By the end of this year, I will have served as pastor at St. Luke for 18 years. For 20 years, (preceding my arrival) there have been conversations and plans to build a new sanctuary! 15 years ago, we decided to build the MPR (Multi-Purpose Room) first, for two reasons: at the time we couldn't raise the needed funds to build a sanctuary and there was a great need for what the MPR would offer. By this December, 12 years after its completion, because of great generosity, we will have the MPR paid off and be able to go forward with the next big need in our ministry.
What is the next great need in our ministry? Two and a half years ago we surveyed the congregation asking that question. The two overwhelming and consistent responses were: 1) a new, larger sanctuary and 2) an Associate Pastor. We tried to pursue the Associate Pastor, but to no avail, so we developed an alternative strategy to properly staff our ministry, and that has been working thus far. A year ago, knowing we would soon be paying off our mortgage and people were asking, now what?, we developed a Vision Team to explore what the greatest need is for the future development of our ministry. After exploring all of the needs (and there are many), the Vision Team came to the same conclusion that the survey suggested previously: a new, larger sanctuary is the next great need. When a congregation is worshipping at 80% of its capacity (which many of our worship services are) then people, especially visitors are being turned away or deterred from coming.
The Vision Team determined that the project needs to focus on three things: the sanctuary, narthex and parking. The new sanctuary will facilitate more seating and will accommodate both traditional and contemporary worship, Whitworth and other visiting music groups, and be a design that is attractive on our highly visible site.