Christmas is often called the “season of giving”. No doubt it should be in the church as we ramp up (read “Advent”) to celebrate the greatest gift God ever gave us…a Savior who is Christ the Lord. But given that, we don’t want to create giving fatigue by hitting you with wave after wave of new things you can give towards. In that spirit, let me lay out the initiatives you can support this giving season through Hope.
– A special offering for international missions. We give to international missions all year long through our budget, but each Christmas we “harvest” a special offering to support those working in the harvest around the world. This offering is named after a pioneer female missionary to China who name was Lottie Moon. Make your check out to Hope Chapel and put Lottie Moon in the memo line.
– General kingdom operations which we call a church budget. Like most years, our everyday ministries could use for the season of giving to be a catch-up time. When it comes to our approved budget we are behind. So, any above and beyond gift in December would help position us to aggressively reach those far from God as we move toward the Easter season in April. To give you just a glimpse of the need, it takes roughly $500/day just to open the doors of the building before we provide a single ministry resource or pay a staff member. It costs $2000/week just to resource the way we serve Kids, Teens, and Adults…again without any other cost. The same is true of our Missions budget. I have been praying God would use our giving to make a real difference in penetrating the darkness in our region. Your gifts to our budget do make a kingdom difference.
– We have a tradition at Hope we call our “Giving Tree”. This week the tree will be up in the lobby and it will be filled with Candy Canes with labels on them. There will be four needs reflected in the color-coded labels on the canes. You can take a cane with you, but you can also give to any of these needs without taking a cane…leaving it there as a decoration. Here are the four need areas:
YEC Scholarship. YEC is a mid-winter youth gathering that focuses on drawing kids to and closer to Christ. As you know, nothing is cheap these days so the cost to attend is $150. That can be a lot for some families, or for families with more than 1 teen, or for a teen whose family isn’t committed to investing in their spiritual journey. Although we will take any amount you are led to give, the label will reflect a 33%, 50%, and 100% scholarship ($50, $100, $150). Just put YEC in the memo line of your check.
Good Rain/Rwanda. For the 10th year in a row we’ll be doing a mission project in Rwanda in February. The overall project cost approximately $17,500. Seven thousand of that is for scholarships to send 20 pastors to school (grades 8-12). The rest is to transport, feed and house 60 pastors for two weeks of training. The last $2750 goes to provide a 40lb. bag of rice for each family and a new shirt for the Pastors, some reading glasses and the like. The label on the Giving Tree will show amounts of $25 (the bag of rice), $50 (cost of 1 week of training) and $100 (two weeks), but we will use any amount you give from $1 to a $1000. Just put Good Rain in your check memo line.
Super Market gift cards in $25 or $50 denominations. We give the $25 cards to area Senior Centers. We give the $50 cards to area schools to distribute to the families they know are in need. Just pick them up during one of your trips to the grocery store.
Tree of Hope Haiti – This is a new initiative for us this year. $25 will provide a birthday celebration for a Haitian child. $50 will help provide a solar heated shower for the general community to use. Again, make out the check to Hope and put Tree of Hope in the memo line.
We are working on an opportunity for some of our Life Groups to adopt a specific family for Christmas. We’ll network that information to your Life Group leader when and if it works out.
Experience indicates I am on solid ground when I thank you in advance for your generosity. May Hope as a church, and you personally, experience this promise from Scripture…” And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
See you Sunday.