by Will Peycke
In 2021, the first phase of the building revamp brought valuable updates to the newer half of our building. If you have kids—or serve with kids!—you’ve probably noticed that the basement, our main children’s ministry area, is overdue for similar attention. As a result, one of the key questions in our strategic plan asks, What would it take to transform the lower level of our building into a warm, welcoming, and highly functional children’s ministry space?
We have considered this question and put together an overview you can access here. A second question, though, is perhaps equally significant: Is now the time to pursue such a project?
In considering these questions, the elders wanted to hear from the church regarding priorities, finances, and timing. Construction costs continue to climb as do interest rates. The church continues to give generously, but inflation is impacting everyone’s budget. Meanwhile, of course, our kids continue to grow up, and the basement is still far from the resource we would like it to be. God has entrusted us with our children, this building, and financial resources, and we want to be good stewards of all three.
Last month, we asked you to share your input through a survey. THANK YOU to the many of you (62 households!) who completed the survey. Here is a summary of what we heard from you.
Who completed the survey? Responses were evenly distributed across families with infants/toddlers, preschool, elementary, youth, and those who do not have kids or grandkids attending Kossuth.
Is children’s ministry a financial priority? Nearly 80% of responses ranked children’s ministry as a high or top financial priority in comparison to other financial priorities at Kossuth. Only 5% considered it a low priority.
How important is a children’s ministry space revamp? The majority of responses (62%) ranked this as a high or top priority for Kossuth in the next year or two, while 18% ranked it as low priority. (20% were in the middle.) Fun fact: this was the only question where the responses ranked in stair-step order!
Are economic conditions impacting our ability to give? Almost half (48%) of responses indicated little or no impact on their ability to give. About a quarter of response were neutral, and just over a quarter (28%) said their giving is being impacted or significantly impacted.
Is this a project people want to give to? An overwhelming 90% of you indicated that renovating our children’s ministry space is something you would like to give toward in the coming year. However, that includes 50% who don’t know if you will be able to give.
What are our hopes and goals for the youth and children’s ministry at Kossuth? Many of you shared fantastic hopes and goals, such as kids who truly love Jesus, building families of disciple makers, and children who are growing in grace and faith. Here is one response that stood out:
My hope is that our youth and children's ministry will support families and parents in leading their children to saving faith in Christ. I will be eternally grateful for all the dedicated teachers who influenced my own child by teaching God's word faithfully and leading by example. Our best spiritual conversations always took place in the car on the way home from church. I know that having an updated children's and youth area will not necessarily mean that our ministry will grow, but it can make the work easier, more effective, and safer. I think our biggest challenge will always be having dedicated adults to minister to children and youth. I am not talking about "warm bodies," I'm talking about people who realize that children's ministry is spiritual warfare. It will not succeed unless we ask God to show himself in a powerful way.
Numerous responses expressed the desire for the children’s ministry space to improve in significant ways, including the following key words: inviting (4x), welcoming, appealing, comfortable, open, homey, safe (3x), bright, natural light, color (2x), not cinder block (2x), new flooring/carpet (2x), functional space and layout (3x), flow of traffic, new restrooms, to be obvious that children are one of our top priorities.
A few people expressed reservations about the project, including that a nice space is not essential and that thriving ministry doesn’t need flashy rooms, or that the current space is good enough to get us by.
Once again, thank you for sharing your input! At the risk of over-simplifying, there are at least two clear messages we heard from you through this survey:
- Children’s ministry is a high priority to our church, and updating the basement is an important project that most of you are eager for us to tackle in the near future.
- There is significant financial groundwork to do before we can get started. While almost all of us want to give to this project, there is also some uncertainty about our ability to do so.
Now that we’ve considered these questions, what’s next? One of the first steps will be to invest in interior design work to develop the architectural drawings into a visual representation of what the lower level of our building could become. We anticipate exploring this step in 2023 and will let you know when we are ready to move forward.
The biggest step, however, will be making financial preparations for such a significant revamp project. We do not currently have the financial reserves that enabled us to complete phase 1 with such minimal debt. If you would like to consider being part of an initial group of givers to help anchor this project, please contact me (email@example.com) and/or Bill Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), and let’s explore what that could look like.