Hello, church family! As we wrap up the year, we wanted to give you an update of the last year as well as look into the next.
FINancial Update and year-end giving
Thank you for your financial support for leading people to pursue a Jesus-first life. The gospel-centered work that takes place at Morning Star is made possible by the generous donations of people like you. If you’re not yet a regular giver here at Morning Star, we invite you to join the giving family and start faithfully participating financially during 2023. About 25% of our annual budget each year comes from year-end gifts. Will you prayerfully consider how you can participate with an extra year-end gift to help us continue gospel-centered work in Salem and around the world?
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR GOALS:
CARING FOR OUR STAFF
Much of our staff’s work is behind the scenes and rarely seen by others. Our staff doesn’t earn what they could in the private sector in order to serve here, and we want to do all that we can to compensate them as fairly as possible. We are pleased to be adding a retirement benefit of up to a 2% match to their retirement account, at an expense of around $1,000/month to our budget.
GLOBAL AND LOCAL MISSIONS
Jesus said to begin locally and circle the globe with the good news, so we are increasing our local and global partnership budgets. People are still welcome to give designated gifts to our missionaries, but we want to grow toward making a significant financial commitment to our partners from our ministry budget.
AGGRESSIVE DEBT REDUCTION
Another budget priority continues to be paying down our mortgage. We are getting slightly more aggressive in 2023, setting aside $50,000 in additional principal payments as we continue to be proactive in retiring our mortgage.
NEW MINISTRY: THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY
Recently we’ve introduced The Most Excellent Way as an alternative to Celebrate Recovery, a ministry we have loved for many years. “The Way” combines recovery with intentional, biblically-based discipleship. We are committed to helping those that want help with addiction. We have done our very best to create a safe, comfortable environment where people can feel accepted in spite of what they have done or where they have come from.
Although our meetings and studies are described as support groups, they are much more than that; they are victory groups. We strive to help people in every area of their lives to regain the life that addiction has taken over.
STAFF SPOTLIGHT: MEET CASIE MENDEZ
Casie has been on staff with us since 2020 in our accounting department. In the last year she has graciously taken on an administrative role for The Most Excellent Way, including helping launch this very special ministry. We are blessed to have her, her husband Mario, and her kids Colin and Cadence as part of our Morning Star family!
WEEKLY ATTENDANCE: We have seen a steady increase in our attendance over the last year, both in-person and online. Our average for the year is 1,193 people (including kids!) on a Sunday morning!
In January we are starting an intentional disciple-making class for parents of all ages on how to disciple their children. Parents (married and single), will gain confidence and encouragement and learn practical ways to lead their kids to pursue a Jesus-first life!
Also, later this spring, be watching for our brand new Next Steps class that will provide essential tools to pursue purposeful discipleship here at Morning Star.
We are also launching our block party initiative to help us all get to know our neighbors better at parties this summer. We have lots of planning and equipping to do this winter and spring to be ready. Along with this outreach in our own neighborhoods, we’ll be engaging more actively in overseas missions. A team of high school students will be heading to Latvia this summer to partner with our missionary Petr Samoylich! In addition, we are actively pursuing a fruitful missions experience next fall through Frontier Missions.
NEW MINISTRY: BIBLICAL COUNSELING
After two full years of prayer, research, and training, we will be launching our own Biblical Counseling ministry on February 1. This means members of the Morning Star family (and eventually the greater community) will be able to experience the benefit of focused, godly, biblical counseling. We believe, in a deeper way, we’ll see God’s healing touch in the lives of broken people through the transformational power of His Word. We will have limited availability as we launch, and are preparing for growth as more people are trained and released into this ministry.
How you can be praying for 2023
FOR OUR MINISTRIES: Pray that our ministries will thrive, whether brand new or well-seasoned. Pray for the leaders and volunteers that faithfully serve and the people that will learn to pursue a Jesus-first life in 2023.
FOR OUR WORLD: We are expanding our focus on missions in 2023. Pray for our global and local partners as well as those who have yet to meet Jesus. Pray for our mission teams that will be sent out and pray for revival in our world!
FOR OUR BUDGET: It’s a big responsibility to be good stewards of a large organization. Please pray for our executive team and board of elders as they plan our budget for the next year. If you’re already a regular giver, would you prayerfully consider increasing your giving to help us reach our financial goals in the midst of rising costs?