1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.
Dear New Community Family,
Over the past 17 years, we have seen New Community grow from a church of a handful of people to one that is impacting a multitude of people from all walks of life. Along the way, we have seen lives changed by the power of God working through you, as well as through others in our church. We have seen marriages restored, brokenness healed, loneliness defeated and lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We praise God for His faithfulness all these years!
At a time in which the economy is struggling and many experiencing the financial “pinch,” our natural tendency is to hold back. However, at New Community, we have always believed that our hope and trust are not in the economy or the government, but in God’s gracious provision for our lives (Philippians 4:19). This trust has enabled men and women of New Community to give sacrificially during tough economic times, allowing us to continue our ministry of bringing hope, healing, and redemption both spiritually and physically, to many people in Chicago and beyond.
So as we come to the end of 2019, we will be collecting a special “Christmas Offering.” The purpose of the offering is twofold. First, we hope to close a significant budget gap and finish the year on a strong note. What a testimony it would be to say that we trusted God for His provision and met our budgeted goals! Second, we want to join God in the wonderful work that He is already doing among us, and position ourselves to grow and multiply our ministry in 2020.
I often remind you, church family, that when you give, you are not giving to New Community, but giving through New Community. Your generosity allows us to do God’s kingdom work! So you might be wondering, “What am I giving to? What is God doing through New Community?” If I were to share with you everything that God is doing, this letter would be 10 pages long! But here is just a snapshot of the incredible work that our Heavenly Father is doing among us.
As many of you know we have fully transitioned from Small Groups to “Life Groups” and “Micro Groups” this year. We see these groups as the place where disciples are made. The majority of Life Groups went through a curriculum called Embodying Our Faith: Building Beloved Community and studied themes such as Community as Grace, Mutuality, and Radical Hospitality. In conjunction with the curriculum, Life Groups were invited to participate in activities that provided members a chance to practice grace, mutuality, and hospitality with our neighbors of Chicago (at-large). These events included things like community dinners at Open Arms Ministry, advocacy events, visiting churches on the West or South side of Chicago, and supporting youth experiencing incarceration at a local juvenile detention center.
Here is a snapshot of what God is doing to build community and make disciples of Jesus Christ.
91 New Life Group Signups (number of people that signed up for a newly formed Fall Group)
46 Pre-existing Life Group Members
36 Leaders in the Life Group Ministry
183 TOTAL participants in Life Groups and/or Stand-Alone Micro-Groups
We have also seen explosive growth in our Children and Youth ministries! God has been at work powerfully through all the volunteers that serve faithfully to serve all the kids and their families. We recently celebrated the work that the kids did in raising $4500 to support families in crisis along the US-Mexico border! The kids are living out the mission of New Community! In addition, the kids are learning how to be reconcilers in our world through service projects. First they partnered with Open Arms to provide toiletry bags for men and women experiencing homelessness. Second, they expressed love for our neighbors by gifting the church's Francisco Ave. neighbors with potted plants. Third, they assembled school supplies for migrant children along the US and Mexico border. The kids are also regularly memorizing scripture so that the word of God digs deep into their hearts and praying each week for a school that the kids attend.
Here is a snapshot of what God is doing among us to disciple future leaders for the Kingdom!
120 TOTAL Kids and Youth call New Community their home
75 Kids and Youth attend New Community weekly
60 Adult Volunteers serve on the Kid City Ministry Team
8 Youth Volunteers serve on the Kid City Ministry Team
10 6th-12th Graders are being regularly discipled through Micro Groups
God is powerfully at work among us! Your generosity will help us position ourselves to grow and multiply our ministry even more in 2020. Your generosity will help us continue to expand our Kid City Ministry, develop and launch additional Life Groups and Micro Groups to disciple passionate followers of Jesus Christ, and better care for “the least of these” in our city. But what we can do corporately for the city of Chicago and then the world through our ministry, will ultimately be determined by what we do individually for the ministry through our gifts and resources. Will you begin to pray now about what God is calling you give over and above your regular giving to this special offering, and thus, allow God to stretch your faith and trust in Him?
As part of God’s plan to grow the faith of the people in His church, He calls us to sacrificial giving from time to time. This special offering is an opportunity for us to trust our heavenly Father, grow in our faith, and prepare ourselves for what God wants to do through our church in 2020. We want to position ourselves to make a greater impact for the Kingdom in this city.
The regular offering is the proportional amount (the “tithe” or some other set percentage) that we set apart on a systematic basis and regularly give throughout the year. From time to time there are opportunities that arise for us to give in a sacrificial way. This special “Christmas Offering” is one of those occasions. It should be over and above what you regularly and normally give.
Prayerfully consider a sacrificial gift that will stretch your faith. The precise amount you give is between you and God. This special offering will involve everyone. That means that for some folks in our church family, giving $5 will stretch them. For others it may be $5,000. The issue is not equal giving, but equal sacrifice. What can you give that will stretch your faith?
You are welcome to contribute to the Christmas Offering anytime before December 31, 2019.
There are two ways you can give:
All gifts to New Community Covenant Church, whether via the regular offering or this special offering, are completely tax-deductible. Be sure your gift arrives at our office before December 30, 2019 to insure that it can be applied to your 2019 Giving Statement. You are not required to utilize a tax deduction for your gift, but it is available for all gifts.
We have reserved parking on W. Logan Blvd, designated with orange cones between N. Francisco Ave. and Sacramento Ave. Parking is also available on W. Schubert Ave., Sacramento Ave. and W. Diversey Ave. within approximately 2 blocks of our church.