Fundraising.That word in itself puts a bad taste in some people's mouth. It used to in mine. Even last year, as Loren and I geared up to fundraise, I wasn't completely convinced that I was ready to ask a number of people to support us financially month by month. I was raised to work hard and EARN money..so to ask people to support us in something that was yet to be built, it was frightening & took a lot of humbling moments. I wanted them to know I wasn't going to waste their investment. But that was simply the fear in my pride.
This time around, as I wrote the letters, addressed the envelopes, picked out the photos to share...my heart was completely thrilled. I was and am ecstatic to invite people into what we are involved in. Over the year, I have learned that money has very little to do with money. It can be your God whether you have a lot or a little. I have learned that it is needed to pay the bills and needed to do ministry full time. I have learned that what's mine is not mine at all, and that we truly live in a world that is God's economy. Never have we gone a day without eating; even when our account read $0 & the fridge was empty. I have learned, but not perfected, in humbling myself to ask Heather to share a meal with us.
This community that The Lord has put in Corvallis is outstanding. I cannot tell you the depths of my gratitude, the honor, the privilege it is for me to serve by Loren's side, bringing glory to God. I would not choose to do anything else. This is where I am called. This is what I love. The people that God has brought to Corvallis Church amaze me. Someone needs fire wood? What do you know, someone has extra. The people bring forth ways to serve this city, ways to pour the love of Christ into the darkness.. They inspire me. When someone is sick, you should just see what happens: one lady had to ask us to stop bringing her meals because she was receiving too many to eat. Sharing vehicles & sharing yard work. I love hearing about a business man be prayed over by a "house-less" man. See what I'm saying? This community is unique and truly special. Serving these people is my honor. And the people it serve under...don't even get me started. We may not always see completely the same on the little things, but we always begin & end with grace. We always remind one another of our mission & purpose. I have learned so much from them, I pray I can teach others half the amount of grace.
Many of you will be receiving fundraising letters from us. To be honest, I wish for you to move to this city & literally join us on mission day to day. Serving & accepting those around us. I crave for your to be built up by this truly unique community, so that you can go out and make disciples. But, I know that's a little too biased & probably not going to happen. Also, you probably are doing these things just where you are. My prayer is that you are plugged in somewhere, you are being built up, you are serving & being good news to those unsaved.
As I wrote these letters, I earnestly prayed that you would join us in this. Financially and prayerfully. The Lord is moving & I want no one missing out.
Loren has inspired me and I hope this will inspire you. He has stepped out in faith. In August he requested a position that was half the amount of hours he was working at Trillium -- our church is growing, the need for more of his time is growing, his ache to spend more hours serving was growing. With this aching & need came a response. With the response came a sacrifice. Half our income. It was tough for me to wrestle through - not once did I doubt, not once did I fear not having money to eat or pay the bills, but I did struggle with the sacrifice. Acknowledging that this is nothing compared to what Christ has done for me. Nothing. This is no pity-party but a celebration. To see my man trust in his God moved my heart towards Jesus. Moved my heart to an even deeper investment into this church, which I did not know possible.
Something you must know. As leaders, Mike, Heather, Jeff, Mark, Bethany, Loren & I...we love the individuals in our church. I love real deep. And Jesus, through this church, has taught me how to love even deeper. With deep love comes deep pain. As a leader, you love your sheep. You invest in your sheep. You pray for them, you ache with them, you rejoice with them. You spend your last $4 on a homeless girl who calls Corvallis Church her home, just to give her a quiche & a hot cup of coffee. You invest in someone and they leave, sometimes without letting you know. With deep love comes a lot of risk for deep pain.
With complete commitment comes complete sacrifice. Sacrifice of time, pride, selfishness, people's opinions.. Oh opinions. I am humbled to be a part of this, I am humbled to invite others into this beautiful journey. I am honored to sacrifice for the sake of spending more time actively being good news. It hurts sometimes...Sunday we sang Oceans. And it was a little painful to sing...but in a beautiful & humbling way. "Lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, where ever you may call me." Oh those words! Those words. We are completely committed to Jesus and with that commitment brings sacrifice.
BUT. The amount of joy that this deep love brings, the amount of fruit & complete blessing that this commitment brings... these things altogether outweigh the sacrifice & pain. It discounts it. It's worth every minute of it.
I choose this life. I choose serving this church & this community & this city. Honored am I, to have the opportunity to do so. And I pray that I am able to continue to.