As we step into the last quarter of 2020, I’m keenly aware of what and who we have lost this year. Weekly, your ministers counsel with members of the church and community who are grieving the loss of events, milestones and even worse, souls that have been close to us and important to us. In the larger arena of life and culture, we’ve seen losses as well. This past week, Eddie Van Halen died of cancer. In one interview, a fellow rocker said of him, “Every night of every tour, he always left it all on the stage.” In weeks prior, our nation lost Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was said of her, “She gave us—the American people—all that she had. She couldn’t have given any more.” In a year where we have lost so much, it is inspiring to know those who choose to give.
In these months of COVID-19, Senior Minsters, Executive Directors of non-profit agencies, and Development Officers of art and academic institutions have spent a lot of time chatting and assessing the health of our respective organizations. As I mentioned this past Sunday, a non-profit agency director in our area told me, “Jim, I’m amazed that during a time when most agencies and churches are pulling back, gearing down, and experiencing numeric losses, First Baptist has increased its gifts to partners, continued to meet budget, gained members, and kept a vibrant presence. This is quite a testimony to the commitment and love your congregation has for their church.” (That is as close to an exact quote as I can get.) It was the last line that caught my attention and—quite honestly—brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you for your generosity of time, energy, patience and yes, monetary resources during these strange days. We have been able to fully fund the work in our annual mission and ministry plan (budget). We have been able to deepen our commitment to our mission partners and affiliates. We have been able to assist numerous individuals and families in our church and community.
If it’s not too much to ask…let’s end this year strong. Let’s continue to be faithful in our giving and make it possible for us to continue to be a positive witness and example in our world.