Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stewardship Update - Part 1

Here at Grace Church, we are now well into a new calendar year and I am still giving praise to God for all that He did through the ministry of Grace Church in 2007 and all the fruit He has given us as we strive to effectively fulfill our purpose as a church to “meet people where they are and help move them to where God wants them to be.”

As we entered our new fiscal year back in July we took a step of faith as a congregation with our General Fund budget and increased it 10% over actual giving from the previous fiscal year. This budget was designed for us to keep all of our financial commitments to our vendors and to our missionaries while still accomplishing all of our ministry goals and plans for the current ministry year. At the same time this budget allows us to take what in the past was the amount of our monthly mortgage payment (nearly $300,000 over the course of the fiscal year) and to put that into our “Facility Expansion Fund” as seed money for the future.

We are now halfway through our current fiscal year which ends June 30, 2008. As promised, the main purpose of this correspondence is to update our church family on our current financial progress and status as a church. I am very pleased to let you know that through the end of December our general fund giving, including all of our mission commitments, is running 11.5% ahead of giving over the same time period one year ago. This is very good news seeing that our current general fund budget is a 10% increase over giving from last year. On top of all of this, over the months of October, November and December we also had a total of over $100,000 given toward special projects. Of this amount, over $75,000 was given by our church and school families towards our Birthday Gift for Jesus project which will help us to make a huge difference in the lives of precious and needy orphans in the Central African Republic. On behalf of our staff and leadership team here at Grace Church, let me commend you and thank you as a church family for your faithfulness in supporting our ministry.

As we entered 2008, we started a new series on Sunday mornings in the book of Malachi which will last through the end of February. In the prophet Malachi’s day, Israel was going through the motions of worship but their worship was not genuine. The same is true in much of the worship that takes place in our day and age as well. We live in a fast food culture in which we are always looking for short-cuts (fast food, rapid refunds, E-Z passes, etc.). Unfortunately, this mind-set easily transfers into our worship. That is why we have chosen to call this sermon series, “McWorship: Authentic Worship in a Fast-Food Culture.” In this series we are studying eight key words that we must understand if we are truly going to be authentic worshippers of God.

One of the words that we will be looking at in Malachi chapter three is the word “MONEY” which will show us that authentic worship involves proper stewardship of our finances. In tomorrow’s blog entry we will see the words God speaks through the prophet in Malachi 3:10 and what they mean to us here at Grace Church.

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