the gift ’09

Each year at Christmas, we give a special offering @ The Ridge called, quite simply, The Gift. This is a special offering over and above our regular tithes that is used for some very specific ministries, missions, and needs. With the economy being in such turmoil and many people struggling or at the very least making more conservative financial choices, giving at all churches and non-profits has suffered this year. The Ridge is no exception…”But God”…has always provided! He is Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Provides…and He always keeps His promises.

Many churches have had to close this year because of economics. However, I don’t believe that is God’s plan for The Ridge! I believe that the most exciting days we can imagine are ahead of us. God is moving in our community and His hand is at work. Lives are being transformed, marriages and families strengthened and restored, and people’s perspective on God, themselves and others is being changed. It is awesome to be a part of God’s Kingdom work!

We have had a tough year financially. For the past 7 months, we have operated “in the red.” Our Stewardship Team has done a great job of helping us navigate through these difficult waters. We have cut spending by 30-40 %. In addition, we have had to make some tough choices in other areas. This year, I had to tell our staff that we would not be doing any bonuses at Christmas. I realize that many of you have had that same thing told you at your job too. I hate doing that, because I really want to take care of our staff, but it is what it is. We are trying to avoid cutting salaries in 2010. We still want to continue moving forward in areas of community outreach and family ministries as well as missions and church planting. We like everyone else just have to prioritize. And I want you Ridgers to know that we are doing that. “But God…”

That is where The Gift comes in this year. I have attached this PDF of The Gift brochure, if you have not already received one. This has all the details of what we are planning and praying for. Read it and PRAY about what God would have you give. I want to challenge you to give your greatest gift to the Lord this Christmas by matching the largest amount you plan on spending this year OR matching the total amount you are spending this year and giving it to The Lord. One thing I know for sure by watching Black Friday is that people can and will spend on what’s important to them. What will you give to The Gift? You are investing in something that God is doing that is eternal. Remember to remain faithful in your regular tithing, as God will honor and bless that. But I am simply asking you to pray about what God would have you give over and above that.

One thing I believe God wants is for us to BE HERE. I believe that He wants us to be here for the community, for other churches who need help, for people who don’t know Him, for those who need Hope, and for the church (that’s us, by the way!), and for the world!

I am challenging you to give BIG on December 13th or 20th and to commit to give faithfully throughout 2010. We are also starting a new series on January 10th called Squeezed: what to do when your bailout doesn’t come. It will be very practical and will give you a fresh perspective from God’s Word as well as put some tools in your hands that will help you and your family.

What will be the greatest gift you will give this Christmas? Will you give it to the Lord?

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