May 31, 2019 | by Gregg DeMey
As a child of the 1970s, I loved watching game shows: The Price is Right, The Gong Show, The Dating Game (if parents were out of the room) and my personal favorite, The Match Game hosted by Gene Rayburn.
Although the format of The Match Game has changed through the years, the basic gist remains the same. First, a question or fill-in-the-blank statement is read. Then, celebrity panelists and contestants both offer their suggestions for how to answer or complete the statements. If the answers match, points are scored.
At Elmhurst CRC, we’re about to experiment with our own version of The Match Game as a way of promoting the joy of giving and providing for our ministries. Unlike the original TV version, everybody can come out a winner!
Allow me to describe with two observations, some info and a challenge.
Elmhurst CRC is a generous place. When needs arise, either close to home or on the other side of the globe, God’s people here respond. The outpouring of financial gifts at the end of 2018 was especially remarkable. God’s track record of providing through his people here is tremendous!
The size of our annual budget deficit has been growing year-to-year as we approach the end of our fiscal calendar in December - and we see that gap widening even now, still six months away from year’s end. More than a quarter of our annual income was received in the final weeks of 2018. This cycle of giving doesn’t align neatly with the way our annual ministry expenses work and exposes God’s work here to additional risk should economic circumstances drastically change in the fourth quarter of any given year.
June 9 is Pentecost Sunday. We will celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst and -- for the first time — staff will share an “Annual Ministry Report” highlighting some of the great things God has done in our midst over the last ministry year. As a way of calling forth gratitude to God for what he is doing in our midst, we will also have a matching gift opportunity presented on June 9. Our Deacons, Elders, Staff and Senior Leadership Team members have pledged $125,000 in advance.
Challenge: To match the amount of $125,000 pledged by our elected leaders, raising a total of $250,000 between June 9-16. This would align Elmhurst CRC’s actual income with our budgeted income for 2019 and put us on firm ground heading into summer and the fall ministry year. This is an invitation for all to participate. Please prayerfully discern whether this is a way for you to empower our ministries and participate in the joy of giving this summer!
It’s my hope that our own local version of The Match Game will spur us on in the good work of generosity. The church we love, our service to the world, and our personal joy all stand to benefit.
May God’s Grace and Joy abound in you,