We just ended our Campus Revival Capital Campaign. We had a huge announcement of our totals on Sunday, and since then we have had even more pledges and gifts come in so that our total is now over $240,000! I have to be honest, this is more than $100,000 over what I had expected. It’s not that I doubted our congregation at all, it’s just that the last time we had a capital campaign for Sights and Sounds, we raised a little over $100,000 in pledges. So I was simply using that as a predictor.
I cannot explain the joy of being in ministry with a church that surpasses your expectations by literally one hundred thousand dollars.
I fell in love with this church the moment I walked through the doors. The people here are committed, passionate and genuine. We may not be the flashiest church or the largest, but we have so much heart. There is almost an underdog mentality within our congregation, and everyone loves an underdog. We have such a wonderful history but also such a painful past. Just 15 years ago we were averaging over 800 people in worship each week. Today we have less than half of that. While this sounds like a story of failure, to me it sounds like the middle of an inspirational sports movie.
Emma always makes fun of me because I am a sucker for inspirational sports movies. Remember the Titans, Rudy, Major League, The Sandlot, Hoosiers, The Big Green, The Little Giants, The Mighty Ducks, you name it, I love it. Even as I write this, I’m watching “The Replacements,” which is pretty silly, yet still an inspirational sports movie.
All of these movies have one thing in common: there is always a time in the movie when the team thinks they are lost and they will never win. They will never make the comeback; they will never be able to defeat the more talented, bigger, faster and stronger team that they face. And no matter what, in all the movies, they always rise to the challenge. Even if they don’t win the big game at the end of the movie, they still rise to the challenge and become winners in different ways.
It’s painful to talk about where we have been as a church, because it casts a shadow on where we are today, especially when we talk about the numbers. But I’m not afraid of our past, because it made us who we are today; a scrappy team, not afraid of anything. A team who knows what it feels like to lose, which means we aren’t afraid to win. We know what it takes to win.
I refuse to believe that we are a defeated church. I believe that we have simply endured the hardest part of the movie and now we have a choice, a choice to rise to the challenge, or fold. I believe that we began to make that choice through this capital campaign. I believe that we are about to enter into the triumphant part of the movie where we come together, rise to meet the challenge, and grow like wildfire.
This is the part where Emma laughs at me because she knows that I’m a sucker for cheesy inspirational sports movies, and she’s right. I’ve always wanted to play the part of the coach who gives that rousing speech in the locker room at halftime that turns the team around. Maybe that’s what I’m doing right now, or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by the faithfulness of our congregation in the way you all showed up through this capital campaign. Either way, I know that there are big things in store for our church.
It’s game day my friends, and I wouldn’t trade this team for the world.
Have a wonderful week my friends and remember; there’s no crying in baseball.