“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,
you may abound in every good work.”
– II Corinthians 9:8
Dear Redeemer Family,
I write you with news of an extraordinary development in the life of our parish church. Before I get to that news specifically, please let me lay a little groundwork, asking first a question and then making an observation.
First, the question. What will our parish family look like in ten years? What do we want it to be? Even after completing soon-to-launch upgrades for music, youth, and, yes, even a chapel ahead of schedule, will our campus be able to accommodate our future parish family – not our current family – but our future family? Do you and I have the power, desire, and ability to prepare now for those future needs? Do we have the will to more than double the membership of this parish, adding almost 3,000 new members? (Since that goal was first brought up, we actually only need 2,850 more.) Can we make new Christians and make all Christians new? That is the question.
And the observation is like unto it. There are thousands of people in our community, and many moving here all the time, who want to come through our bright red doors, but they neither know of their need nor how to go about it. This is our challenge.
Our aging facility, with limited funds in reserve, further places us at a great disadvantage. There is only one solution. I am not asking for the formation of a focus group to analyze future market trends and deliver a report to another committee. Now is not the time for study (we have done that numerous times over the years). Now is the time to act.
No amount of market research can undo the universal truth that there is no market until one is created. Steve Jobs decided to forgo market research before launching the iPhone, saying, “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Henry Ford is reported to have once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” We face a similar situation today, because it is up to us to show our community what they need without waiting on them to discover their greatest need. The apostolic Church never hired consultants; Survey Monkey was never used a single time.
What is the need? On the preacher’s side of the pulpit, I had a plaque recently installed. It reminds each preacher what must be shown to everyone, even when the need cannot be articulated. It comes from the Gospel according to St. John, and it reads, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (St. John 12:21). Above everything else, even clean water in rural hamlets, mosquito nets in Malaria-ravaged nations, and above the health and well-ordered functioning of society, the greatest (!) human need will always be to experience a relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This campus – this sacred ground where “God in man is made manifest” in Word and Sacrament – is increasingly important. It has never been more important. It is the key that opens the door to future growth and depth. Investing in it is how our future market, to use a phrase from secular wisdom, will be created and nurtured.
Now, to the news. An active, anonymous (for now) parishioner brought all of what I have written about home to me in the most arresting way last week. He asked me, “How much money does the parish have to tackle what I see as dozens of other capital needs after we complete phase two and try to build a chapel?” After further conversation, I leveled with him, saying, “We have precious little set aside for our capital needs, deferred maintenance, and campus growth opportunities.” He shook his head and said, “That is no longer the case.” And he then said:
I will donate $1 million on December 25th, if the parish family will come together with me and collectively match an amount equal to or greater than $1 million. Father, I just gave the parish a $1,000,000 matching challenge. Get to work!
There is much more to say about this unprecedented, strategic act of generosity in due course, but for now let’s leave it like this: Have you been looking for a cause in which to invest that offers returns beyond what you can see on a spreadsheet? Have you been asking God to give you the grace to be a better steward of His resources entrusted to your care? Have you been praying about doing something about tomorrow today?
If you are inclined, like I am, to answer “yes” to any of those questions, and others like them, you now have a least 1,000,000 reasons to give on the table. (Actually, you and I have about 900,000 reasons to give, because more than $100,000 has already been matched.)
Friends, we have the opportunity to turn $1,000,000 into $2,000,000! Let us be about the work of building up the Body of Christ, the Church itself, so that more and more may come to truly “see Jesus.”
Some Questions We Are Being Asked
- How can I give? Click here to give online (choose “A Million Reasons to Give” from the drop-down menu). You can mail a check to the parish office. You can also donate at mass by placing a check in the alms basin.
- When is the deadline to participate? All gifts must be received by Christmas Day, 25 December 2021.
- May I give to the challenge using appreciated securities? Absolutely! Appreciated securities make an excellent gift, providing additional tax benefits in most circumstances. Please contact the Business Office to donate appreciated securities.
- If I give to this challenge, does it count towards my operating pledge for 2021? No, these funds are specifically earmarked for strategically enhancing and repairing areas on campus. Contributing to the challenge will, however, reduce our reliance on the annual operating fund for certain capital requirements, asset replacement, and deferred maintenance, putting those dollars to immediate ministry needs and human capital.
- How much should I give? The amount you decide to give is the right amount. Ask God in prayer to help you make the right decision, remembering, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).