Support Raising Update


Happy New Year everyone (and a belated Merry Christmas)! We hope y'all had a joyous, blessed, fun-filled holiday season! It's been a while since I've posted an update on the support raising front via our blog, so I thought I would take some time to do that.

I'm currently writing this blog post Saturday evening, Jan. 2. A bowl game is on in the background, we are watching some kids for a friend this evening and so we have 4 boys running around our house shooting at things and blowing things up! Vanessa is cooking something in the kitchen. Not really sure what it is, but it smells good, and it involves kielbasa sausage, so I'm sold! And at the time of writing this post I am at 68% support raised. I don't know the exact number off the top of my head but I know it's in the $30,000 range. So by God's grace when we began raising $45,000 in financial support back in October, in a roughly 2 to 3 month span God has allowed, through the generosity of many, $30,000 to come in! Only roughly $15,000 to go!

I am still blown away by the Lord's provision and y'all's generosity!

Since I began working at Midlands Church on November 1, a lot has gone on! I highlighted a bunch of it in an e-newsletter I sent out a few weeks ago but to quickly recap, I officially started Nov. 1 and hit the ground running hard my first week because our Men's Retreat was that coming weekend, so we had a lot of final prep work required. I had the privilege of organizing the music for the retreat, as well as speaking at one of the sessions. The rest of November and December was spent preparing for the Christmas season and also looking ahead to the coming months of 2016. For Christmas we put on a Lessons and Carols event. This event was kind of my baby and my first big official thing I oversaw from beginning to end. It was a lot of work putting together the scripture texts, songs, organizing the musicians and getting charts together, finding and coordinating people to read the scripture, organizing people to bring desserts to provide for afterwards, plus a lot more. But by God's grace, and the help from a lot of people, it came together, we had a great turnout (almost more than triple than what we were anticipating!) and it went smoothly overall and based on feedback from people, most importantly it seemed to be a time that helped people get refocused on Christ in the midst of the craziness of the holiday season.

The biggest item from these last few months is it was announced towards the end of November that Luke Syfert, one of our pastors, and his family would be moving to Georgia where he would be filling a pastoral role at a church in his hometown. While this was certainly a sad announcement, there is no doubt God's hand has been on this move. 2015 was marked by many changes for our church body. We transitioned from being a campus of a church, to becoming our own autonomous church, we changed our church name to reflect that transition, we moved buildings and had to change our service time. Not surprisingly, when multiple, big, changes happen within a roughly 8 month period, you can expect a percentage of your current people to leave. So as we enter 2016, things such as our budget, look a lot different than last year when entering 2015. This past summer when our leadership began looking ahead to 2016 and the new budget, it became apparent our church would no longer be in a financial position to maintain 2 salaried pastors. As they explored options, only 2 seemed feasible. Either both of our pastors cut back to part time and find additional work elsewhere, or one of our pastors steps down. In the midst of that, the Lord was beginning to stir within the hearts of Luke and his wife to be closer to family. And just days after they first realized one of our pastors would likely need to step down, Luke was offered a similar pastoral position at a church in his hometown. Simultaneous with that, and all of this budget stuff unbeknownst to me, the Lord was making it clear my time as an employee at The Mather Co was coming to an end, and God was beginning to stir my heart with the idea of raising support to come on staff at church. While it is certainly sad for him to leave (he meant so much to our church, and he and his family were dear friends to us), since the time of that announcement God has continued to affirm and reaffirm this decision. God has been faithful through this all. He has been and is continuing to sustain our church. And in actuality, with Luke's departure, our church is in a healthy situation and budget as we kick off 2016.

With Luke now gone, we remaining staff are pitching in to help carry the extra load. As I continue to get settled in I'm taking on more and more of the administrative and operational items that Luke oversaw.

You can read my e-newsletter here for more details, and it includes a link to Luke's letter he sent to our church body with the announcement.

Since the time of that e-newsletter, we had a baby/child dedication which I took part in. I had the opportunity to present the family taking part in the dedication with a gift on behalf of our Kidlands Ministry. It's also become tradition to incorporate The Blessing into our dedications, and so I had the special privilege of sharing with our church body the history of that song. For those not aware, The Blessing is a prayer my Dad wrote and prayed over my sister and I growing up, and along the way my sister put it to music. So it's extra special for me to see that song included in these dedications.

As we kick off January we have a pretty packed month. On the worship front we have some auditions lined up. We've been so blessed over the years with such gifted and awesome musicians. It's always exciting and amazing to see the many different talented people God brings into our body. On the Family Discipleship side, we have another dedication coming up (we've had a lot of babies born, and we have a lot more that are due!!). And on January 31 we will be having a Family Funday. Throughout the year our Family Discipleship (which includes our Kidlands Ministry and our Student Ministry) put on Family Fundays, which provide our families the opportunity to come do something fun and build special memories with each other. We also use the time to provide parents an opportunity to practice discipling their children by providing them with materials and opportunities to lead a simple family devotional. At Midlands Church we believe God calls Christians to be a people who disciple, and He specifically calls parents to be the primary discipler of their children. It's our job as a church to equip and train parents for that calling. So our heart, even behind something like a Family Funday, is to incorporate ways to train and equip the parents within our body. This coming Funday we will be treating our families to a time of roller skating and indoor mini golf!

The other big item on my calendar is that I've been asked to preach on February 28! I'm certainly humbled and excited for the opportunity, but I'm also quite nervous! So please keep me in your prayers. Pray that God would bless my time of study and preparation, and that I would speak His truth clearly, and in love.

As always, first and foremost I praise the Lord for how He has provided, especially when it comes to the financial support. It's crazy that we are so close to be 3/4s of the way through. But we still have a ways to go! Would you please prayerfully consider financially supporting me? Leading up to Christmas I sent out roughly 150 letters that included our family's Christmas card, a support magnet and a commitment card. If every person that received one of those sent $100, then that would be almost $15,000, which would mean I would be fully funded. Since sending out those cards, I have received just over $2,000 in support. Would you please consider joining my financial team?

And of course I covet your prayers. Please pray for the upcoming events that I outlined above. Pray that God would use those to glorify Himself and to further His Kingdom. Pray for our church body as we enter 2016 and begin this new chapter in our church's life, and that our church body would be marked by a deep love and knowledge of God, and a selfless love for our neighbors. Pray for me and that I would serve my church in love and humility. And most importantly, pray that I would love my boys and always make time for them, that I would be continually pursuing and dating and serving my wife, and that I would not neglect my personal time seeking the Lord through His word and prayer.

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