that hard.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, Mitch