Pastor’s Column: Possibilities Instead of Roadblocks
New Hope Church shares how they were able to accomplish becoming debt-free through a 4-year initiative called “Rich in Generosity.”
God is abundantly generous. We cannot out give him. And the key is that he is the owner of it all anyway! “…see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” Malachi 3:10.
A broken furnace. Maybe you’ve experienced the emotions and angst that come with such a significant expenditure. Back in 2011, New Hope Church (NHC) faced the sad truth. The clock was ticking on our 34-year old beast that had more than outlived its final repair. It was almost painful. Thousands of dollars going into, not ministry, but an HVAC system.
In ways only orchestrated by God, that sorrow quickly turned upside down. A small band of the NHC leadership team grew in excitement as they watched a new vision unfold. What if this HVAC dilemma was about something much more than maintenance and heat for the cold Minnesota winters ahead?
In the months following, the NHC family worked with Dave Viland, Christian Investors Financial (EFCA) and embarked on an unexpected journey of discovering the very real difference between transactional and transformational generosity. The latter gives out of obedience. But how much more exciting to experience lives transformed through joyful, Holy Spirit-inspired generosity. Truthfully, most of us are hardwired to be self-interested. We work diligently to learn, earn and acquire. It requires a significant transformational experience to move us out of that perspective.
Bathed in prayer, NHC families committed to sacrificially give, over and beyond normal weekly giving. And the goal wasn’t just a new HVAC system anymore. The unleashed vision grew bolder as we reminded ourselves that we serve a God who sees possibilities instead of roadblocks. We began to imagine unbounded ministry expansion – church plants, deeper connections through small group initiatives and additional campus improvements. And, as audacious as it felt, we imagined eliminating our $3.9 million facilities mortgage debt. Was it too much to dream about what God might lead us to do with an additional $500,000 a year? As crazy as it all looked on paper, this was the kind of inspiration that fueled what we called, “Rich in Generosity.”
New Hope Church saw God provide for that $3.9 million goal, including the much needed HVAC system. But it didn’t stop there. Before the three years was up, the initial vision was met and exceeded. We watched the reality of those dreams unfold as God lavishly poured out true generosity through his people. One after the other, there were inspiring stories of met needs, amazing provision and transformed hearts.
Today we are grateful as we recognize this experience has changed our church family forever. That’s called transformation!
We’re coming to the close of Rich in Generosity, but our story continues. We are inspired with new freedom to introduce people to Jesus, grow spiritually and serve God in our community and around the world, all without the weight of large debts. There’s nothing quite as exciting as facing a substantial obstacle and then watching God turn it inside out to display his supernatural power and provision. The really beautiful part is that we believe he has stories like this all around us. They’re just waiting to be unfolded and told!
Lisa Severson is the Communications Director for New Hope Church in New Hope.