Pastor Don's Journal Articles
As we are approaching the end of the year, I wanted to write and tell you again how very thankful I am for your "partnership in the gospel" with me here at First Baptist, Alexandria. You and I have been at this together for more than 11 years now, and this has been a good year for us indeed. Between December 6, 2015 and the end of November 2016, you have given a total of $4,275,988 in undesignated offerings to support our church's budget. This money kept the lights on, the parking lots sanded and cleared when it snowed, paid staff salaries, bought literature, maintained facilities, and all the other usual things that are not particularly glamorous, but essential for out church to operate.
But your gifts did more. As shareholders in FBCA, you need to know about what your investment actually accomplished.
- We supported local missions with ALIVE, twice a month meals for the Carpenter's Shelter, 80 volunteers for Rebuilding Together Alexandria, 150 meals each month for Meals On Wheels, weekly ESL classes, treats delivered to faculty at TC Williams 3 times a year, and support for Bethany House.
- Through our Foundation, we continued to support two young churches in DC: The District Church and Redeemer City Church.
- 12% of every undesignated dollar went to the Cooperative Program, which funds our seminaries and mission work around the world. Beyond that, we gave over $351,000 exclusively for missionary causes the world over. This makes us one of the leading churches in our denomination when it comes to a commitment to missions. FBCA sets the pace!
- Over 100 of our people actually went on mission trips -- both nationally and internationally -- much of it at their own expense but supplemented by our budget.
- 687 children and adult workers were in our largest Vacation Bible School ever!
- Approximately 1000 children, volunteers, and guests attended our Fall Festival -- free to the community!
- Our youth ministry continued to flourish with 85 teenagers and leaders going on this year's Labor Day retreat.
- Our Deacons faithfully ministered to church families all year.
- In May we gave financial support to "Feed My Starving Children" -- and more than 330 of us helped pack, in one weekend, a world record 5 million meals for the needy!
- In a typical month, at least 1200 to 1300 people attended Bible Fellowship at least one time. There they were taught the scripture and how it applies to daily life. They formed vital relationships with others, too, making Bible Fellowship the very heart of our ministry.
- We underwrote a conference in Armenia for persecuted believers in a closed country, and also led a pastor's conference in Bulgaria.
- We responded to natural disasters in West Virginia and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- We filled 410 Operation Christmas Child boxes.
- We did not have the Living Christmas Tree this year, but 1,800 people attended the Keith and Kristyn Getty Irish Christmas just last weekend.
But you did even more...
We are still raising money for our building renovation project, now set to begin in late February. This year alone over $ 1,000,000 has been contributed for Preparing The Way, all on top of regular budget giving! Pledges are being honored and even many who did not pledge are giving. Thank you!
These numbers do not tell the whole story, of course, or even the most important part of the story. That is revealed in the changed lives of people. Folks who are impacted by our church and inspired to grow in Christian maturity because of what we do here. We won't really know all about that until much later on -- but I know that it is happening week by week. It happens because God is at work through His people, and because you have given so generously of your time and your money.
We are coming to the end of the year, however, with a serious budget deficit. We have managed to operate in the black all year, and we have not spent what is not there. But failing to meet our goal has prevented us from doing all that we wanted, or God intended. As you consider your year-end giving to worthy causes, I hope that you will give a large gift, beyond what you have already provided, to help erase that gap.
The 2017 church budget will be the same as this year's and, prayerfully, we will rise to meet the challenge it brings. Do what you can. Commit to tithing (10% of your income). Trust God to provide for your needs even as you invest in kingdom causes. You will be making such a difference in the world through this church that you and I both so love. I can't think of anything worthier.
I pray that you will have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. And I'll see you on Christmas Eve!