In 2008, I was asked to prayerfully consider taking on the position of Church Administrator – three times. Twice my responses were, “The Lord is using me where I’m at.” After the 3rd invite, I wondered if the Lord was trying to tell me something. So, I met with the Search Committee, and everything went well, until I was asked, “What about the 2nd floor?”
Now, this 2nd floor was to have been completed when the building was originally constructed some 10 years prior. At the time of my interview, the church was paying on a 7-digit loan. The cost for the 2nd floor was estimated around $700-800K. The floor was 40K square feet of nothing! My knowledge of construction was zero. The Great Recession of 2008 had begun. There was no money for me to work with. The primary industries in our area were chemical plants. They were all belt-tightening, letting employees go, or offering early retirement. Regrettably, this had a pivotal effect on local business, i.e., stores, restaurants, etc. Even churches! “Um, Lord, where do I (we) begin?”
As I began to pray about all this, another issue arose. The church would not take out a 2nd loan. “We will do work as money comes in!” Oh my, this will take forever!! I actually had one faithful member tell me that this project would cause the church to split. Oy veh! My questions to God were now, “How do I encourage people to give in the midst of a recession? Layoffs are happening weekly. People are worried and scared. How do I earn the trust of the congregants? I’ve no experience with construction or fundraising. Oh Lord, please hear my prayers.”
Well…..within 7 years, this 2nd floor of nothing was now complete, fully furnished and occupied, with children, teens and adults. Extra payments were made towards the original loan. Money was available to refurbish another 20K square foot building – going from its 50s look to being more contemporary and user friendly. There was even money left over for future small projects. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? To accomplish this, it took the power (mercy, favor & protection) of the Lord and the faithfulness of His people. We did it with small gifts of $10, large gifts of $100K and everything in between. The credit of this incredible journey goes to a church body (~225 on any given Sunday) who made the decision to trust the Lord: with their personal finances, the finances of the church, and the finances for this building project, in the midst of difficult economic times. They did what others said was impossible. BTW: the church did not split.
There are parallels of my story to 4Tucson. As in 2008, we see a plethora of uncertainties today. But, as I just wrote about this congregation doing the impossible; one of 4Tucson’s guiding principles is “We try what others say is impossible.”
4Tucson’s vision is “to see a city aligned with God’s ways, so that His peace and prosperity are experienced by all generations”. This seems daunting AND impossible. Let’s add 4Tucson’s mission which is to “unite and mobilize Christians, empowering them to put biblical principles into action as we engage our city’s most systemic problems.” Some might think……hmmm, this could be possible. Then come more questions. Who? What? Where? When? How? We are in what many call a “microwave society” where we want change NOW! Instant gratification! And we’ve all seen how this attitude has NOT worked by just watching or reading the news over the past few years. We see in scripture that Jesus/Yeshua was with His disciples for 3 years. But, Peter, John & Paul’s work of sharing about Yeshua continued on for decades. Sharing the Good News took time to spread throughout the nations.
I am NOT equating 4Tucson’s mission with the ministries of Yeshua and the other disciples. What I am saying is that it takes TIME for changes to take place. However, our flesh gets impatient and we want to see changes now. Any kind of change will do! While it does takes TIME, it also takes PEOPLE and FINANCES. There’s a link below that will take you to the Impact Statements of what 4Tucson is involved in and has accomplished. But, to make greater impact we need people – members, volunteers and staff. Just as the disciples couldn’t do it all themselves, neither can 4Tucson. Therefore, this message is for the Body of Christ. Please join me in praying for 4Tucson’s fundraising campaign. These monies are critical to hiring directors and support staff, AND to providing events and programs we all want to see take place – so that change happens. Please join me in this prayer. We can’t do this by ourselves. We need your prayers. We need the Lord’s provision.
The closing chapter of my story. Five years ago, less than 2 years after the completion of the 2nd floor, Hurricane Harvey hit. This church opened its doors to many families who were unable to get into their homes. Most stayed on the 2nd floor. When I heard this – I wept because I realized that the Lord wanted to use this facility for more than just Sunday & Wednesday activities. His greater purpose was to help His “children” in their time of need: to be cared for and safe. Our Lord always sees the entire picture and knows every need. We see only in part.
This newsletter was one example of faith and trust – trusting our Lord to do what man deems impossible. I truly believe God wants to use 4Tucson in our city. Most of us (even me) are myopic as to the how. In other words, we don’t see the greater picture. But, our Lord, who is faithful in ALL things, knows what He wants to accomplish in and through 4Tucson. Link is available below to support the fundraising campaign; and, my thanks to all those who have already given.