Two Opportunities to Give (Newsletter 11.28.18)

Dear Church Family,

Yesterday (11/27) was Giving Tuesday. If you’re like me, you probably received several forms of communication asking you to give in support of different organizations. The last month of the year is full of opportunities to give. The tradition of giving gifts during the Christmas season reminds us of the greatest gift ever to be given—the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Father gave His only Son in order to accomplish that salvation. Ultimately, we give because He gave. And no matter how much we give, we will never come close to what He has given us.

Before I go any further, let me express my thanks to God for your faithfulness to give. So many of you give generously and sacrificially. As one who is compensated by this church, thank you for freeing me up to spend time devoting myself to prayer and the ministry of the Word. The privilege of serving you in this way is changing my life for the good and I pray it is changing yours. As one who gives to this church, I believe that the primary way God has designed to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth is through the local church. I pray God will continue to use our church and tens of thousands more like it to accomplish this task. So, with thankfulness in my heart for what you have already given, I would like to draw your attention to two ways you might give during through the end of the year.

First is the the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which is received by our International Mission Board (IMB). This offering is used entirely to support and sustain missionaries working to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This offering contributes around half of the IMB’s total budget. As of September, there were 3,667 personnel on the field. As of June, there were 811 people groups engaged by these personnel with around 3,200 unreached people groups still left to be engaged. The goal of the IMB is to facilitate missionaries being sent by local church in the US to the nations with the Gospel. The IMB equips these missionaries to plant more local churches that will continue the work of the Great Commission where they are.

Second, as we look to our own finances, our church is currently in the red. We have rarely faced this situation in recent memory because of God’s kindness to provide for us through the giving of our members. However, we also recognize there are seasons in which we have abundance and those in which we have need. This year happens to be a season of need.

Now, as a way to stir you up by way of encouragement, though I am not aware of who gives what on a yearly basis, I have been made aware of a few recent contributions members have made beyond their regular offering. Without any prompting but from the Lord, these members have seen our church’s current need and taken it upon themselves to give to help meet that need. Honestly, thinking about their generosity brings tears to my eyes because of what their giving says about their hearts and God’s work in them. Brothers and sisters, their giving sounds a lot like the early church in Acts 2:45 where “they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Praise God for their eagerness to give!

So then, let me encourage you to pray about what you might give toward one or both of these opportunities. Please know, it isn’t ultimately about the amount you give. Some are able to give more and some are able to give less. What matters is the joy we have in giving as we express our thankfulness to God and our love for His people. When we give in faith, God receives our gift—regardless of its size—as worship. I close with the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Gentry