Generosity Update: A Wonderful Opportunity to Respond to God

by C. John Steer

Christmas demonstrates the extraordinary generosity of Jesus, who became like us so that we might become like him. People like the Magi, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna show us how to respond to this divine outpouring of love by their generosity and worship.

The Elder Board is giving us a significant opportunity to show our love to God and to others by paying off the remaining mortgage on our campus. This recently stood at $1.5 million, costing us $20,000 each month for debt service. Your generous giving has recently allowed us to pay off $500,000 from our reserves. But a few weeks ago, we still faced the challenge of paying off the remaining $1 million on the mortgage. I invite you to help us reach that goal this year. I like to think of it as 1 by 21.

Pastor Rick Henderson asked me to write this letter, and I am glad to do so.  Rick and I have spent considerable time together talking about the past and future of the church we both love. Gretchen and I are fully supportive because this is a godly goal. We are pleased to be part of it through our own giving.  We rejoice that generous people in our fellowship have already given $86,000, and continued monthly payments have lowered the debt by another $120,000. So we are well on the way. Nearly $800,000 remains to be given. God has already provided the resources. They are in our wallets and bank accounts. It’s just a matter of us giving them back to him, for we know that our Heavenly Father is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Gretchen and I discovered in our years with you that we cannot outgive God. He has blessed us in order that we might bless others.

What can we do with 1 by 21?

Imagine what an additional $20,000 each month would achieve if we didn’t have to send it to the bank! We could increase our commitment to missions, evangelism, and mercy ministries. The impact of Covid has been immensely harsh for many and will continue for years to come. We would love to grow our investment in Celebrate Recovery and our community partnerships. In this way we serve others made in the image of God and show by our actions that Jesus, and we, care deeply about them.

How can we give to 1 by 21?

We can give electronically or donate by check.  Some may find it helpful to give stock that has increased in value over the past year. However we give, it’s important we indicate that our contribution is for mortgage debt elimination.  Some of us can’t give right now. The coronavirus has hit us hard. But we are the family of God. Those of us who have can help those in need.  In the future, the roles may be reversed.  That is how a family cares for its members.

Why now?

Back in the 1990s our church paid off the mortgage debt on our former building. That transformed the way we did ministry. Instead of having to say “no” to needs because we lacked the funds to support them, we were able to say “yes!” to God-honoring ideas.  Many of these came from you.  Some day in the future, we will not be restricted by Covid.  When we liberate this mortgage money and give it to God for his use, we are poised to respond quickly to the needs around us.  So let’s trust him to use our gifts as a means of bringing many into his kingdom.  

Gretchen and I look forward to resume worshiping with you once we have the vaccine.  We are immensely excited about the future God has in store for Autumn Ridge.

We both send our love and daily remember you in our prayers.