This past Sunday was so encouraging for us as a church family and followers of Jesus. As I related in the message, I felt so inadequate as a leader to effectively communicate ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE, while communicating the PRACTICALS of where we are (financials, fundraising, budgets, construction process), and inviting you, as Northstar members into a new fundraising campaign for the next 18 months. MOST IMPORTANTLY, wanted to remind us that we are to be rooted in the love of Jesus.
Let me break these down:
1. WHAT GOD HAS DONE.
If you weren’t present Sunday, I hope you’ll listen to the podcast. I urge you to. I can’t remember a time, as your pastor, that I have specifically requested you to “make up for missing” by listening to a podcast. I am asking you now.
What God has done through you and our church family is incredible. He truly has provided above and beyond what we could imagine. When we launched the Immeasurably More campaign in October 2015, we were told by our fundraising company (before we released them) that we could not expect to raise more than $1 million. We had only received $540,000 in pledges! We were embarking on a project estimated to cost $5 million (grown to $6 as we adjusted for growth in children’s areas). It didn’t seem possible.
And yet, three years later, we celebrate that God has provided $3.3 million through our church family!!!! We have almost $2.8 million in the bank! And dirt will begin to move on the land this month! God has done all this through a church that ministers strategically to young adults.
2. THE PRACTICALS
If you’ve never heard the expression “paint the pig,” you may have heard “eat the grasshoppers first?” No? Neither? 😉 Basically, both expressions refer to tackling something difficult right up front. You can’t paint a pig and expect it to look better than what it is. It’s always a pig.
It’s sometimes the same when talking with people about the practicals behind “ministry.” We’d all LOVE to think that ministry is a conglomeration of beautiful words like organic, relevant, transformative, authentic, connected, spontaneous, etc. At times it is. However, just like our bodies need a skeleton to provide structure and strength, so too does ministry require organization, planning, budgets, personnel, training, schedules, and buildings.
Our “practical” situation is simple. We have known that we cannot remain at the middle school indefinitely. (We’ve tried! It’s been 15 years so far!) When a church grows and develops as Northstar has, it becomes difficult to build for a congregation of our size. It would have been nice to have had a facility to fit 100-150 and then to add on, expand, develop, and move incrementally. We are attempting to build for a church that has been growing (and still is!) for the past 15 years.
As I shared Sunday, it’s hard to be “spiritual” when the “practical” overwhelms you. The real facts are:
A. It’s astonishing that God has ALREADY provided over $3 million for us.
B. We still have $3 million to raise for a debt-free move-in (our hope and prayer!).
3. A NEW (“REFRESHED”) CAMPAIGN: ROOTED
As site development begins and soon after, construction, we are 1/2 the way to completely funding the new ministry center! Sunday launched a refreshed campaign – Immeasurably More: Rooted– designed to raise the remainder of needed monies in just 18 months. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? We remind ourselves that God is able to do “immeasurably more,” right?!
This next phase of the campaign – like the first phase – is “rooted” in our relationship with Jesus.
“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Only as we remind ourselves of His great love for us and in return, renew our affections for Him, will be able to move forward. As I shared on Sunday, we don’t want money. We want our membership in wholehearted pursuit of a love relationship with Jesus Christ. When we all are experiencing and knowing and confident of God’s love for us and are loving Him in return, He works through us to provide and guide us – both personally and corporately.
We are confident that God will bless as we seek to love Him with all our hearts. THAT is the counterpoint of our “campaign.” It’s not about money but affection. Love for God will result in the glad release of what God provides for us!
And so I asked each of you to pray about what God would have you give to the campaign. Literally. Pray with your spouse or a group of friends. Ask the Lord to place a number in your head to give over the next 18 months. You may be surprised or even overwhelmed by what He reveals. If it’s beyond your ability… it may genuinely be from the Lord. He may want to bless you above and beyond so that you can give above and beyond. But please remember, your giving is rooted in your relationship with Jesus. Don’t give apart from gratitude.
We passed out commitment cards for you to pray over during November. We will receive those cards back on the last Sunday of this month (Nov 25). If you didn’t get one, you can fill out an online commitment here. We will also have them available each Sunday at the IM table.
GOD IS ABLE. LET’S BE ROOTED.
Ephesians 3:17-21 has spoken to us so deeply for this campaign. All that we do and are flows from our relationship with Jesus. We need Him so desperately in our lives and world. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past Sunday to refresh your mind in your love relationship with Him.
Please be in prayer for our church in these humbling, exciting and challenging days. We will be laying a literal foundation soon on the land at Prices Fork, but let’s remember that our spiritual foundation – our cornerstone – is a love relationship with Jesus Christ! He is able. Let’s be rooted in Him.