What an utterly strange year this has been. The Oxford English Dictionary reported that use of the word "pandemic" increased 57,000% in 2020. That storied publication also added to its lexicon some new words, including "blursday" (the sense that all the days are the same and blur into one another) and "covidiots" (self-explanatory). None of this was on our minds as we prayed and planned a course of ministry for the year. In the span of a couple of weeks we shut down our campus and opened a digital church. We set up committees and Sunday Schools on Zoom (a word which, prior to February, I thought referred to a program from my childhood on PBS). The broadcast ministry became our sole vehicle for gathering for worship.
The good news is we have learned things that will help us be a better church in the future. My guess is we will have some hybrid element to Sunday School from now on which means that, when you are away from Houston or home caring for a sick child or sitting with a sick parent, you can still attend Sunday School if you wish. We have tended an already excellent broadcast ministry and made an already strong ministry stronger. People across the nation have found and claimed South Main as their church during this season and many of them will be lifelong members.
All these changes and learnings come with a financial cost. For the past several years we have communicated the remaining need in the budget with this series of emails. 2020 dramatically changed every facet of our church's life, including our activity and our spending. So this year we decided to communicate how much we will need to give between today and the close of business on December 31 in order to give what we have spent. We anticipate we will underspend the budget by about 10%, which means we still need to give $900,642 by year end.
If you autodraft your giving as Missy and I do, you are likely right on schedule to keep the commitment you made to the church this year. (If you have not signed up for autodraft and would like to do so, please click here for the form.) In any case, we will send you an 11-month giving statement later this week so you'll know just where you are. I hope you will pray about your commitment to God and either complete your commitment or, if you are able, give over and above that amount knowing others made commitments before the pandemic and their circumstances have become more difficult. And, if you are in that last set of folks, please know that we care for you and want to help you in these days. If you want to talk or pray with a minister, please contact Greg or me.
On this Giving Tuesday, click here to give.
grace and truth,