To date, the closing on the sale of our building and the purchase of our new church home has been delayed by over two months. The challenge is “downstream” of us in this cascade of purchases, but nonetheless we have been affected. We haven’t yet benefited from the expense relief and, maybe, some of us in the body are getting weary. Despite any weariness we may be feeling, two things are always true.
- The church, until Christ returns, is the vehicle for His work. It’s His Body and the fullness thereof (Ephesians 1:22-23) and the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ is building it and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
- The local church is made up of His people and His people are responsible for its support. https://bible.org/article/biblical-principles-concerning-contributions-church
Hard Truth Number One: We didn’t get the year-end giving bump in 2017 that often helps carry us through January and February. December’s offerings broke even with December’s expenses. WOG/BRBC’s cash reserves are running low. And in the first three weeks of January, total giving is at about half of January’s need. Some of that ennui (lack of faith?) may be due to the closing/moving delays. But much of the shortfall is due to two snow/ice events on Sundays in January. So this is a plea to all of you who call WOG/BRBC your church home: Bring the whole “tithe” (or at least the rest of January’s tithe) into the storehouse this Sunday, January 28. If you can’t be in attendance, please mail it in (8524 Blue Ridge Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64138). The church literally can’t pay utilities, or salaries, or our missionaries with money it doesn’t have.*
Hard Truth Number Two: Regarding the interim budget, the leaders of BRBC/WOG do NOT hate our Missionaries. We love them and want our church to thrive here in Raytown AND in Brazil, Japan, PNG, et al. Right now we aren’t thriving, financially or numerically, on either front. The financial support of our Missionaries is actually much less “tiny” than is represented in the budget on which we are asking you to vote. [For instance, in January, the Missions Committee is going to double the gift from the general fund with money they have in their reserves – money given in memorial gifts or as OAAT&O** donations. In a church wherein the leaders were anti-missions, I wonder if that could even happen?] But it’s still not where it was in the church’s heyday. We need to rebuild our local footprint if we are ever going to be able to expand our global footprint in a sustainable way again. That’s not siding with local ministry over missions, that’s just facing facts. We often hear (and I’ve often preached) that local outreach is the responsibility of the individual. It is, but it’s not limited to individuals. I envision regular local outreaches done as a ministry of the whole body, wherein we work together, taking advantage of the plethora of gifts, talents and experience in our body, whether it’s administrators who can organize the rest of us into foot soldiers handing out high-quality fliers and door hangers designed by artists and techies, or people with the gifts of mercy and evangelism helping the helpers organize a weekend of blessing for our neighborhood. I envision us demonstrating tangible love while speaking Truth with Grace. Beloved, missions isn’t about sending money away AS OPPOSED TO spending it here. Missions is about spending it to reach our Jerusalem . . . AND the uttermost parts of the earth. This is not a new concept for us; we have done this in the past.
*I’m writing this early in the morning when only insomniacs are up. The TV is on in the background and as I wrote that last sentence I looked up to see a preacher saying that HOLY GHOST told him that his TV Audience should go get their check books right now – the Holy Ghost tells him that every week. I don’t make that claim; but I can read a balance sheet and sometimes we all need a reminder that God really has provided all the money the church needs, even if some of it is still in our checkbooks!
**OAAT&O stands for Over and Above Tithes & Offerings