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The Way Things Look from Here – October 18, 2019

We are moving closer to Commitment Sunday and Wednesday, October 27 and 30.

By way of reminder: the Our Church, Our Future campaign is one campaign, with two parts. Our first commitment is to the ongoing ministry and mission of Zumbro. This is our annual appeal. As a congregation, we stepped up to God’s calling as part of our 2019 annual appeal. God has more work for us to do in 2020. We don’t want to lose track of that important work.

Our second commitment is to the capital campaign. These are over-and-above gifts, and are able to be spread out over three years. We have an ambitious project — $4.4 million — that focuses on three main goals: enhancing worship, extending hospitality, and expanding mission. The specifics include everything from a new roof, to improved accessibility, to a refurbished sanctuary, to a drop-in center at Zumbro for youth at risk of homelessness. We see these as once-in-a-generation gifts.

With two commitments to consider, you may be wondering: how much should I commit to the capital campaign? Our consultant, Tom Jolivette, has challenged us: “Give your best gift.” That’s less about a specific dollar amount and more about giving a gift that’s important and meaningful to you.

Each of us comes from a different situation. For some of us, committing to $10 a week is a stretch; others might be able to commit to $200 a week. As you consider what your gift will be, please know that every gift is important. I’ve always appreciated Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).

So, how do we arrive at our “best gift?” In his book, Capital Campaign Playbook, Greg Gibbs lays out three questions for us to consider. Each question stretches us a little further on the journey of faith:

1) What could I reasonably give? This question is based on logic. It doesn’t involve much belt-tightening.

2) What could I reprioritize and be able to give? On the one hand, this is a math question, like calculating, “What could I give to the church if I went out to eat one less time a week? Or discontinued my cable? Or put off buying a new car?” On the other hand, reprioritizing begins to stretch spiritual muscles for the sake of something more meaningful.

3) What could I rely on God for in an exercise of faith? We’re never sure where this might lead: maybe an unexpected bonus, a tax return, a commission, a raise. It calls for trusting that God will supply what we need.

As Brenda and I consider our commitment to this project, we feel called to a combination of #2 and #3, some reprioritizing and some relying on God, too. Besides our annual commitment to Zumbro, we are planning to commit $20,000 to the capital campaign. This amount will involve both giving from income, and giving from assets.

As you consider your best gift to our campaign, I encourage you to spend extra time in prayer. Listen for God’s calling. When you’re ready, choose an amount. Pray about that amount. And leave room for faith. You might want to adjust the amount, up or down, depending on how God is speaking to you.

Thanks for all you do in helping us build bridges of understanding and peace, reach out with compassion, and share the hope of Jesus. In the end, it all comes down to that.