We call this weekly piece the Point of View. At least, that’s what we call it. But, when I run into the folks who read it, they often say, “Hey, I read about that in your newsletter!” Newsletter? (“A bulletin issued periodically to the members of a society, business or organization.”) Don’t really care what you call this, as long as you read it!
In the last six weeks of 2011, you heard from me with two recruitments woven into my weekly musings: I shared our year-end financial challenge (twice), and I twisted your arm to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with us in Orange County, for a never-before event called the Issachar Summit.
Allow me to fall into newsletter mode, so we can turn our attention from recent-past to near-future. I asked you to move from passive reader to active engager over the last couple of months; what happened? Glad you asked…
First, our ministry/non-profit end-of-year appeal: friends like you helped us to end the year in a squeaker. It was like a come-from-behind Broncos finish: our contributions exceeded our expenses by a .07% margin. In the fourth year of the Great Recession, that’s a blessing from God… and, our donors. For your prayers – and, if you were among our contributors, your gifts – we say, “thanks!”
And, last Monday was a day of amazing dimensions. We convened on a cool and drizzly morning with 320 men and women on the campus of The Crossing Church(thanks to our hosts, Tim Celek and his great staff team!). The speakers/presenters came from international settings; their Kingdom roles as ministry leaders/marketplace leaders with Kingdom initiatives/foundation leaders with strategic investments in Great Commission efforts made the mix of messages an edge-of-your-seat experience. (relive it, vicariously, at www.issacharinitiative.org)
We explored the current boundaries of the “Go into all the world” effort that was launched by the Lord Jesus, the day of his Ascension: today, about 3000 tribes/people groups remain unreached. The potential to finish the task in our generation was confirmed, over and over again. The assembled crowd was asked to join forces with a common declaration: that we would say, Our Lives will Count for Zero:
- Zero languages without the Scriptures
- Zero people groups without Disciple Makers
- Zero people groups who have not heard the Gospel
- Zero oral learners without an oral Bible
- Zero villages or neighborhoods without a Church
At the end of the Summit, we collected anonymous response cards, answering this challenge: “By 2025, I commit to giving and/or mobilizing $ ________ to help “reach the corners” (the support of those five “Zero” initiatives, among the remaining unreached people groups) and finish the task of the Great Commission”
They were collected, cumulated… and, before we adjourned, we shared with the 320 attendees the results of the 187 cards that were received. Would you like to read what they heard?
There were 21 cards that indicated increased percentages of contributions to these emphases in the next 13 years. And, there were 141 cards that stated specific dollar commitments to give – or, to obtain – in the next 13 years. From 139 of those cards, the total commitment was $ 4,639,116,527 (that’s $ 4.63 billion). There were two additional cards that recorded extraordinary numbers that would be possible, from a Forbes 400 lister. In deference to the exceptional nature of those two, we did not include or announce them, but we trust that God may well be doing something within His potential in those two respondents’ lives.
If you helped our year-end, thanks. If you attended the Issachar Summit, thanks. If you were one of the informed commitments to the challenge, thanks . What a way to end – and, to start! – a year!