Pastor Mary Beth’s Musings: October 19, 2017

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Mary Beth Hardesty-CrouchWe’re Debt Free!

If you’ve ever listened to Dave Ramsey’s radio call-in show, you know that a staple of his show is making time for listeners to tell a story, sometimes in person at Dave’s studio in Memphis, sometimes over the phone, of the journey of getting rid of debt. Every story has similar elements: coming to an awakening about being “sick and tired” of debt, making a decision to “live like no one else,” discipline, budgets, simplifying and finally celebrating with a “debt-free scream” while Dave and his crew cheer them on. It’s an exciting moment that marks a new beginning full of possibility and hope.

I seriously considered what it might be like for us as a church to celebrate with a “debt-free scream” as we closed on the sale of some of our land last week. The majority of the proceeds from the sale went to the Texas Methodist Foundation to pay off the balance on our mortgage which means:


This is, indeed a new beginning, full of possibility and hope as we look to a future where we no longer carry the burden of a 30-year mortgage and long-term debt. We are now working on the development of a 2018 (and beyond) Ministry Action Plan that will specify WHAT Vista Ridge UMC will do to “build life-giving relationships with God, with each other and with our community.”

The remainder of the amount paid by the buyer (almost $295,000) is now in our possession and there are restrictions on how those funds may be used. According to the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church:

“The principal proceeds of a sale of any … property shall not be used for the current budget or operating expense of a local church. Provided that provisions are made for the current and future missional needs of the congregation and the current and future housing needs of a pastor, the principal may be used for capital improvements beyond the regular operating budget when written approval is granted by the district superintendent and pastor.“ (Paragraph 2543)

Thus it is vitally important that we ALL prayerfully consider what each one of us will do to financially support our WHY of Building Life-Giving Relationships and return an Estimate of Giving for 2018. Those estimates will enable us to determine just how much of our Ministry Action Plan can actually be put into action in 2018.

Watch for a special edition of The Vista later this week that will celebrate the marvelous ways God has worked through your financial gifts in 2017. These are exciting, blessed times at Vista Ridge UMC. Please join me in praying for wisdom for all of us to follow God into the future God has for us!

Glory to God!
Pastor Mary Beth