A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with one of our members to discuss the direction Richwoods is headed in the next five years. It was an enjoyable time, but it was not void of hard questions. One of the questions involved getting clarity on Richwoods’ perspective on discipleship.
One of the lessons learned in the past several years is that we have not been effective in communicating a discipleship path, or maybe better said, a path to following Christ. Some of this is due to a desire to not mislead our people about what we believe following Christ looks like. Many well-intending churches provide a step-by-step process to following Christ. They offer a set of classes or a small group study. The information is good, the problem comes with the thinking it develops – that following Christ is just a matter of taking a few classes and then I’ve got it. Objective complete.
As I talked about this, my lunch friend jumped in and confirmed his frustration with what he had observed in other churches concerning a discipleship pipeline. He went on to express that being formed into the image of Christ – the end game of discipleship – is an ongoing process we will never complete during this lifetime.
Richwoods’ discipleship path has five areas of growth we all need to participate in as we follow Christ. In an effort to avoid making these areas look like discipleship is achieved in steps, we display all five in a circle. It doesn’t really matter visually, but it’s imperative we understand that there is no sequence or order to them.
For example, let’s take a look at Believe. Naturally, when we read this it would make sense to say this element of discipleship is a “one and done” but every week as we take communion, we are remembering what we believe. Our participation in worship is active believing done in community. Believe does involve putting our faith in Christ and being baptized by immersion, but it also means daily “dying to myself” as the Apostle Paul writes.
Each one of the other areas of growth in our Discipleship Path spurs another on. I’m tempted to keep teasing each one out but I’ve probably lost most of you already. I didn’t lose my lunch partner. As we talked about discipleship at Richwoods, he became more and more excited about the people of Richwoods being in authentic relationships, genuinely having a sense of belonging as they seek to grow spiritually and be transformed into the image of Christ, resulting in an ever-increasing heart for God’s restoration.
On average Richwoods needs to receive $39.1K in gifts to meet its 2016 operating expenses, 10% of which goes immediately to Missions and helping people in our community who are experiencing financial troubles.
2016 Cash Balance
As a policy we must have at least 2 weeks of average weekly income in our cash balance at all times, currently that figure is $75K.
Our budgets are set on a calendar year, submitted by staff and approved by the Elders of Richwoods. Our ability to meet the needs of the people, provide programs, offer ministry opportunities, and so on, are all contingent on the faithful and generous giving of the people who call Richwoods their church home. As a church we do not take annual pledges to set a budget but we work off of our historical giving and attendance patterns to project a conservative budget.
If you have questions about the information shared in this fyi, you can contact our Executive Pastor, Joel Dryden by email. You can also leave a comment below.