Let’s take a risk … so please read

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by Martin Schlomer

Have you ever sensed God leading you to break out of your comfort zone, to take a risk that might make you feel a little uncomfortable? I have had the growing sense for the past month that God would have us, as a church, take such a risk.

As you know, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. A few weeks ago, I ran an idea by the Elders and the Stewardship Team that felt uncomfortable and risky. Out of this idea came the following proposal to the Elder Board: We would take the Christmas offering as usual; however, half of it would go to meet the regular (budgeted) needs of the Body, and the other half would go to meet the special (unbudgeted) benevolence needs of Christ’s Body at Elim.

You may ask, “Why does this feel risky?” Elim has experienced incredible growth this past year. This has stretched our budget and financial resources. While everyone has pulled together and we have not only met the budget but have also exceeded it, expenses have also kept pace with the income and thus exceeded the budget as well.

While our financial position is decent, our needs will continue to grow in the new year. Yet despite these needs, the Elders passed this proposal unanimously.

The Christmas season is always a time to celebrate God’s lavish sacrifice to meet our enormous need, by sending and sacrificing His Son! Experiencing His gift must surely move our hearts to become like the heart of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44.

I can’t think of a better way of celebrating God’s gift and sacrifice than by being generous toward others! As you prepare for this special Sunday, please ask our Father what He would have you give, and come ready to celebrate what God is doing in our midst!

God’s richest blessings to you in this holy season …

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Black Friday and the budget

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by Dan Amos

On Thanksgiving night the attention for many turned to the Black Friday sales. I looked through the ads and saw lots of bright, shiny things I would like to have, but prudence reminded me I can’t spend what I don’t have.

Prudence also guided development of Elim’s 2012 budget which we will vote on this Sunday. We serve the infinite God who has every resource at his command. He has the entirety of creation under his personal attention and care. That is, He sees both the forest and the trees; he sees the big picture yet is active in the tiniest detail. But in this life, He has chosen for us to serve him in more focused and resource-limited ways.

The Elder Board, Staff, Ministry Directors and Stewardship Team each year go through an exercise balancing faith and wise stewardship of the resources we expect to have available to further the ministry of the Church through the local body at Elim. A lot of people have spent a lot of time in preparation, prayer, and discernment of the strategic direction of Elim and this is reflected in the budget. This is most evident in the Holistic Outreach part of the budget. The entirety of projected spending to spread the Gospel of Christ in word and deed won’t be found in just one designated section. Our commitment to discipleship is found in every section, such as AWANA in Children’s Ministries, MOPS in Adult Ministries, and significantly in personnel with the addition of an internship for Holistic Outreach.

Previously we had contracted out leadership of local compassion ministries (through support to Bill Bowers) but our involvement has grown beyond that level. We need someone who can devote regular, concentrated time to directing and leading Elim’s people in spreading the Good News to South Hill and beyond. We expect to propose for 2013 for the internship to be expanded to a full-time staff position. This will continue the expansion of our efforts to involve everyone in the Great Commission.

These are bold plans, but the message is life to those who don’t have it.

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