Since its humble beginnings in 1993 when a small group of believers joined together to study God’s Word and pray, the people of CF have rallied around this vision and have seen God move in amazing ways. And together as we look forward to the future, there is no doubt that the people of Community Fellowship stand poised to write a new chapter in its history which will influence many generations to come: This is Chapter 3.
According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), the number of Americans who describe themselves as Christian has dropped from 86% to 76% since 1990. At the same time, the number of people who say they have “no religion” has nearly doubled to more than 15%. The number who call themselves “atheist” or “agnostic” has quadrupled.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released their “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.” The survey reports that more than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion, or no religion at all. Among Americans ages 18-29, one in four say they are not affiliated with any religion.
Statics show that 80% of the population does not attend church regularly. The changing religious landscape also suggests a unique zeal by some religions to attract and convert people to their faith and in so doing influence culture.
Centers of worship and learning for other religions have increased. In DuPage County alone there are currently six mosques and several Hindu temples.
More people are turning to Christ today than at any time in history, more than 82,000 a day, according to recent surveys.
However, only 6,000 are in Western Europe and North America combined.
There are also significant needs in our community. In DuPage County 74,040 of residents live in poverty, and 28,384 live in extreme poverty. 2012 data suggested that 9.1% (83,830) of people in DuPage County did not always know where they would find their next meal. In addition there are over 2000 divorces annually and over 44,000 are single parent households. DuPage Pads reported that last year they provided 37,801 nights of shelter along with meals, support, coaching and other services to the homeless. Immigrants and refugees are a growing segment of the population.
The spiritual and social challenges are great. Local and global opportunities abound to reach our community and the nations with the compassion of Christ.
The pastor and elders have been led to initiate a capital fund campaign to eliminate the existing $2.32 million debt and begin the next season free from its weight and influence. Not only would the elimination of this debt serve as a powerful testament to the church’s ongoing commitment to managing its resources in a biblical and responsible way, but it would also free up over $258 thousand annually in principal and interest payments.
The next step for Community Fellowship
Welcoming the next pastor with the gift of an eventual ‘clean financial slate’ and an opportunity to lead CF into the future without the weight of lingering debt will result in an invigorated and renewed commitment to our vision and mission. $258 thousand can be reallocated annually to focus on developing new ministries and expanding current ministries
with a commitment to impact evangelism, growth and community outreach.
BUILDING AND MINISTRY EXPANSION
When the level of financial commitments is reached to enable the full elimination of debt, the remaining dollars
can be directed to an initial expansion of ministry space. A build out on and below our deck will allow much needed space for welcoming visitors, adult classrooms and community service. This is again in keeping with our mission and will provide additional ministry space while a more robust expansion plan is developed in concert with an overall long-range ministry strategy.