At our most recent meeting, our Managing Elders endorsed a bold proposal from our Capital Campaign Team. With our very successful, building campaign entering its last days, and with just over $300,000 still outstanding on our Mortgage, the Campaign Team asked if they could appeal to the congregation to eliminate our remaining debt within one year. This would free up approximately $40,000 per year, for ministry, that is currently being paid toward the mortgage. Did I mention that this was a bold proposal?
This is the vision that Dan Van Keeken will cast this Sunday morning (or did cast--depending on when you are reading this). What I would like to tell you now is the amazing backstory that led to this proposal. It is a story that was in progress when I first arrived at Bethel three years ago. It intrigued me then and continues to fascinate me today.
When I came to the church, Bethel had just finished raising $800,000 in cash and three-year pledges for the building of the new wing of the church. $800,000 is a sizable amount of money, but that isn’t what amazed me about this campaign. What amazed me is that this capital campaign was not organized as I have always seen these campaigns organized throughout all my years of ministry.
Normally, when a church is entering a building phase, a church’s leadership will carefully select a Capital Campaign Team and task them to plan for, and execute, the raising of money. At Bethel it did not happen that way. Instead, when they saw that no campaign had been planned for the upcoming building project, a group of people passionate to see God glorified, and passionate to see us at Bethel handling our finances wisely, stepped forward and volunteered for the massive task of casting the vision and visiting every household in the church to raise the needed funds. That a group of people, out of their love for God and the church, would do this on their own, astounds and humbles me.
Well, now this group is at the end of the campaign. They have done a great job, and the fundraising has been very successful. If they quietly laid their responsibility down, and accepted our thanks, that is all anyone could ask of them. Instead, this team began a conversation with the Managing Elders some months ago to communicate a single message: “Think of the great things we could do as a church if we were debt free. Let us ask the congregation to extend their gifts and pledges for one year. Let us invite others to join in who did not have the opportunity to give the first time around.”
To me this team’s actions are evidence that the Holy Spirit is moving at Bethel. Businesses typically work from the top down. In the Body of Christ, The Holy Spirit gifts every member according to His sovereign pleasure. Any member can make an impact on the whole body. When different parts of the Body sense God’s call, and act faithfully, the church will move and grow. When this happens, even the most extraordinary things can happen—like a group of people, gifted for stewardship, calling the church to a better future through the joy of generosity. Thank you team members Mike Huisman (Chair), Helena Myschuk, Dan Van Keeken, John Vleeming, and Melvin Werkman.
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