Room for More
I case you missed my announcement this past Sunday, I have decided to include it in my blog. We are in an amazing season! Our church is having greater impact than at any other time in our history. We are helping about a dozen churches and about two dozen local ministries, schools, and social agencies make a difference. We are also training and mentoring more pastors to create healthy leaders to influence their communities. We are an externally-focused church and that is what I love most about Pantano! Our staff, elders and church are also the healthiest we have ever been. God is blessing us and showing us his favor!
A key part of our external focus is to try to reach people who are not connected to God or to a church community. Because of that, we are growing and reaching more people. Since July 2017 we have baptized 258 people, which is 7% higher than our baptisms were in the same period last year. Our adult worship attendance is up 10%, children’s up 5%, middle school is up 17%, and Thrive (our young adult group) is up 37%. Our overall growth of all groups combined is 8%. So now we face a new and wonderful challenge: we need to make room for more!
One way we can make more room for more in our adult services is for anyone to consider attending the 1PM service, if they can. We have adult, children, middle school and high school groups that meet at 1PM. The 1PM service is the smallest of of our three services and there’s lots of room. I think the 1PM service is an ideal service time with summer coming. You can do your outdoor chores or activities in the morning when it is cooler, then come to the 1PM service and worship God in the cool air conditioning. And don’t forget that we offer lunch in our café before 1PM service.
There are a variety of reasons why we are growing. Part of the reason is that we made some service moves and changes just over a year ago. But those changes left us out of space at 9AM and 11AM services for our high school ministry. So we took a risk and moved them to Sunday night. That didn’t work. Then we moved the high school students to 1PM on Sundays. That was a little better, but not ideal. Through all of these moves, our high school ministry attendance has declined 44% since last year. That is just not acceptable. High school is a critical age for faith. In trying the different Sunday times, we tried to delay the inevitable. We need to build. We need to make room! So, Sunday I announced that we are launching “Room for More.”
We are deep in the pre-work to build a 19,000 sq ft building that will replace the modular units on west side of campus, next to our current office building. The new building will provide a worship and activity area that can house up to 400 high school students. We’ll also move all our our staff offices, which are currently in three different locations, into the new building. Our high school students and their families a vital part of our church. We have to make room for more!
We want to complete the building quickly, as near to the start of school in the fall as possible. As you know, we are also frugal! So, it was decided that the best option would be to build a Sprung structure. It will be high quality – inside and out! (Check out these links for a virtual tour as well as existing Sprung structures in various market sectors, and examples of how ours may look here and here.) It will be an economical, low-maintenance building that will more than meet our needs.
Moving our offices into a new building will free up the current main office space. This building will be remodeled to become a medium-sized venue for weddings, funerals, large classes or groups. This building will be renamed “The Pavilion.” This move will also free up space in the Towne Hall building that is currently being used for offices for needed classes for both children and adults.
We are currently working on getting approved plans and exact costs and hope to have those soon. I’m sure you have lots of questions, as I can’t cover all the details in this blog. So Executive Pastor Roger Blumenthal and I will be hosting several informational meetings in May with pictures and details. I’m really excited to take this next step of growth. It is critical! We’ve got to make Room for More! So right now I’m asking for your prayers. Pray for us to have wisdom for the many decisions to be made. Pray for permits to be issued quickly so we can start ASAP. Also, start praying about how you can help. My prayer is that we’ll be able to pay for this completely by the end of the year. Your help will be vital to help us make “Room for More.”