A Bountiful Harvest

The spirit of thankfulness and giving is all kinds of rampant this season.  In a good way.  No.  In a great way. 

Back in August, our church voted very heavily in favor of proceeding with plans to fund and construct a Family Life Center.  Not a "new" one, just one.  Period.  Since opening the doors to our church in 2005, the people have come.  Very Field of Dreams like...in an awesome-for-God's-kingdom way.  I wholeheartedly believe God led our church to relocate onto this very piece of 155-acre property in the middle of "nowhere", because He knew that in just a few short years, it would be at the center of one of the fastest growing tracts of land in Georgia.  These things don't just happen.  (Unless prayer is involved, and there is a master plan in effect.)

This particular tract of land surrounding our church is comprised mostly of a middle-class, young married couples with young families demographic.  This tract of land is our mission field.  Our church is very serious and committed to reaching lost souls, and what better place to start than on the boundaries of our property? 

With that in mind, this Family Life Center will provide classroom space, a gymnasium for expansion of our Upward sports program and the provisions for new recreational ministry opportunities, and a multi-purpose room that will allow for receptions (wedding or otherwise) and youth worship services. 

Just a word on the youth (or "students" as our church refers to them) - they rock.  Completely.  I can't tell you how inspiring and humbling it is to see so many middle and high school students devoting themselves so wholeheartedly to their faith through support from our church members and staff and through such strong relationships with their faith family of peers. 

With all that being said, buildings aren't cheap.  So a capital funds committee was formed, and plans began brewing.  The first step was a Harvest offering that would kick-start the spring fund-raising campaign.  It took place today, November 20th, a day when each church member and attender was asked to bring forth an offering above and beyond their regular tithe for the purpose of showing our unity and vision for the future of the church.

We had a one-day goal of $100,000 and a through-the-end-of-the-year goal of $250,000.  The church has come close to raising $100,000 in a single day before, but we were hoping to make it happen this time.

As the chairman of the capital funds committee got up to speak at the church-wide Thanksgiving dinner (which was so awesome, by the way), he talked about the amount of money that our kids raised.  Each child was given a "piggy-bank" to collect their change over the past month or so. 

This morning during each service, the preschool and children's Sunday School classes paraded in to lay their buckets at the front of the church.  These kids and their pennies brought forth $1098.   He then said, "We didn't meet the goal of $100,000....in fact, we missed it by a pretty large margin."  There was a pause.  And he finished with the news --- the offerings totaled $260,000. 

You know what that is?  

That's God.

On the committee, there was a lot of discussion about how to set the goals.  Should it be low, so we can meet it and feel encouraged?  Should it be high, so we can see God's undeniable glory when the goal is surpassed?

The decision was to do one of each, hence the two goals.  Turns out, God took care of it...either way. 

You see, what we think seems impossible for us, isn't impossible for God.  I think He laughs at the mention of the word "impossible".  And I think he treasures the faith of prayerful people who believe that He can do things that are seemingly impossible.

Throughout the campaign, Ephesians 3:20-21 has been a central theme -
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 
He did.  He did immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.  For that I am most thankful.  God is awesome.

I'm thankful for a showing of unity in our church today.  I'm thankful for the children who were so willing and giving.  I'm thankful for each member of the capital funds campaign.  I'm thankful for our church staff, for the men and women who served dinner tonight with such cheerful spirits, for good news, and for The Good News. 

I feel like meeting the rest-of-the-year goal in a single day is as good as a divine endorsement.

My prayers tonight have changed - from "Lord, please let us come together to meet this goal" to "Thank you, Lord, for showing us what You can do through us.  Help us to be good stewards of the provisions you have given to our church.   Please, help us remain united in our vision - to be the Harvest workers."

Buildings are just buildings - it's what happens inside, around, near, and because of these buildings that matters.  The fact that lives will be forever changed.  That is why we're building a Family Life Center.  For God's glory.

And all God's people said...



Debbie said...

WOW!!! That is an awesome story of praise, Jennie. Even more, it's the story of a church with a focus clearly after God's own heart. Some day, you are going to look up and see me there. Don't worry. You can pretend you don't know me. I want to (scratch that... need to) see that light and feel that Spirit.

You are so blessed!

Sharon said...

Oh my! I am doing some *spiritual jazz hands* out here in California! That is, quite literally, AWESOME!!

I love how the Lord's Spirit is alive and well and thriving in your church! May He continue to reach the hearts of His people, and in doing so, spur them to reach out into the surrounding "mission field" He has called them to.


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