In October we began an initiative as a church called That We May. You can read about the vision behind the initiative here. My purpose today is not to recount the why behind the what of That We May, but to update you on our progress as well as to encourage you with ways I see God at work in our midst.
Our goal for the initiative was to raise $150,000 to fund our move into our future church facility (9461 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Dallas, TX 75243).
As a church we sought to raise the money over 3 big giving days over the last 3 months.
On Giving Day 1 (October 30) we raised $30,000. This was an amazing start to That We May.
On Giving Day 2 (December 4) we raised an additional $58,000. Again this is an incredible amount of money. While we still had a long way to go, so many from our community were generously sowing into That We May.
21 Days of Prayer (December 18-January 8)- After two good giving days, our total raised was $88,000. Again, really excited about the progress, but realizing we still needed to raise an additional $62,000 to reach our goal was a bit daunting. We decided to try and recruit 62 people to pray for the 21 days between December 8 and January 8 for the remaining $62,000. Our theme verse for the season of prayer was Philippians 4.19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - That God, out of His riches in glory, would supply the remaining need.
It was very encouraging to see 70 people from our community sign up to pray with us daily in this time.
During the 21 days of prayer, we saw an additional $77,000 come in to bring our total to approximately $165,000! I have been overwhelmed at seeing the generosity of God through the people of God in response to prayer.
Giving Day 3 (January 8) The next part of the journey that has unfolded has been equally amazing. As I begin to let our staff, prayer team and other lay leaders in our church know of God's provision and that we had reached our target amount of $150,000, and that we still had one giving day to go- I was met time and again with the same response- "You are not going to cancel the last giving day are you?"
When I would why, their response over and over was, "There is more that God has called me to give into this!" When the first person said that, someone I know has the gift of giving, I dismissed it as just them. But time and again, as I shared updates on our progress, I got the same feedback- "We still want to give into this!" "We believe God has even more in store than what we originally planned!"
Thus we had our 3rd giving day on January the 8th and are excited to see what God does through that.
By the responses of those requesting the 3rd giving day, I have been both blown away, and reminded of 2 Corinthians 8.1-5:
1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
In this section of Scripture, the Apostle Paul, one of the early leaders in the church is raising money on behalf of poor Christians in Jerusalem. He is writing to the church in a city called Corinth and referencing another church from Macedonia.
In this section of the letter he points out the generosity of the Macedonian church to give- according to their means, and even beyond their means- not because they were under compulsion or were manipulated, but that they gave sacrificially out of their own desire to be a part of this work of God. The Macedonians were even described as begging the apostles for the opportunity to give into this work. This came out of deeply giving themselves to the Lord and then responding to God's leadership and call for them to give into the offering.
I have seen these verses lived out in our community in ways that we will long remember. Many have given according to their means, and many given beyond their means- not because they felt like they had to, but out of a deep generosity and a hunger that we may be a part of what God is doing in our city.
I know many have given to something like this for the first time in their lives during the last few months. That is so exciting! And I know many have given in ways that will bring them to sacrifice. We are so humbled and honored by the example you are setting. In a world that calls us to focus on building our own kingdoms and securing our own futures, you have been witnesses of Jesus's Kingdom in quite radical ways.
Toward the Future:
One email I received during the initiative said, "God's program done by God's will not lack God's provision!" As we look to the future, there is a holy sense of anticipation of what God's "program" will be through our new facility and through our community as we have grown together during this process.
Our why behind the what of That We May was that we may be a part of seeing Jesus lifted high in our own hearts, in our city and in the nations of the world. I am praying this morning that every dollar given and every prayer prayed would be multiplied many times over and would result in many standing in awe of the goodness, generosity and kindness of King Jesus- that the Lamb would receive the reward of His sufferings!
In awe with you,
If you would still like to give towards That We May, you can head here!