Shopping season is upon us. Here come the offers via email, web ads, and flyers. Restaurants and retailers want your money, churches and ministries as well, and without apology, I do, too.
Of all the great ministries in the world, I want you to give to our particular humble ministry to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. More than that, I desperately want you to give, but…I have two necessary conditions with a preferred third condition attached to my request. But before I tell you what they are, there is one thing to know about my request: it is that you understand that this is just a request, albeit a passionate one, but a request still.
Now here are the conditions. First, I would like you to give willingly, that is, not under compulsion, and secondly, I would like you to give cheerfully. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul tells the Corinthian church that “each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I never want to be accused of putting those infamous “guilt trips” on people. That would be compulsion. You are under no obligation to give to us. We are asking for gifts, not tithes. But I will always challenge you to consider giving to our cause. I may even challenge you to re-examine your budget and your discretionary spending habits. Here’s a challenge just for fun: find ten things sitting around your house that are collecting dust, put them in a pile, add up the approximate cost and think about what that could have done for the kingdom (Yes, I have done it myself, and I am embarrassed with the results — we’ll keep you posted on our next yard sale!). Here’s a challenging thought: How much designer coffee do we drink per week, per month, per year?
It is ultimately between you and the Lord what you should be doing with your money. You are the steward over the money God gave you, not me. All I can do is ask.
Thirdly, regular giving is what we are asking. Willingly, cheerfully, and regularly. We can’t get to the mission field unless we know that the funds will be there for at least for a four-year period. No amount is too small. One of our dearest supporters gives $5.00 per month — a true widow’s mite. You have no idea how encouraged we are because of her and her faithfulness. The Lord is teaching us something. Never be embarrassed for giving even a little.
Jesus tells us all that “we have not because we ask not” (Matt 7:7). We already asked Him; now we are asking you. Would you truly pray about giving willingly, cheerfully, and regularly so that we may plant a church in Cherokee, NC with the Cherokee people?
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. According to advertising gurus, I am supposed to fill this post with some really good pictures of things that will either inspire you or give you a warm fuzzy feeling to keep you interested in reading, and my word count should not exceed 300. So I will try (and fail) to meet those industry standards and hope you are smarter than a fifth grader and trust you will take some time to read on. If you don’t think you can persevere, jump down to the #ThePoint section below. [insert cute winking smiley face here]
According to our last count on Facebook, we have 603 friends. That means we either sent a friend request to you or we received one from you. Either way, I am glad we are friends. [insert lots of smiley faces in a row here]
I never really used FB much. It was mostly Regina who did all the liking and commenting. I saw many of the viral videos of flash-mobs singing in the mall and tear-jerking pics of cute animals. But over the last six months, I have come to understand the potential social media can have for the kingdom of God. Since March we have been posting about our new direction that the Lord has taken us. So we post, and post, and post, yet with limited response. But then I learned that only 20% of our posts ever get to our ‘Friends.’ I am not even sure what that statistic means. Does it mean that only 20 out of 100 posts get to all 603 friends, or does it mean that 100% of our posts get to 20% or our friends? [insert funny face that looks confused]
#Warning: By the time you finish reading this very long sentence, I will have reached my maximum word count of 300, and I will lose a significant amount of my reading friends to boredom. [insert sad smiley face]
But that is not all that bad, because I just got a FB notification that someone just ‘commented’ on one of Melissa Gill’s photos, which I must say are always beautiful. Behold…
Melissa’s inspiring and envy-inducing photo of her neighborhood in Alaska, which 56 of her friends ‘Like.’
Now to the point. As 20% of you may already know, we are going to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to plant a church. We won’t have a worldwide ministry with books, conferences, alliances, and lots of free stuff, nor will we ever reach that level. Nor will there be trendy t-shirts with pictures of Calvin et al smoking a peace pipe with Geronimo and Sitting Bull and a cool Latin phrase signifying ‘Reformation on the Reservations.’ And for the last nail in our coffin, we probably won’t even have an app. Sorry. But we hope our church will raise up missionaries that will go through Native America both on and off the reservations and even throughout the world. Then maybe an app.
As missionaries we need to raise our support to get us there and keep us there. So far we are at about 28% of our goal. Many of our FB friends are already part of that number. For the rest, this is our plea to you:
Would you prayerfully consider pledging $12, $25, $50, $100, $200 per month for at least a four-year period?
If every one of our friends would pledge even at the lowest amount, we would be packing our bags tomorrow. No amount is too small. Really. But don’t wait for the other person to do it. We are depending on you. Churches only account for about 30% of a missionary’s budget. You are the 70%.
If you really have no money to give, you can still help us by connecting us with others who may have a desire to see the kingdom spread throughout the Native American reservations.
Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6
Here’s some other things you could do:
Do you attend a Bible study with a mix of people from different churches? Tell them about what we are doing. We will send you some of our prayer cards.
Talk to your pastor.
Consider having a home gathering at your house with us to share our vision with your friends.
And here is the easiest thing you could do: Re-post our FB posts to your friends. Remember that dreaded 20% number.
On the upper right hand corner of the pages of this blog is a widget. Click it. It gives you updates whenever they happen. Re-post.
We can do more with Facebook and all social media than pour water on our heads and create flash mobs. Please pray about what you can do and act on it before another trendy viral post hits. [insert long string of happy faces with ice water being poured on them as they sing the Hallelujah chorus in a mall]
Truly and seriously, thank you for taking time to read this post and prayerfully considering joining our support team. If you decide to give, simply go to our Giving page. If you would rather call (as we prefer), our number is 407-416-1482 or 407-416-2348. We would love to talk with you.