Peace Church VISION 2020 Commitment Letter
“20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
As you know, over the past several weeks we at Peace Church have been dreaming about what our church will be like by the end of the year 2020 and talking about how we can get there. Session believes God is guiding us to this exciting future through the situation of our move away from the old shopping center at the end of last year & into our new situation, and through our denominational transition. We believe God was setting things up so that we would be able to begin implementing our long range plan, which was developed based on input from the congregation a couple of years ago. That plan pointed us in the direction of building our own building or buying an existing building, as well as towards growing our membership significantly so that we can afford such a building. In truth, had we stayed in the old shopping center paying the much higher rent (the landlord demanded a 40% increase and we were negotiating when the daycare intervened and offered to pay that 40% increase) we would never have been able to save for our own space! The way our time ended there on the whims of the landlord and a fellow tenant also secured in us the idea that it is best to own our own space in the long term.
So we’ve been presenting a 5-year plan to achieve three goals we believe God is leading us toward: grow in faith and numbers (double our membership from 100 to 200), build or buy our own building, and get involved in planting another church in some way. The first two goals are self-explanatory, but the last one about church planting does NOT mean we would split Peace Church but rather partner with other churches in planting another congregation somewhere in our area. That would happen through financial support and perhaps some volunteer help, but we're not doing to be dividing our congregation to help with that. We arrived at this goal after considering that in 5 years our mandatory payments to our old PCUSA Presbytery will end, and we’ll have the opportunity to choose to give some of those funds to a cause we really care about. New churches also reach unbelievers much better than existing churches, so supporting church plants, as well as increasing our own evangelism efforts, is a great way to increase our Kingdom-building impact.
As we wrap up the Vision 2020 Campaign, I believe God is calling each and every one of us to evaluate our commitment to Him. We live out that commitment in many different ways, but I believe one way is through our giving of time, talents, and resources to His church. How has God blessed you as He's drawn you into the family of Peace Church? What difference has this community of faith made in your life? What difference is God calling us to make in the lives of people in our community that don't have a church home? What role do you believe God is calling you to play in His unfolding plan for our future as a church? These are all questions we believe God desires that we ponder as we consider committing to the Vision 2020 long range plan.
Session and I are asking all members and those who worship with us regularly to make an “over and above” commitment to the Vision 2020 Plan, including a financial pledge. The commitment form included has several ways to invest your time to help us reach our goals of growing, building, and planting for the future, as well as a place to designate your financial pledge to the campaign. This financial gift will be over and above any regular giving you currently are making to our general fund through the annual partnership campaign. It DOES NOT replace that giving. General fund giving is essential to the ongoing activities of our church, such as staff, rent, bills, etc. If we all just reduced our giving to the general fund in order to give to the Vision 2020 plan, we wouldn’t have the funds to pay the regular bills. Please see the enclosed brochure with lots more information about over and above giving, as well as creative ideas to help you make your gift. This brochure includes ideas about giving through investments and estates, as well. The gift can be spread out over 5 years or given in one donation, however you see fit.
My hope is that everyone who is part of our family of faith would spend the next couple of weeks praying about how God is calling us to commit to the future of our church. Then please make a commitment of a pledge toward our Vision 2020 Campaign. If you've never pledged before, please consider making a pledge so we'll know what to expect and can flesh out the details of the 5-year plan accordingly. If you've pledged in the past toward the general fund please continue to do so, even if your circumstances have changed. And please prayerfully consider increasing your support of our congregation through the Vision 2020 campaign.
Carrie and I have considered increasing our support for the church with an over and above gift to the Vision 2020 plan and have decided to make a gift of $25,000 over five years. For us, that will require sacrifice. Carrie will be working summer school for the next several summers and I will be substitute teaching on some of my Fridays off in order to meet our commitment. We will have to constantly evaluate our expenses and cut whatever we can. But giving to the Lord is meant to be sacrificial. King David declared, “I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing” in 2 Samuel 24:24. David understood the gift that would touch the heart of God must first touch the heart of the giver. This is the spirit of true Christian giving: If it is for my God, my gift must have value and meaning to me and cost me something. It must require sacrifice in response to the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for me.
How will your gift require sacrifice from you? It is said that most people have the ability to double their annual giving to causes they really care about if they are willing to make some sacrifices. If Peace really has made a difference in your life, wouldn't you want to help God make that difference in the life of someone else? If the Peace family really has supported you and blessed you in a way that was meaningful to you, how might you respond now in increasing your commitment to our vision for the future so we can bless more people in that same way?
So please determine your time, talent, and financial pledge to the church and sign the included Vision 2020 Commitment form. The top part of this form is used to remind us that God calls us to so much more than just a financial commitment to our vision. You'll also see a pledge card section at the bottom of the Vision 2020 Commitment form. Please fill it out and tear it off and turn in your card during the offering time on one of our Vision 2020 Commitment Sundays, May 29th or June 5th. If you can't be in worship either of those days, please just drop it off or mail it to the church office by June 5th. Or you can email or call the office manager with your commitment. The rest of the form will be turned in during those services, as well. The top part about committing to living out our Vision 2020 will be given to me, while the pledge card portion will be kept confidential.
Thanks again for your support! I know in my heart that God will provide for us so that we can move forward with the growth he wants for us. God wants us to dream big! We must now pray like everything depends on God and work and give like it all depends on us! God isn’t offended by prayers that are too big, but rather ones that are too small. We must ask him to provide for us in a way we cannot provide for ourselves, beyond our dreams. Perhaps God is calling YOU to be a big part of the way God provides! Remember, as Ephesians 3:20 says, God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine through His power that is in US!
Blessings on behalf of the Vision 2020 Campaign Team,
Rev. Scott Cummings