You may not consider using the word “exciting” to describe the season we are living in, and some may even consider me tone deaf. However, I want to share why I believe you need to hear this exciting news and what it is.
Back in February of this year, we began a season of corporate prayer and fasting as a church community in order to align our hearts and minds with Jesus – particularly around His mission of creating access for every man, woman and child to the whole gospel of who Jesus is. And then…
March and April were not easy months to navigate as a minister of the church. I must say, I had incredible fears about what was going to transpire and concerns about whether the resources would continue to be available for the ministry of HarvestDowntown. My own personal finances are obviously connected to the finances of the church and this caused some angst – but God…
There was some question about whether it was necessary or appropriate for our church community to apply for the CARES Act loan. We considered the question whether we could, in good faith, apply for the loan because the church community of HarvestDowntown was continuing to support the ministry of HarvestDowntown at a consistent level, and we had enough in reserves should we need it. We decided as elders to let God impress the importance of giving and the value of generosity upon His people and trust Him in this tumultuous season. And we prayed.
During this season, we have been able to continue all our ministries as a church community. A great deal of credit goes to an incredibly creative staff who has flexed into this season with grace, faithfulness, service, and love. And much of the credit belongs to the church community who has continued to support the ministry of HarvestDowntown through prayer, participation, and giving (the 3 characteristics of church membership).
Though we as a church family and staff have disagreed about the many ways forward, at the end of the debate, we all agree that the local church exists to create access and proximity to the whole gospel of Jesus. To this end, we are committed to pressing forward in our goal of creating access, regardless of our differing opinions.
I understand the struggles that many of you are facing with this pandemic. There is fear, frustration, disillusionment, anger, and passion that all seem to pull at the fabric of the community of faith. Many are struggling with a tension of concern for our neighbors and our desperate need for the church family. Some are struggling with a desire to embrace while being unable to put their immunocompromised family member at risk. We are in need of some good news.
Here is the exciting news!
During this season, giving has continued at a consistent level so that nobody on staff needed to take a pay cut. Furthermore, many of you have chosen to give above and beyond your normal giving to support our Creating Access Initiative. The giving to this initiative allowed us to pay for the leveling of the floor, order new chairs, send a large sum to our district in support of church multiplication in our region, and pay off the mortgage on our building.
In case you missed that – we are debt free! AND, we gave money toward creating access for those outside our city.
Now, HarvestDowntown, let us not grow weary in doing good, but let us press on to create access for even more people and people groups. Let us be consumed with a debt to love one another – especially as we see the day approaching. Let us continue in our generosity toward one another and to the ministry of our church family to our neighborhoods, city, nation, and world. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us with our eyes fixed on Jesus – the Author and Editor of our faith. Be encouraged, for you have not yet suffered to the point of shedding your own blood, but trust that the suffering you have endured will serve to grow perseverance in you and shape your character; so that you will have a hope that will not leave you disappointed – a hope rooted and founded upon Jesus Himself.
I told you that I had exciting news!