The Target of this Year's Harvest Offering
One year ago, the elders announced our simple, but all-encompassing objective for First Family–to mobilize 800 people for the gospel. This is an audacious goal that cannot be accomplished in two years or 10 years. It is a lifetime goal that is in complete synchronization with the Great Commission.
A year ago we outlined for you the purpose for 2016-17, which is to lay the foundation for the future, both strategically and financially.
Strategically, the elders and GO Team have worked extensively this year with Matthew Ellison of 1615 Ministries to develop a strategic plan for our church. Through this process, we identified four spheres of influence that encompass local, state, national, and global fields of opportunity. To give each of these areas focus and energy, each sphere will be led by a team that is passionate about reaching this sphere of influence with the gospel. We are excited to begin outlining the details of our mobilization plan during our Remember 2017 service on January 4.
Financially, we need to create a solid financial base from which to operate. Our goal is to increase the funds available for mobilization to $200,000 a year starting in 2018. This is a 100 percent increase from the funds available in 2015. These funds will be used to support a portfolio of mobilization projects within the spheres of influence.
What is most exciting about our future as a church is that, Lord willing, we will see each and every one of you mobilized for the gospel. Many of us will experience missions first hand by going on a short-term mission trip. Many of us will get involved in local ministries that minister to the poor and vulnerable within our community. Many of you will become a link in the chain of support with our global partners as we seek to provide personal, real-time prayer and emotional support to these families who serve overseas. And some of you will commit to go, either as a part of a church-planting team, a support ministry here within the states or overseas, or to a closed country where the message of the gospel shines the brightest.
This is the start of a new era for our church. For the last 10 years the focus of our planning and giving was to build the necessary tools in order for First Family to have a base of operations here in Ankeny. Through the Lord’s blessing and your giving, this has been accomplished. Now, it is time to shift the focus of our planning and our giving to what the Lord has called us to as Christians–to go and make disciples in all the world.
On November 20, our church will give to our annual Harvest Offering. For this year and next year, the purpose of our special offerings is to build our savings as a church family. Granted, that is not an exciting objective, but it is necessary as we build the financial foundation for 2018. Our goal for this special offering is $75,000.
Concurrently, we are striving to grow our regular, weekly giving to $24,400 by the end of 2017. At the conclusion of the third quarter this year, we are averaging right at $21,000 a week in our weekly giving. During this year and next year, we are committed to holding our expenses to our 2015 budget levels. It is our prayer and hope that one year from now we can report to you that we are closing in on a weekly offering of $24,400 and can increase our budget for mobilization in 2018 to $200,000.
The purpose of all of this is to give intensity and focus to our mobilization efforts. For the last 10 years, the focus of our planning and giving was to build the necessary tools in order for First Family to have a base of operations here in Ankeny. Through the Lord’s blessing and your giving, this has been accomplished. Now, we need the focus of our planning and our giving on accomplishing the task the Lord has called us to as Christians–to go and make disciples in all the world.
The Lord has blessed our church with many children and students. These kids are growing up in godly homes with parents who are serious about the Great Commission. This is the next generation of Christians who will serve the body of Christ in locations here in Iowa and around the world. This is our prayer and our goal. Join with us in praying this prayer.
- The Elders of First Family