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A miracle in the moment…

Hope you were there last Sunday morning to hear the announcement of the Ripple results. Here it is again – we had 403 commitment cards turned in totaling $5,752,558!

This is, to quote Michael Vilardo (our veteran campaign consultant), “nothing short of a miracle of God.” He said, “If you add up all that has been committed/given in Promise, Ripple, and the ongoing giving to ministry over the concurrent years of these two capital campaigns, the total sacrificial giving of so many at Whitewater is nothing short of a miracle of God. I do not say this lightly. There is an exciting level of commitment and sacrifice by so many. God is moving in many lives. There is much to be thankful for as we witness all that is happening.”

As I said last Sunday, this is a tremendous number and we have much to celebrate. We still have some work to do to get all our debt paid off, but we are off to a great start. We can start paying down debt, Solving 7 world problems, and investing in ministry bridging here on our campus. This $5.7 million commitment also keeps us on track with our stated goal of paying off our entire Phase 2 debt within seven years. This is a much faster timeframe for paying off a new building than most churches are able to achieve. (If you didn’t turn in a Ripple Commitment card last Sunday, it’s not too late to submit your commitment electronically.)

Beyond the $5.7 million, we also anticipate an additional $2.5 million to come in from those folks who will complete their pledges for The Promise. So let’s right-size what just happened – on the heels of the GOOD and Promise campaigns, we’ve seen almost $15 million dollars committed in a five-year period of time (and that doesn’t even include General Fund giving). That’s unprecedented for a church our size.

This is our chance to exercise our faith. In fact, faith is a gigantic part of this whole Solve 7/Ripple thing we are doing. We are counting on God to provide for all of us individually, as well as the church collectively. Check out the updated FAQs on the website from time to time for additional info.

I received a wonderful email from a ministry leader last Monday with some wise and encouraging thoughts:

David – I was in Harbortown both services yesterday and missed the announcement, but I’m stoked to hear the total! I’ll look forward to watching online when it’s posted.

God is at work and active, and the narrative is far from over. In this season of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the journey of being led, grateful that God isn’t finished leading, and that He’s still calling us to a deeper maturity as a body including the area of giving. 

We are certainly battling an enemy who plants thoughts of entitlement and displaced responsibility as evidenced through our culture. God was victorious in 403 families’ hearts this fall over the enemy’s plans, and that will certainly be celebrated. We can focus our prayers to protect that spirit of generosity that was awakened, some for the first time. Also, we can pray that God moves in the lives of those who chose not to give, to soften their hearts, to remove the barriers of giving, and to crush the plans of the enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy. 

A little part of me wonders too that if we had hit the $9 million mark, would our church body be tempted to think that we accomplished such a monumental task under our own power? Hopefully not. I’ll humbly plead with God that we need Him at work in our church and community now as much as any other time, for without Him our efforts are nothing!

Profound and powerful words. I’m not sure I/we realize the miracle in this moment of ministry here. I think the movement of God around Whitewater has become so normal, there is a temptation to become desensitized to the unfolding drama of God. Outsider leaders looking in may marvel, but we sometimes yawn. (Or worse yet – grumble.)

This week I plan to express my thankfulness and display an attitude of gratitude for what God has done and is doing among us. He’s rippling out everywhere. So should we.

P.S. We have a goal to double the number of e-givers investing in the mission before the end of the year. We had 18 brand new e-givers sign up this week! Come and join us – automate the important!

P.P.S. Hope one of our Christmas Eve services will be the anchor for your family activity next month. We will have services at 9:30am, 11:15am, and 5:00pm. All services will be identical and note that there is no Harbortown KIDS or Student Union programming that day. Have you seen all of the wonderful parts of our new building yet? Many haven’t, so we are offering an opportunity before or after the morning services on Christmas Eve for you to see all that God has richly provided for us here. Come early or stay late for this behind-the-scenes tour.