Let’s face it: when a church announces a new giving initiative, it causes some—perhaps many—to pucker up a bit. Maybe even a lot. I heard from three different people last week who showed up for the launch of “Beyond These Walls: Making Disciples That Make History.” All three admitted that they came a bit reluctantly, already determined that they were not going to support this initiative, whatever the money was for. But out of courtesy, these good members felt obliged to at least listen.
By the time they were done, all three were converts. All three said essentially the same thing: “I was wrong. I am so excited about this vision. We are going home to talk about how we can support this big time!”
If you weren’t here for our kickoff, you might be wondering, “What could change minds so dramatically?” I think this: the idea that we as a church would say, “You know what, we have reached a point where we really don’t need more. Don’t need another building. Don’t need another piece of land. Don’t need another great internal initiative. What we need—what we are called to do—is give ourselves away to our community, beyond these walls, as never before. To double down on our investment in serving Gig Harbor as never before.”
Hmmm…. pay off our remaining debt and, with the $600,000 annually that that frees up, give ourselves away to love Gig Harbor as never before. I suppose it is possible to be cynical or unsupportive of such a vision, but from what I’m hearing, it’s not easy. People are excited; they find it to be a noble vision worthy of Jesus. And I am already hearing stories of incredible sacrifice. A woman in her eighties and a young couple, both of whom own pieces of land, are figuring out how to sell them and give part of the proceeds to this initiative. Just like Acts 2!
I can honestly say this: in all the capital campaigns and stewardship campaigns I’ve been a part of over 30 years, I’ve never experienced the almost universal sense of enthusiasm I am sensing for this initiative. I say “almost” because, well, there’s always someone who can pucker up if they want to. But it’s pretty hard to want to!
If you missed last week, I can’t urge you enough to listen to my sermon before this weekend. It is really, really foundational. And then join us this weekend as we discover how Jesus raised up disciples that made history. Because we are about to do the same. And relax; it will be a pucker-free zone.
P.S. Don’t forget to bring your Journey Guides to church. And if you didn’t get one, we’ll have extras waiting for you!