It’s hard to believe, but Pumpkin Patch is over and November is upon us. And if November is upon us, that means it’s Stewardship season.  This Sunday the 2023 Stewardship cards will be available for pickup at the church, and during the next week you will begin to see them in your mail.  What does Stewardship mean to me? What should Stewardship mean to you?  These are questions that have perplexed churches since the first church budget was ever proposed.   It is not a subject that many people like to deal with since money and budgets are not “proper” topics for church members to discuss.  We believe that God will provide.

As you begin to give serious thought to your pledge for next year, I thought it was worth doing a bit of a review of 2022.

It would be an understatement to say that this has been a significant season of transition and change for Cason.   New appointments often lead to change, but the truth is Cason has been in transition for several years.  As I said in my State of the Church report to Charge Conference, Going from an internally focused church to a mission focused church is not easy.  It requires replacing our preferences with God’s purpose. It requires that we replace “how we’ve always done it” with “how God wants it done.”  In short, it requires change.  And people don’t like change.  Change requires that we step into the unknown, into the uncomfortable.  And being uncomfortable is challenging.

 I recognize that the evolution of the church and its ministries can be difficult for some long-time members to connect with, but I believe that the changes that have been happening have strengthened and reinvigorated the church.   I also believe this transformation is preparing us for the new ways in which God will use Cason for His purposes in the future.

That being said, 2022 has been a year of significant successes.  For the first time in over a decade, Cason has seen real growth in its Children’s Ministry.  Yes, we have had kids on our campus for special events and VBS, but we never had a true ongoing program for children.  Due to the hard work of many, especially Emily Popolizio, we have 20-25 kids who participate in several programs during the week.  Cason Kids Care, Cason Chorus, and Bible Buddies are just a few ways in which we are ministering to the children in our community.  Cason Kids Club, run in conjunction with KOP Mentoring, sees us working with almost 20 underprivileged or homeless children.  This program, which runs for 6 weeks, 4 times a year, has been a great success and has made a difference in the lives of those in the program.  And as a result of all of these ministries, we now have 7-8 children attending our 9:15 service.

We also hosted several events this fall that were unqualified successes.  Our Family Fun Fest and Trunk or Treat were both extremely well attended, with over 200 children attending each event, not to mention our yearly pumpkin patch.  The response we got from parents and families was overwhelmingly positive, with the most common comment being “this is such a warm and kind church.  We feel so welcome here.”  We truly showed our community that we are the place “where all will find and know the love of God.”

This year we opened our arms to a ministry that was looking for a home. The Seekers, a group that provides food for the body and food for the soul for 60- 70 young adults who are actively seeking the love of God, were housed at St. Paul’s on Swinton for many years.  Due to changes after the pandemic, the ministry found itself needing a new home and contacted us about becoming part of Cason.  The ministry has flourished here, and has begun integrating with the church from helping unload and sell pumpkins to attending worship and even going with us to our first Worship Outside the Walls event.  More importantly, they are so grateful for a home that loves and supports them.

Not only are our ministries growing quicker than we anticipated, our membership is headed in the same direction.  By then end of 2022, we will have brought 21 people into membership.  Some of these are new to Cason within the past 6 month, but many of them are people you may have seen in worship over the years who have decided that they like the direction the church is headed and want to make a commitment to membership.  COVID-19 played havoc on all churches, but we are beginning to see signs that attendance is trending in the right direction.  While we're still shy of our numbers before the pandemic, many have begun to return to worship and others have begun attending after spending time in our ministries.  Last Sunday, for the first time in almost 6 years, we had over 200 in our worship services, 126 at 10:00 and 79 at our 5:30 service.  Things are looking up.

 However, just as we have had successes, we have had challenges as well.  Our facility is over 50 years old, and as such, maintenance is an ongoing issue.  This year we were forced to replace several of our air conditioners units, including units in the sanctuary as well as one in the education wing.  The ACs cost more than $25,000 each, so having to replace two units in one year is a significant expense. The education wing unit has been replaced, and we are doing our best to “nurse” the sanctuary unit along as long as possible.  However, it will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

While inspecting the education wing unit, we discovered there was a significant mold infestation, which we later learned began in our hallway bathrooms.  This meant that the bathrooms had to be stripped to the studs. At the same time, during an inspection of the parsonage, we discovered another significant mold issue, which led to stripping the bathroom and part of the kitchen to remove the infestation.  As with the hall bathrooms, we are faced with having to replace the parsonage bathroom and kitchen.  The good news is insurance should cover the repairs, but we still have up to $10,000 in deductibles to pay.

While we’re thrilled at the growing ministries and our strategic partners Coco Plum and Caring Kitchen, a consequence of this success is rising utilities.  Not much happened on our campus during the pandemic, and if we’re being honest, for a significant time before 2020.  Now that we are past the pandemic and are seeing an increase in activity on our campus, there is a related increase in our consumption of electricity, water, etc.  This has led to higher than expected utility bills.  I’d classify this as a good problem, but the expense is outside of the projected usage, which affects our bottom line.

At the same time, there is the concern about giving.  If you regularly check our monthly finance reports, you already know that our offerings are less than anticipated year to date. Some of this is attributable to the ebb and flow of attendance due to our “snowbirds”; however, some of it is a trend that all churches are seeing.  With a plethora of causes to give to, many have reduced what they are giving to the church so as to be able to help other organizations that serve an interest they feel strongly about.  

We are blessed to have leveraged our physical facility and have solid strategic partners who rent from us.  Church leaders and the finance committee have been diligent in delaying or forgoing as much spending as possible. While we are confident that we will end the year in the black, the dip in giving is cause for prayerful concern.

As we plan to take our giving to the next level in 2023, I’m looking forward to what is to come. As the Lord continues to transform and mold us, I believe that His blessing on Cason and to the Delray community through Cason has just begun.

Stewardship is a direct reflection on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who called us to a discipleship role whose scope would extend “to the ends of the earth.” An important part of your stewardship is your financial giving to our church. I am asking you, over the next few weeks, to prayerfully consider your financial giving for 2023. Ask what God is calling you to do to support HIS work at Cason. Will you raise your annual giving? Will you decide to pledge again after a period of inactivity? Will you pledge for the first time? 

Your investment in this kingdom work is so valuable!  Every gift matters! As you can see, your tithes and offerings are impacting real people, solving real problems, making the world a little more like heaven. You will shortly be receiving your Stewardship Letter, which will include your pledge card for 2023.  Once we receive all of the cards, we will determine a budget based on the resources available for ministry.  Once that is accomplished will be distributing the narrative budget, which outlines what your commitment will do to impact this community and the world. We have also created a pledge form which you may submit online at We encourage you to use this tool.

 It is important that we receive your responses timely, so we ask that you return your pledges on or before Stewardship Sunday, which is November 20th (As a side note, that is also Thanksgiving Sunday, appropriate as we give thanksgiving to God as we return a portion of what he gave us).  Please prayerfully consider your commitment in 2023 as this will enable us to determine our impact in the community for the upcoming year. Let us do everything we can to support each other and wonderful work Christ is doing.

We’re all in this together!
Pastor David

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