When the Elders and Deacons of the church met in January for our Southminster Officer Retreat, one of the discussions was about “slaying dragons”. What histories, concerns, issues, problems, etc. are keeping the church from fully living into the God’s good future for us? What is holding us back in Brookside? What dragons have been slayed and where are we with the rest? We talked about losing members for x, y, and z reason, our invisibility behind the development on Peoria, and the decline of membership from the peak 20 or 30 years ago. It was a thoughtful and helpful conversation. The consensus was that we have done a great deal of work slaying those dragons, but there is still more work to do.
One dragon we did not talk about in as much detail was the construction of the Community Center. It was a trauma for the church. We are thankful for its construction and the great ministry that is done from it now, but it was not an easy process. There were site and building issues. The finances became, perhaps, the greatest struggle. Fundraising was difficult. Asking the congregation again to give was challenging. Ending up with debt to carry was problematic. All of you that were here during that period know about all of this better than I do. It is a battle scar.
We entered the Southminster 75 Capital Campaign with this dragon still looming. We also arrive here knowing that the church is in a completely different place than it was 10 years ago. Financially, we are remarkably blessed by the Center One development and the cell tower leases. The generosity of this congregation is amazing. Pledging increased even as we loss some key givers to death and relocations. The budget is cleaner, leaner, and nimbler than it has been. We are back to running surpluses and carrying money forward year to year. We are all much more hopeful about the future of this church.
The Southminster 75 Capital Campaign is a celebration of 75 years of ministry in Brookside. It is an affirmation of the next decades of ministry to come here. I think it can also be another dragon we slay together. The past of this church does not dictate our future. Previous struggles are not predictors of present circumstances. We can move towards the good future that God has planned for us. And we can do all of that together for the benefit of our ministry in Brookside and the Kingdom of God work we are doing here.
On April 1, the Southminster 75 Capital Campaign begins. The campaign funds five projects across the church that would take place over the next two years leading up to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the church in 2020. While the projects will be completed in less than two years, we will continue to receive pledges until December 31, 2023 for a total of five years of giving. The cost to complete all the projects including a new air conditioner, audio/video upgrades, and painting for the sanctuary, an elevator for the Community Center, a partial remodeling on Cottrell Hall, and updates to the east side exterior will be $350,000. $110,000 has already been pledged to the campaign before it even starts. The median pledge is $10,000 over five years or $2,000 per year. Easter Sunday, what will you give? How will you impact ministry in Brookside for the next 75 years? Will you help us slay this dragon?