These are exciting times at Grace!
These are exciting times at Grace! Just before Thanksgiving, in case you weren’t aware, we received final approval from the city to begin the full construction of the Forest Family Ministry Center on our south parking lot. If you go over to the south parking lot, you’ll see some heavy duty equipment. Don’t climb up on it; that’s for use in the coming weeks as they begin construction. This culminates years of prayer, of sacrificial giving, of planning, and a lot of waiting — some patient and impatient on our part in the last few weeks. We are excited about these plans that are now becoming reality.
We anticipate the completion of the Ministry Center in the middle of next fall, and I want to thank you as a church body for helping to make that happen. The beginning of that construction, though, reminds us of the larger purpose or vision of our Reaching Beyond facilities vision. The Ministry Center is just a part of that. After that first phase, we intend to renovate the Worship Center in a year or year and a half from now.
And I have some really exciting news to share with you regarding the finances of Reaching Beyond. To date, toward the total campaign goal of about $11 million, we have almost $9 million committed, including around $2.2 million that’s been given or committed since July of this year. I’m pleased to report, as well, that our staff and elders have either already given or committed around $350,000 toward that.
The monies that have been given have come from places like $3.5 million from Worthington Christian Schools as part of our facility agreement, $1.2 million from the Barnhard farm sale, $2.1 million given by you generously earlier this year, and $2.2 million that’s been committed or given earlier this year. That is visionary leadership that you are showing and I thank God for that!
Million Dollars from WCS
Million Dollars from the Barnhard Property
Million Dollars from Your Giving
Million Dollars from Commitments & Gifts To-Date
So, if you’re a math major, that means there’s about $2 million left to raise. In early October, two months ago, we asked you to help us surpass our goal with a personal commitment over the next three years. It can be a large one-time investment, such as an asset that you have. It can be a pattern of monthly contribution. It can be, like for most of us, some annual financial gifts over the next three years. When we spread that out, this amounts to about $700,000 to raise each year. So the question for you and for me is how can we personally play a role in Reaching Beyond?
Million Dollars Left to Raise for Reaching Beyond
You might remember, toward the beginning of this year, on one single day in the largest offering given to Grace Polaris Church on one Sunday, $1,000,000 was given. In light of the fact that over 600 families gave toward that, we think that reaching the finish line over the course of three years is more than doable. That God is able and that He can use us. But it’s going to take the participation of all of us to do so, over and above, our regular giving to Grace. What might that look like?
Above & Beyond
For some people here, it might mean the gift of an asset. Property, business, or even some funds you might have in the stock market. In case you haven’t been paying attention, if you have money invested, it’s done very well in recent months. Maybe God would lead you to give some of that toward our Reaching Beyond vision. For many people it will involve setting aside some money over the course of the next three years. Maybe $1,000 or $2,000 or $5,000 each year. For some who are young or maybe on a fixed income, it’s finding $50 each month that God might allow you to give. All of us give according to what we’re able to do, and our challenge is to think beyond what’s just easily attainable, to ask God to stretch us, and then to pursue this together.
Making Your Commitment
Commitment cards are available to you to make your commitment by the end of 2017. If you didn’t receive one back in October, or if you don’t know where that is, or if you haven’t turned it in, I urge you to use one of those. Our request, our invitation, is that you would ask God, “What would you have me do, oh Lord?” And then, by December 31 or even before, that you would submit those to the church so that we can see what kind of commitment we would make as a church family. Again, the ask is, over the next three years, what kind of commitment would you make beginning in 2018?
If you’re able to make a special year-end gift in 2017, let me encourage you to consider two options. One would be our Christmas Eve Offering, which we’ll be highlighting soon. The other is to give toward ongoing ministry here at Grace, what we call Gifts & Offerings. At least in part because of Reaching Beyond and the grand generosity that’s being shown, giving has been somewhat lower in 2017. Longer term, that creates some challenges. It stifles, in some ways, our ministry locally and globally. So let me thank you in advance for considering a special gift toward Gifts & Offerings here in December. Every gift counts, whatever the size.
Whatever you give, whatever you commit, we remember that it all belongs to the Lord, that we are each stewards before Him. To the degree that we embrace His ownership, and our management of it, God is honored. God actually tells us that our generous giving results in our joy. And so, in advance, I say thank you for showing trust in Him and for your vision through your finances yet this month.
As you and I do that together, Reaching Beyond becomes a reality. Praise God for His work in us!