Dear members and friends of Church of the Beatitudes,
We are in the midst of reassembling a puzzle. Over the last decades our puzzle broke apart. It’s not worth our time or energy to revisit how or why this happened. Our focus is on putting it back together.
Time is at play. The hourglass has turned. Our resources are cascading downward. Still, we remain optimistic. We know we will put the puzzle back together. Why? Because we are dreamers. It’s in our DNA. It’s a spiritual genetic trait we received from our ancestors. As members of Beatitudes Church our attention has been and will be toward the future not the past. Our founding minister captures this eloquently in his memoir. For too long “Christianity has been remembering the past – stuck in stodgy symbolism of yesteryear which doesn’t work now. And what is really needed now is to develop a dream, an ideal, an image of what we want our world to be like ten, twenty, or thirty years from now and then continue, not by remembering the past but by remembering the future.”
There are many pieces in our puzzle and we need each piece to fit properly. You are a piece. I am a piece. The staff, music, arts, Family Ministries, Faith in Action, Church Life, ushers, and greeters are all pieces. The list goes on and on. The adoption and implementation of a Master Plan for our facilities is also a significant piece of the puzzle. It is not “the” piece. Nevertheless, it is a vital piece because it is an expression of our spirit and dreams. Ultimately, we are not doing this for us. We are undertaking this, primarily, for those who will occupy this space five, ten, twenty years from now. We are creating a space that will be as attractive for those visiting us now as the space was when our forbearers crafted it for us. It’s our turn. It’s our time.
Some may point out that this is an expensive piece of the puzzle and wonder if it is essential that we set it in place at this time. The reply is “yes.” Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it is essential. Yes, it is time. In fact, it is because it is essential that we need to incur this expense now.
Why is it essential? We continually have individuals visit our church. Attracting visitors is not our problem. Our concern is why they aren’t returning. As one author pointed out, “If your church isn’t growing, it’s not because guests aren’t coming, it’s because there’s something about your Sunday experience that is communicating to them that you don’t really want them there.” Many factors communicate this. One of the loudest voices is our dated worship space. It expresses fatigue and apatheia. This is wrong. It’s not who the majority of us are or have been since we decided to call this corner home. Again, because this is a crucial piece of the puzzle and we have monies that were unexpectedly returned from the Southwest Conference, it is the time for us to allocate these funds for this purpose. Let us again hear the voice of our founding minister from his memoir.
“When we’re in an official board meeting or in a staff meeting and we start discussing a new program and get off on finances, we don’t let people stay on the subject of finances any length of time. The attitude is we must discuss the right question. Answers are unimportant unless you have the right question and the right question is not, ‘Do we have enough money to do this program at all’? The right question is, ‘Should we be doing this program at all’? Because if we should be doing this program at all, then we’ll find the money with which to do it.” Can I get an, “Amen?”
You and I are both committed to putting this puzzle back together for the next generation. This is our mission. And this is why we must call upon our energy and resources to make certain we have done all we can to remain on this corner and be an expression of a Christianity that fosters compassion, care, and respect for all throughout the Phoenix valley and beyond. Can I get another, “Amen?”
Pastor Tony Minear, PhD
The Board of Directors moves that the congregation vote to approve $450,000 to pursue renovations to the worship center using the money returned from the Southwest Conference and the money already approved for lighting.