The End Is The Beginning

September 2, 2018
by Peggy White

Matthew 25:25-30 – "I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent." The master was furious. "That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this 'play it safe' who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness." (MSG)

First Presbyterian Church in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, will never be accused of not taking the risk to continue its ministry in the face of financial ruin. They took the talents (money and assets) given to them and, on bended knee with many prayers, risked it all!

You may remember previous devotionals from this series about the congregation's decision to move to a storefront ministry and give their property and church building to a developer who would build a new, affordable church for them. But a developer could not be found, so the congregation decided to sell the property and the church building and continue on with the storefront church.

These decisions did not come lightly. Many were like the Hebrew people who had come out of Egypt with Moses, clamouring to go back to Egypt! But with Presbytery's help, the congregation is working to learn how to move forward and how to use their resources for outreach and worship. This was a huge undertaking and took a toll on many.

These situations are happening to many of our formal, established, old churches. Perhaps yours is one of them. Do you have enough finances to continue each year, or are you living on investments from previous years? How long will they last? What will you do?

The most important answer is to look in the right place. No matter what decision you have to make, ask God what you should do. Although many will have opinions on the solution, only God knows the right answer and the right solution, but you've got to ask, and then listen and listen and listen. Then the big, huge thing: you've got to make the often-difficult change that God might be asking you to do!

First Presbyterian Church has taken the risk of letting go of its building and moving forward into an outreach-based ministry in a storefront environment. The congregation is trying to see this not as an end, but as a beginning. They don't know what the future will bring, but they do know the One who holds the future.

Prayer: Father God, on bended knee, we ask You to hold Your people and Your church in Your hands. We ask You to bring us the answers that we need in today's world to worship and to be Your disciples. Give us the strength that is needed to listen and obey. Amen.

About the author:

Peggy White <bpwhite777@cogeco.ca>
Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Wonderful.


    What an amazing step of faith!


    Thank you for today’s devotional Peggy. Best of luck for the future of your church.


    Thank you, Peggy, for today’s devotional. I enjoyed it very much. Many blessings to you today.


    Excellent devotional and very timely as many churches are struggling financially.
    God Bless.


    This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing and please write again to keep us updated on how your new mission is going. God bless!


    Peggy, I agree with you. Many Churches will not survive without taking these risks.
    But how do you convince the members that do not see the situation as it is?


    Great to get this update. I believe God often asks us to risk as he did when he encouraged me to start a newspaper many years ago.
    Go forward and enjoy the adventure!


    Thank you for your devotional. Here at our church we are facing that same challenge. Who knows what the future brings but we have to trust in God.
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. God Bless.


    Hello Peggy,
    Thank you for writing this devotional. My prayers are with you for the future of your church as it proceeds in outreach ministry. Blessings to all involved and supporting this change for your congregation.
    May the Lord’s grace and mercy be with you,
    (B.C.)


    Such a statement of faith, Peggy. In our area of Texas two Presbyterian churches have closed. Our church is located in rural Texas. We are thriving… which in the middle of the Bible Belt is thriving for a Reformed tradition church. However, that does not mean that in six months we will face another situation.
    Prayers are with you and your church in this new endeavor.
    (Texas)


    Hi Peggy,
    Thanks for this and for your church’s faithfulness to God’s purposes. We too are going through something similar at my church. We are praying, as you did, for God’s guidance.
    Have a blessed Sunday, however that now looks for you.
    Blessings.


    Hi Peggy,
    Thank you for the update. I was wondering how the store front church was going. Especially in Florida a lot of churches seem to have popped up in store fronts and are doing really well. They are not Presbyterian except one north of St Petersburg and they have done really well with increased numbers.
    My prayers are with you on this venture and I am sure it will be successful.
    Blessings.


    Good Labour Day Sunday! Your Devotional is timely! I remember your original devotion and commenting that our Church close. Our former Minister led us in worship as a guest at our new Worship site with her message entitle God Provides based on 1 Kings 17: 14
    Praying that your Congregation believe your last sentence: They don’t know what the future holds but know……”.
    Thank you for the progress and update and will pray for you, the leaders and the Congregation!


    Dear Peggy: I am feeling both proud and sad for the situation of your church. Sad that you must let go of the church which means so much to so many people. You are realizing that the church is more than a building, the church is the people, so that makes me proud. I am from a Presbyterian background in Ontario since a young child, and I know those roots are deep. That church is no longer a Presbyterian Church, it tugs at my heartstrings about that, but at the same time I rejoice as that congregation was blessed in having to build a larger church. I pray that the new ministry for First Presbyterian Port Colborne will thrive and be a blessing to everyone and that First Presbyterian Port Colborne with thrive. Remember, With God All Things Are Possible.


    Yes, God knows our future. We may not like what God tells us, but as you say, He knows the end and then a new beginning. Our congregation, a few years ago, had to sell our building as well as our members were dwindling down to the bare minimum. After much prayer and listening to what God would want us to do, we decided to amalgamate with another congregation; almost like a marriage, trying to learn from each other as well as not to infringe on our new home and pews and the amalgamation was between two different denominations (Anglican and Lutheran). To date, we are one family in Christ and we are growing. People have said that they can feel the love when they enter. Just goes to show you what God can do. I remember, in the past, that it was unheard of entering into another denomination’s church building. I believe that God is bringing His people together, no matter what we think or know or have been taught. May God bless you in your new venture.


    Hi Peggy
    Loved your devotional. As you know I believe God is going to work great things through the Gathering Place. You devotional is speaking to us as well.
    Thank you for sharing Port Colborne’s journey with all.


    Dear Peggy White,
    My heart is with you in losing the familiar place of worship. I pray for great advances is the new kind of work with ever-the-same– Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I pray that you will be strongly based on the Living Word of the Bible and its Chief, the living Jesus Christ. I pray that Jesus Christ’s living Spirit will be apparent with his Word.

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