We don’t talk a lot about the finances of our local SBCCV ministry, believing that faithful people will stay attuned to God’s leading to meet the needs as we make them known. Historically, our leadership has presented a budget in June for the upcoming fiscal year, and our church family has responded in keeping with the needs presented. There’s prayer and careful consideration that go into anticipating our needs and crafting that budget as best as we can foresee, and then we leave it up to our church body to prayerfully keep an eye on our finances (published on the back of our weekly bulletin) as we move through the year.
Then January and February rolled around this year, and we experienced a significant shortfall in our general offerings. We knew that many of our church family had been out with extended times of illness, and we also knew that many had given sacrificially to our Vans Fund for Mexico. But the deficit was sizable enough that our leadership believed it best to send out a letter to alert you to the pressing need. We were borrowing from designated ministry accounts (like our property and facilities fund) to cover basic operational expenses, and we knew that wasn’t a course that we could pursue – nor wanted to pursue - for long.
The remarkable thing is that March began with a significant uptick in monies given, even before our leadership’s letter reached most of you in our church family. And, gratefully, we have seen a sustained response throughout this month, so that the larger part of our deficit has been erased…which means that many of you have responded generously to get us back on a healthy track, financially. And that is a wonderful blessing.
Now, many of you know that on Sunday mornings we have begun working our way through a study in the book of Revelation, just having finished Jesus’ message to the seven churches of Asia (and to us). It was Christ’s words to the church at Philadelphia that particularly resonated with me as I thought about our recent experience. They weren’t a large church, but our Lord commended them for their faithful perseverance. And to them Jesus gave “an open door which no one can shut” – ministry opportunities where He would go ahead of them to open the way as they went along and followed Him in faith. Of Finances and Open Doors And that’s the real story of our church family as well, not big by the world’s standards in size and power, but faithfully persevering and finding a great open door of opportunity on our peninsula and beyond.
Every Wednesday our Half Time team prepares and serves a family style meal to a packed Faith Hall crowd of preschoolers through senior adults, paving the way for an evening of fellowship, outreach and teaching. Every Sunday our church family gathers for an encouraging morning of worship and instruction, and on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays there are smaller gatherings of men’s, women’s and couple’s groups that continue to equip us for living our faith and sharing it with others. Last week a handful of our men returned from Cuba with stories of hungry hearts responding to their short term week of gospel ministry.
This week we’ll lift up Christ’s cross and His resurrection life not only in special Easter weekend services but on a local college campus and at a local senior living center as well. All around we have open doors for sharing the good news of Christ’s redemptive love, and it’s a great joy to be walking through these open doors together.
So, though we don’t often highlight how vital our regular stewardship is to the ongoing health of our ministry, the last few months have been a good reminder of just how important it is. As a staff we realize what a privilege it is to have your financial support as we serve with you here through the ministries of Sanctuary. We know that we couldn’t devote ourselves to leading in these ventures were it not for your faithful partnership.
Thank you for continuing to make this ministry a top priority. It’s exciting to be a part of a church family where so many are actively involved in serving and giving. And thank you for responding to our recent communication of financial need. God really has placed a wide open door of opportunity before us. Now it is just up to us to keep faithfully and prayerfully following Him through it.