The other day I was sitting with someone at our Monday night Church in a Diner and he said to me, “I haven’t been in church for forty years, but I really like what’s going on here.” Wow! Thank you, God! This middle-aged man was invited by a neighbor who is also new to SCC and has been attending Church in a Diner. One new person invited another new person. This made my night. Another evening I sat with a young man in my office who wanted to share some good news with me. His wife had been praying for him for many years. He had just had a “God experience” and was ready to commit his life to Christ. Whoa! That news made my month! Then I got a call from someone who has attended our church somewhat sporadically. He was an older man who was experiencing some pretty significant bumps in life. He didn’t see much need for Jesus before these bumps, but when the turbulence hit, he was looking for anything solid to hang on to. He reached out to Jesus and found a firm foundation. Amazing! Thank you, God!
People are finding Sycamore Creek Church a place where they encounter the compassion of God and it changes their lives. They come curious about God because of something creative we’re doing, and they meet Jesus in the life of our community together.
I want you to know that your giving makes possible environments where people encounter God. Your giving this year has had a significant impact:
- We received $3800 in our Christmas Eve offering for Nicaragua and $800 in our alternative gift fair. That’s $4600 to put a dent of God’s compassion in Nicaragua through our medical missions!
- Our capital campaign has received $268,993 in two years. We’ve paid off the mortgage on the parsonage, finished the basement, set aside 10% for a missions tithe, and saved the rest for a building. We’re on pace for our total pledged amount of $366,137!
- We’ve expanded our worship opportunities by offering a Monday night Church in a Diner at Grumpy’s Diner that is averaging about fifty to sixty people a night, most of them new to SCC!
- Since October we’ve seen total attendance growth across both venues in the 30% range! This growth has spilled over into Sunday morning as well. Five of the last six months have seen growth on Sunday morning! We are reaching new people and inviting them into the adventure of following Jesus.
While there is much good news to celebrate, there are some significant obstacles still before us in 2013. While attendance in the second half of the year is up, giving has gone down. We received $287,554 in 2011 and $245,789 in 2012, a 14% decrease, and we are projecting receiving $228,000 in 2013. This has forced us to act creatively with less money. In this context ideas like Church in a Diner were born. It isn’t impossible to reach new people with less money as our attendance figures show. I give thanks to God for your continued generosity. Would you consider taking a step of further generosity in 2013?
- If you give but not regularly, would you consider giving a regular weekly/monthly amount?
- If you give regularly but you’re not tithing (10%), is God calling you to step up to tithing?
- If you tithe, is God calling you to radical generosity by giving 15-20% or more or by giving to a designated special giving (DSG) item listed on the back of this letter?
Thank you for following Jesus with everything you’ve got, money included. Together we’ll ignite authentic life in Christ in more and more people and fan it into an all consuming flame!
P.S. The best way I know how to do any of the three suggestions above is to automate the process either through EFT or setting up a regular check to be mailed through your online banking. Then you give faithfully even when you can’t always make it to worship. Included is an EFT form for your convenience.
Designated Special Giving (DSG)
Below are listed various opportunities to touch people’s lives. A particular opportunity just might catch hold of your heart, imagination, or spirit, and God won’t let it get out of your mind. Would you prayerfully look over the list below and consider whether God is calling you to give to one of these DSG opportunities? DSG is an above-and-beyond giving opportunity, above and beyond other commitments you’ve made to the church such as your annual Commitment Sunday pledge, your 20 Years Deep Capital Campaign pledge, or your commitment to Dr. Mir in Nicaragua. If you can’t give the total amount listed, don’t feel like you can’t contribute. Perhaps God will speak to five other people too, and their total giving meets the need or opportunity. Take some time to consider DSG alongside your current giving, and watch what God will do in the coming weeks and months!
- Main Projection Screen ($1,400 – $981 already given) – Help communicate the gospel effectively and excellently. Our current screen is showing significant age.
- Youth Ministry Intern ($5000) – We’d like to hire a college student as a year-round youth intern to help our youth go deeper in God’s grace.
- Nursery Gates ($100) – Keeps kids safe and helps parents worship with peace of mind. Makes our current nursery setup easier.
- Floor Mats for the Nursery ($40) – Makes a clean soft place for kids to play.
- Leadership Training ($300) – Conferences, workshops and coaching help our paid and unpaid staff continue to improve their craft and reach new people for Christ.
- Signage ($100 to $2000) – We’re working on a new office sign, street signs, signs going into Lansing Christian School, and signs inside LCS that show our new logo and improve visibility. Signs create and communicate our identity to the community.
- Percussion Shaker ($30) – Adds more variety to the sound of our music and creates an environment where people can go deeper in God’s grace through worship music.
- Guitar ($1000) – The guitar the church owns has significant wear and tear over the years. A new guitar would add excellence to the music of our church which creates an environment for people to encounter God.
- Nicaragua Meds ($2000) – We send medical teams to Nicaragua twice a year to share God’s compassion. A huge expense that pays significant dividends in health is medicine. Many maladies can be simply treated with the appropriate meds.
- Coffee Shop Appreciation Gift Cards ($5) – A small gift card to a coffee shop can go a long way in showing appreciation to and retaining volunteers.
- Member Care Training ($8000) – We are exploring bringing in John Savage several times over the next year. Savage is a consultant we have worked with before who specializes in member care through training in listening skills. This would help us expand our capacity for showing compassion within our community and help retain people when they experience bumps in life and the church.
If you would like to give to one or more of these Designated Special Giving opportunities, simply drop a check in the offering bag and write “DSG” and the name of the DSG (i.e. “DSG: New Screen”).
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