In most of my blogs I write about a Bible passage I read that is jumping off the page for me or thoughts about church planting or a chapter from a theological book I am reading. This blog isn’t about any of those topics. Instead it’s about how God moved this past Sunday. Let me explain…
Every month our church “tithes on our tithe” which means we give away not just 10% but 15% of every dollar given to The Eastside Vineyard Church. One of the organizations that gets a check from us every month is “Love146” to help in their efforts to combat child sex slavery and exploitation (more commonly known as human trafficking).
Over the summer I began reading Built to Last by Jim Collins. He challenges companies and non-profits to have BHAGs, or Big Hairy Audacious Goals that your organization can rally around. At the exact same time I was reading about BHAGs and praying about what one would look like at our church, I received an e-mail from Jessica Gortat, leader of our church’s anti-human trafficking task force. She said the task force was brainstorming about fundraising ideas for Love146. One of them involved holding an event at The New Rink in Shelby Township.
To be honest, initially I was very skeptical about this idea. I mean, who roller skates nowadays? This event might have worked in 1987, but not in 2012. And how could we make any money for Love 146 anyway, after you factor in rental of that facility for a night and other overhead costs? But as I prayed about it and talked to our church’s Advisory Board about it, it became clear that this was what the Father was doing and we needed to join Him in His work.
Our BHAG for the fundraiser: $5,000. (and for the record this truly was a big, hairy, audacious goal that would have been impossible to reach without God showing up).
With this goal in mind our task force began pounding the pavement, asking local businesses to donate goods and services for a silent auction. At the same time I contacted the guys at Love 146 and asked if their president and co-founder (Rob Morris) could come to our church to preach in the morning and attend the fundraiser at night. And the Advisory Board agreed that to maximize money given to fundraiser, our church would absorb all of the costs related to the event (rental of The New Rink, plane tickets for Rob Morris and Matthew Miller, printing costs of flyers, etc.) so that every penny raised would go directly to Love 146 and not get lost in the overhead of the event.
So everyone in our church had September 30th circled on their calendars. We prayed. We fasted.
And we held our breath.
162 folks showed up at The Eastside Vineyard on Sunday morning. Not a record-breaking crowd for us, but a solid turnout for sure. After preaching a powerful sermon titled “Dreams of God” (which you can download for free at tevchurch.org), we passed the pouches for a love offering for Love 146.
Our counting team counted and counted and counted. The total?
$8,025!!! At first I thought this was the total for both our church and for Love 146. I was wrong. That was the total just for Love 146. God showed up big time, moving in the hearts of our attendees to be radically generous.
But He wasn’t done.
Then we held the fundraiser at The New Rink later that night. How many folks were going to show up? 50? 100? 200? And how many silent auction items would remain bid-less at the end of the night? A dozen? Two dozen? More?
Side note: my God is too small.
We estimate between 275 and 300 people came to The New Rink and every single item in the silent auction received at least one bid. Many of them had bidding wars (done in Christian love of course!).
The grand total raised that night between the tickets-at-the-door, the 50/50 raffle, random donations, and the silent auction: $6,848!
So the grand total raised for Love 146 that morning and night: $14,873!!!! Almost triple our BHAG.
God is good.
All the time.
***Join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. I’ve had two weeks off from preaching so I am raring to go! We’ll be picking up where we left off on Matthew 16. On a set of verses that are critical to understand as followers of Jesus. The ones where Jesus tells Peter “Get behind me Satan.” That warning wasn’t just for Peter. October 7th. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***