Off the Wall May 2017 by Rev. Dr. Alan Dorway

What are we doing?  When are we completing this project?  Who is doing the work?  What is the bid?  What are our goals?  When is this getting done?  What is the priority?  Where is the money?  Where are the people?  Who are our volunteers? 

If we spend all of our time answering these questions, then we could get a lot done, explain our rationale, and be good stewards of our finances.  Yet, we’d be missing something.  Something we’ve worked hard at for more than my seven years here. 

The why.  Why are we doing what we’re doing?  Not just the doing, but why do we exist as the First Presbyterian Church here in Everett?  I know that it seems easy: we exist because we’re a church that has been blessed with a rich legacy of faith.  That’s true.  But I believe we know the deeper why.  Why are we here?  We’re here to form disciples of Jesus Christ and send them (us) into the world to proclaim God’s good news.

To me, that’s core to our mission.  Like Christians around the world, we are growing in our love of God (discipleship) and being sent (evangelism/mission) into our world to share God’s love.  True, we don’t always use words, sometimes we work, and other times we’re called to specific ministries that come alongside others, learn from others, or support others in various ministries.  And yes, by the way, we have a beautiful sanctuary.  And yes, if you come to the sanctuary we worship on Sundays with an amazing worship team.  Yes, we are concerned about our youth so we are working constantly on our youth program.  Yes, we love our seniors so we support programs and community building for them.  We are interested in the environment so we think about larger issues. 

And we serve food to our neighbors on Wednesdays.  Plus, we are involved in other ministry and community         programs and we’d love to get you involved.  Yet, we want involvement as a result of our becoming more like Jesus rather than because we have a great building.  This is a slight change, but it’s one that’s important.  Our why, our growing with Jesus and loving others guide everything we do.  We’re disciples and we have a building, so we need to fix the roof.  We’re proclaiming God’s good news, so we go on mission trips.  We’re learning to love God, so we take time in Bible study.

We do a lot and are blessed with a rich legacy, but we will still be a church no matter what happens because of our why.  If we did not have a building, we’d still be concerned about making disciples.  Even if we didn’t make our budget, we’d still be sending disciples into the world.  Even if we didn’t have a “catchy” program, we’d still gather in worship to learn to love God and our neighbor. 

We do have priorities.  We do have a plan.  We are making disciples.  We are being sent. 

Here are some brief updates that have developed from our why.  We are finishing Stocker kitchen with money we have from the mission component of the 2010 Capital Campaign.  Bids are slow to come as some companies are refusing to work with churches and we’ve hit a small snag as we learned that when we upgraded our electric and added new appliances, our contractors did not pull the necessary permits.  We love our neighbor and our community, so we are doing this project well. 

We are going to fix Westminster roof with designated funds we have.  We honor our legacy of space that blesses us and gives us a needed place to gather in making disciples. 

We are upgrading the visual in our sanctuary and adding handrails.  These funds are primarily in designated line items, but we may need to go to the congregation to fundraise some more as bids have changed.  We use our time in worship to grow our faith and realign ourselves with the living Lord. 

We are going to Yucatan.  Disciples partner with organizations and churches to experience the diverse body of Christ and share God’s word with others.  In turn, we grow in our own discipleship. 

We collect offerings and give of ourselves to serve, help, work, and love.  Our operating budget is the now of what our plan is to make and send disciples into our world.  Disciples give generously, not just money, but their skills and talents to care for others and our community. 

Every month, we work at this.  It’s messy and difficult and taxing and trying, but disciples are part of the body of Christ and we don’t give up on each other.  Even at 125, I tell people when they ask, what’s your church like?  I say we’re a great group of disciples who love Jesus and are being sent to share the good news.  I share the why.  And we have a building, a great music program, serve a community meal, and you’re welcome to join us. 

I am committed to serving this church and I know our elders and all of you, our members, desire to grow in our faith and share our faith with others.  We would never do anything to change our why.  So, I humbly ask you to come and see, join and serve, grow and worship, and deepen your love of Christ as we are sent to love others.