Faith. Promise. Missions.
by Pastor Connie Larson DeVaughn
All three are strong, positive, life-giving words. When you put them together, they describe one leg of ABC’s journey of generous giving in the past thirteen years. I’d like to tell you some of that story.
In 1999 we were frustrated by our inability to grow our giving to missions. Steve and Barbara Wilkinson had been committed members of our congregation for several years, as Steve prepared himself for his teaching work in the Philippines. When it was time for them to step out in faith, we wanted to be part of the team that sent them. And yet our missions’ budget had declined from a high of $28,650 to $19,398 over the previous ten years. What to do?
Art Everett had an idea which put these three strong positives together: Faith Promise Missions. We asked ABCers to prayerfully consider giving a monthly or yearly amount above and beyond their regular tithes, designated for Missions. Faith, because it’s a step of faith in God’s provision; Promise, because it’s an amount arrived through prayer between the individual and God; Missions, because it’s used exclusively to help proclaim God’s good news of salvation to the ends of the earth.
That first year we received promises of $4,295.05, and the Wilkinsons were off (with the help of a whole lot of other churches, obviously). Since then our missions budget has grown from $23,910 to our current budget of $34,012, almost all of that growth due to Faith Promise Missions.* And there has been no corresponding slump in giving to the church’s general budget.**
We’d like to ask you to think and pray about participating in Faith Promise Missions yourself. As you do, you will be a part of what God is doing in the world through the teams we support.
- Steve and Amie are training national Christians in Asia to reach whole people groups who have no viable Christian church in their culture.
- Zach and Beth are strategizing and working on sending teams to Muslims in North Africa.
- Ruth Gollings is working with the Mexican churches to reach women who come out of abusive backgrounds.
- Mark and Stephanie Dodrill are training youth leaders all over Spain to give hope and abundant life to disenchanted youth.
- The Amazing Grace Preparatory School is teaching and training children in poverty to be future leaders of their communities.
- The Youngs (Dick, Bev, Lynette) head up a church planting team in Uruguay.
- The Herveys are leading and caring for missionaries to Muslim peoples.
These are just some of the places and people that are touched with God’s love through our giving.
Our Faith Promise Missions giving has not kept up with our goal this year. We’re asking you to prayerfully consider giving just $5 more per month than you now give, designated to missions. Certainly you may give more, but $5 a month would involve a lot more of the congregation in giving directly to missions. Of course, we do not want to take away from your tithes and offerings, and if you feel the need to increase those instead, we’d welcome that step of faith. If you decide to give to Faith Promise Missions, would you please fill out a Promise Card and send it back to us? We do not keep track of individual giving, but these cards do help us to set a realistic goal for our yearly budget.
God is faithful and good. We discover this every day in many ways. One of the ways we’ve discovered this together at ABC is through giving to missions. You’re invited to come along, and see God’s faithfulness and goodness for yourself.
* $1,000 increase came from the general budget, $9,050 increase came from Faith Promise Missions.
** Undesignated giving to the general budget in ’98-’99 was $123,752, and for this year’s budget it is $179,190. And one more statistic: currently 14% of our budget is designated to Missions. Almost 6% of this comes through Faith Promise. The remaining 8% comes through the general budget.