Monday, April 30, 2007

reflections

Here are a few of my reflections the Monday after our Building on the Legacy Pledge Banquet:

• Seeing our 65 table hosts and others come forward to present our offerings to the Lord is an image that I'll remember for a long while. I'm so glad we offered our pledges together instead of by mail.

• There is a power in being together. Just seeing the full banquet hall was itself a great encouragement to my soul. We need to keep doing it and "not forsake our gathering together as is the habit of some." I was encouraged to see so many relatively new folks to Grace there last night.

• I thought the evening was marked, as we had prayed, by a spirit of celebration. While I'm sure some were tense, most seemed relaxed and excited to be there.

• It is one of my continuing joys to see that body of Christ going for it in service to reach for goals that are bigger than any one of us. Our Building on the Legacy Capital Campaign and banquet was the result of the hard work and careful planning of hundreds. Many thanks.

• There were many who weren't there. . . some were serving the body by caring for our children. . . . some were at home with sick children. . . . .others had conflicting commitments . . . . and some just didn't like our approach or didn't agree with the vision. . . . I wish that all could have been there, to experience the power of God's presence when His people gather. I'm sure it's a fantasy, but I wish there was a way to really get the WHOLE church together.

• As I stated last evening, it is easier not to lead. Daily, I realize my desire to shirk my responsibility to lead. I give thanks for our elders, staff and many others who are also committed to leading by faith. Asking people to give of their hard earned resources is a delicate matter. It only gets easier from here!

• Erik Ernstrom is a nut! I great nut. It was fun to pull off the live video conference between the Expo and the Ministry Center. Many thanks to Shane Williams and Josh Ernstrom over at the Mac Superstore, as well as Josh Erdman, for helping us figure that out! Looked like our kids were having a great time. A wild time, but a great time! Erik is a stud to take that on. Many thanks to him and the whole team of people, including many of our young people, who served the church in that significant way. How many sugar cubes did those guys hand out? (Had to be there!)

• I give thanks to God for our unity these last 6 months. Capital campaigns can be very divisive in churches. From the get-go we prayed that God would keep us together and preserve our unity. I believe He has. As far as I know, those who disagree with our vision have not divided the fellowship, nor left the church. Some expressed concerns and then hopped on board. Some expressed concerns and agreed to disagree. The Lord has done this thing!

• I'm pretty sure that none of us fully appreciates what it means to be a part of a loving church family. We partially appreciate it at moments. The family is full of failures and foibles and broken people, but God is pleased to glorify Himself through our weaknesses. The more "all in" we can be, the more we experience the blessings of life together. Yet most of us hold back, out of fear or insecurity or a bad past experience, or for other reasons. For some of us, it's just scary to connect and we're not very good at it. The evidence of this is the fact that folks wander from church to church to church. Let's dig in and figure out life together with all its pains and challenges, joys and triumphs.

• As we saw in 1 Chronicles 29, the Lord has tried and directed our hearts. Therefore, we will thank Him and praise Him for whatever He has seen fit to provide through His people.

• Like the Lord's people of David's day. . . . because our God is faithful, great, powerful, glorious and victorious. . . . we gave to the Lord and toward the future. . . willfully, wholeheartedly, generously, and joyfully. Sunday's messages will be posted online soon.

• If you were not at our Building on the Legacy Celebration Pledge Banquet for any reason, we want to give you an opportunity to still join us in pledging. This week you'll receive, by mail a copy of Sunday's messages, morning and evening, a brief invitation to join us and a pledge card. Finally, in case you don't read your mail or we don't have your correct mailing address, we'll give you quick invitation to pledge during next Sunday's worship services. And then that's it! We plan to announce our pledge total on Sunday, May 13, which also happens to be Mother's Day.

What are your thoughts and reflections the morning after?

6 comments:

Tim Weaver said...

I will speak as one of those who was silently wondering if perhaps this was not a very good approach. I was convinced that it was not anti-Biblical, but perhaps there could be a better way.

I had a wonderful time. I got to know some people that I never would have met. Having the icebreaker questions at the table made for some really funny stories. It was a joy to allow the Lord to inspire me with thoughts of what the Lord might do through grace church. It is always a sweet taste of heaven when we can get that many of God's people together to worship the Lord in prayer and song. Then, it was a joy to then pledge what the Lord had put on the hearts of my wife and me. (It was neat how the Lord brought us to the same number by different methods.)

Thank you for leading us the way the Lord was leading you.

Erik, Jenny, and your ton of helpers with the kids,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

lindsey said...

last night was awesome! it was especially meaningful to celebrate building on the legacy in the same place we celebrated the legacy of the church's 75 years. i am glad that we weren't able to choose our table partners, because i would have chosen to be with the same few couples we're always with. but last night we were called out of our comfort zones not only in our table seatings but also from our pockets. i don't envy your job, tim, but i do appreciate the honesty in which you do it. leading a capital campaign has got to be heavy on your mind, but you're doing it very biblically. thank you! also, a big thanks to all of the childcare workers who sacrificed celebrating with us so we could all be there.

Erik said...

You're welcome. We had a blast with all those kids...as you could tell from the video feed.
But what I wish everyone could have seen was the way the evening ended. Each of the classrooms had kids sitting around tables and lying on the floor writing letters and drawing pictures for Lance Iunker.
I talked to the kids about the stand he's taking with the group of guys he's with and said that we need to encourage him. So I have a box with over 70 letters, covered in stickers and hand-drawn pictures to send to him.
And what was so exciting was the number of kids who grabbed a Bible and found verses that they thought would be good for him to hear. And they did that on their own!
It's wonderful to see the next generation loving God and using his Word to encourage someone else.

Suzette said...

We really enjoyed the evening. We had an interesting mix of people at our table. Some were new to Grace (three weeks) and some had been attending and serving for years. It was really great to meet new people and re-connect with others. It is always humbling to me to hear how the Lord has been working in and through other peoples lives.

I don't really get the stress in the asking for money. We have always appreciated the way Grace asks so gently for funds. I like that we have so many opportunities to give not only to the church, but for missions and for other members in need. We have grown and been really blessed over the years as we have been stretch to give back more. We have received so much from God through our connection at Grace Church.

The devotion of all those who did the work was really inspiring. It is a little embarassing to be served in such a complete and caring way. I expecially loved the video feed of our children. And Erik's report of all those letters. Thanks for challenging our children to think of others and encourage them.

Josh said...

The feasting did not stop for our family! This morning we feasted on waffles and breakfast burritos! I guess the crew watching the kids at Grace really worked an appetite in our children.

It felt good to go home with my wife and be proud of our commitment and the commitments we share with fellow believers.

The Bowens said...

We've been away for nearly 3 years now but still are blessed by the legacy of love from Grace. We remember walking through the building and thanking God for the legacy of faith and vision we were able to share. Many men and women long gone invested in our lives even though they never knew we would be part of the family at Grace. It is a blessing to take part in something that will last longer than our own lives. Another generation will walk through those halls and take part in ministry because of your vision now.

Blessings to all of you from Calgary.

bowenmail@shaw.ca