“For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:12-15
2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 is Paul’s appeal to the Corinth church to participate in a special collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. He uses the Macedonian churches as an example that gave out of extreme poverty and even beyond their ability to this special collection (2 Corinthians 8:2-3). The New Testament church was a movement that planted churches all over the known world. With the task of world evangelism came the incredible need for full-time preachers and the funds necessary to start new congregations (1 Corinthians 9:14). Excitingly, the Gainesville International Christian Church (GICC) is part of an international movement of churches dedicated to winning the world for Christ in our generation. This will take an extreme sacrifice of time, energy, and yes even money.
Starting today the GICC will begin to give 10% of the money we take in from our contributions to the central missions fund. This fund goes to support world missions by helping fund new church plantings and continue to support third world congregations. On June 14th, like Paul, the GICC leadership is calling the congregation to give 25 times their weekly contribution. This amount God-willing will allow us to only have one Special Missions Contribution this year instead of two. Fifteen times of this collection will stay in Gainesville to continue to put on more full-time preachers, start new ministries, and accommodate our meeting location needs. Ten times of this collection will go to world missions! God willing in 2015, the Holy Spirit will plant Moscow, Russia in February; Manila, Philippines in June; and Stockholm, Sweden in September! 12 of the “Crown of Thorns” will have been planted leaving three cities left to be planted in that project: Johannesburg (2016), Cairo or another Middle East Capital (2016), and Hong Kong (2017). In seven years time God’s movement has spread to every populated continent in the world with over 50 churches. This is what our Special Missions Contribution goes to support!
“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” 2 Corinthians 8:2-4
Notice that the individuals in the Macedonian churches were able to still give sacrificially during severe trial and poverty. In fact the Spirit says that they gave beyond their ability. This shows me that it isn’t an issue of how much money you have when it comes to giving, but it is an issue of how much faith you have. Do you believe that God can provide the money necessary to turn in your 25 times Special Missions Contribution by June 14th? What is impossible with man is possible with our mighty God! Here are some keys to prepare for the 2015 Special Missions Contribution:
1. Prepare and plan now
“Commit your plans to the LORD and they will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
Have you budgeted for the Special Missions? Have you came up with a plan? 25x your weekly contribution takes planning now. Below are some ideas to plan for Special Missions Contribution 2015:
- Keep a change jar labeled “Special Missions” - Keep one at home and one at work.. Co-workers can contribute to your change jar. When you come home from the day and empty your pockets you can throw in all your loose change. If you do this today, you would be surprised how much it will add up to by June 14th.
- Take an extra job – What if you decided to work a weekend job for a couple weeks? God would certainly be pleased if you worked to raise money for his kingdom.
- Give Plasma – Did you know you can make anywhere from $35 to $100 in a week giving plasma. Not only can you help someone in need but you also raise money for God’s kingdom! What if you gave plasma every week strictly for Special Missions all the way until June 14th?
- Come to our Saturday Fundraisers – Starting February 7th this Saturday, we will be meeting to pray, fundraise, and work to raise money for our Special Missions Contribution. We will be using our 5K Run as a fundraiser again as well. Envelopes will be handed out soon.
- Pray – The verse above says God guarantees success to our plans when they are committed to Him. Take time this week to pray that God will give you wisdom, faith, and the deeds necessary to raise your 25 times contribution.
2. Read the Good News Email
“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” Proverbs 25:25
Let’s face it., for many talking about money and giving sacrificially can weary the soul. We understand that we are giving to God ultimately but it helps inspire us to know what our money is producing. The Bible teaches that good news from other places refreshes the soul! Every couple weeks the SoldOut Movement puts out a “Good News Email” that chronicles all the baptisms, miracles, and amazing things God is doing in all the churches. When we see all the souls being saved it inspires us to give sacrificially to continue God’s work. I want to challenge every disciple to read the Good News Email. If you do not receive it in your email sign up at our web site www.gainesvilleicc.org. When John the Baptist started doubting whether Jesus was the Messiah as he was in prison, Jesus sent one of John’s disciples back with the message, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5). Jesus understood we must hear the reports of what God is doing to help us with our faith. Maybe you doubt Special Missions, you simply need to go hear and see for yourself what God is doing around the world and here in Gainesville.
3. Special Missions is why you are here
“Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:38
The GICC was able to be planted last year because the Christians in Orlando took up a Special Missions Contribution. 48 were baptized, 10 placed membership, and 1 was restored to God last year alone! This is all the power of God, but disciples worked many hours fundraising so you and I can now worship here saved in Gainesville. It is time for us to give back now and do the same for others. How many disciples will be saved because of our generosity? We forget sometimes that it takes an incredible amount of money to start a church, sustain it, and put on full-time preachers. Gratitude for past gifts will help motivate us to have a heart to blow out our 25 times Special Missions Contribution.
Church: We are calling on the congregation to raise over $36,000 (25x our weekly) by June 14th. Let’s begin praying, planning, and raising the funds now. If anyone can give early, please do so as there is already a need in our movement and we have agreed togive a couple thousand dollars early in February and March. God will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.
The scripture used at the beginning of this article shows by our submission to this call we will glorify God and experience the surpassing grace of God. As Paul said, Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!