Tying Facility Needs to Mission


Churches that have been around for many years often face numerous property challenges. With aging buildings, there are frequent unplanned property issues that arise and insufficient funds in the operating budget for these repairs. Just when we seem to make some progress, something else has to be fixed. This can be frustrating for everyone.

For example, I was dispirited to learn recently that the roof on one of the churches has to be replaced. Guided more by frustration than faith, the following Sunday I included this announcement in the worship bulletin.

Roof Replacement. We have learned that our church needs a total roof replacement. If you have any creative ideas for a fundraiser, please contact ….

Reflecting on this over the next week, I regretted that I had tried to engage the congregation on this significant issue in such an uninspiring way. I consulted with others about a more helpful way to begin the conversation about the roof replacement. The next week, a different announcement was used.

Roof Replacement. We have been part of this community for over 200 years, providing a beautiful place to gather to worship God, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Our building has served as a gathering place for our fellowship time as well as for neighborhood groups. We have an opportunity to continue serving our community as we improve our facility with a new roof. Thank you for showing God’s love to God’s people.

What a difference that made in our worship experience. The worship leader that Sunday even read the new announcement with pride and expression. This caused the attendees to take more notice and give more funds toward the roof. This was the beginning of a conversation about an issue critical to our mission, not just a plea for fundraising ideas. People were asked to think and pray about this need and to talk with others about their ideas so together we could discern how to continue to be the church in mission we had been for so many years.

We tied the facilities to our mission, which in turn reignited the excitement and pride of the congregants. Once people see the connection to the mission, they give more generously. My first announcement made it sound like our church wanted a new roof. The roof is not the issue. Our mission is what matters, and that is what is at stake if we do not replace the roofing.

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About Author

Johnsie W. Cogman is pastor of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, and Bells United Methodist Church in Camp Springs, Maryland. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, 2016. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation.

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