What is the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer?
A thermometer tells you the temperature.
A thermostat moves it.
God has not called Freshwater to reflect the spiritual temperature of our community. He commissions us to change it and we are going to have to put on the full armor of God in order to do this. Freshwater isn’t just a church, we are a movement. I believe that God has given us a fresh vision to “Raise the spiritual climate of our community.” We want to move the spiritual needle in eight significant areas. This is where we envision Freshwater moving the needle.
1. Lower the divorce rate by 5% in five years.
Here are some current statistics:
61% of adults are married
14% of adults are widowed/divorced
27% of married couples have a child from someone other than who they are currently married to.
Roughly half of the households in our community are comprised of some sort of non-traditional family unit. Freshwater is a safe place whether you are married, single, single again, or have a blended family. We know that if we can help families, we can lower divorce and if we help lower the number of divorces then we are lowing the amount of pain people feel because divorce hurts. It hurts moms and dads, kids and friends. We see ourselves as a church that helps families no matter what their family structure looks like. Let’s fight for this and move the divorce needle down and the joy needle up.
2. Lower personal debt by 50% in five years.
Debt is one of the biggest causes of conflict in marriage and for individuals. Here are some statistics for you on today’s average debt:
$ 15,675.00 average credit card debt
$ 172,341 average mortgage debt
$ 27,865 average auto loan debt
$ 48,591 average student loan debt
The average person/family spends $6,658 every year on interest or 9% of their income.
Household income has grown by 26% in the past 12 years, but the cost of living has gone up 29% in that time period. (https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/, accessed 11/11/16)
If we can help people lower their debt it will help lighten their burden. Living with a ton of debt causes many emotional, physical, and spiritual problems. When we finished college I was paying on 4 student loans and making a house payment on a shoestring income. It was tough. Now I have kids and kids are expensive. Just think how much better your life would be if your debt load was cut in half? It would be awesome, so let’s fight for this and move the debt needle down.
3. Positively impact and assist over 300 people struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges. Last year in Carver county alone there were 633 reported suicide attempts. This breaks my heart. Substance abuse and mental health issues are often talked about behind closed doors. Not anymore. Freshwater is a hospital for sinners not a hotel for saints, we want to move the mental health needle and help people so they will feel healthier and more joyful. This is worth fighting for.
4. See 1,000 people make the decision to follow Christ in the next five years.
In the last year we know of about 150 people who made first time decisions to follow Christ through Freshwater. I see a church that reaches even more people for the glory of God. Salvations move the needle and in order to see them we need to be an open and inviting church. We need to talk about Jesus with others to move the salvation needle.
5. See 80% of Freshwater people connected with others in a group.
Groups provide accountability and care. This will move the needle because when you are in a healthy group you can be yourself and help others to do the same.
6. Plant five new churches in five years.
We want to see 5 new sister churches planted throughout the metro area. I’m not talking about necessarily adding more campuses, I’m talking about launching church planters out to plant churches.
7. Celebrate with over 2,000 people at all of our worship services in five years.
If we help lower the divorce rate, help lower personal debt, help people struggling with mental health issues and addictions, and if we share Jesus, our church will grow. If everyone takes responsibility to invite at least one other person and help them connect with Christ, Freshwater will grow. Let’s move the growth needle by helping people connect with Christ and a healthy church.
8. Build and move into a new facility within five years that meets our needs and leverages our existing facilities. As this vision comes to reality, our current facilities are not going to be enough. The initial vision includes turning the St. Boni campus over to the Freshwater Learning Center so they can expand. The vision also includes leveraging the Waconia campus to be used even more for children, students, and community outreach so they can expand. Then we will build one new facility for weekend services and offices that will help lower our operating costs and streamline our staff. We don’t have a location yet or a site plan, just a dream to help transform lives.
So what can you do now? First, you can pray. Pray that God will use Freshwater to raise the spiritual climate of the community. Pray with passion and transparency. Second, if you are struggling in any of the areas mentioned, reach out for help. We have many resources to help you or someone you love but can’t help unless we know. It’s time to get real and be transparent. Trust me, you are not the only one who has some rough areas. Reach out for help, it’s worth it. Third, take a step of faith and help someone you know who is struggling. Help another married couple or a friend who went through a painful divorce or is on the verge of one. Walk alongside a friend who is battling an addiction or mental health challenge, just do something. Fourth, Pray that God will provide our next location and the finances to build it. We do not have a location yet, but we do believe God will provide the right place for us at the right time.
This is a God-sized, needle-moving, worthy-of-fighting-for vision. We don’t have all the specifics dialed in yet, but we do have a vision and a direction. I believe that this is what we are called to do and it’s going to take an army of committed believers to get the job done. We want to build better lives, we want to plant life, we want to reach people for Christ, connect them with other Christians, help the growing to serve others and honor God with their life. We want to see this happen in our time and I believe with all of my heart that we can and we will. Let’s do this!