Our world needs hope; it is the lifeblood of the soul. Anxiety, anger, depression, and other mental health concerns are on the rise, in addition to suicide attempts. Last year, suicide rates in teens increased as high as 50% from the previous year. Covenant Grove has been talking about the importance of hope since the day we started; this is part of the reason we named our capital initiative “Building Hope.” Through the pandemic, and continuing today, we have done everything we can to connect people to Jesus (our source of hope) in community (our support for hope) while working together for His mission (to help the world that needs hope).
This coming Sunday is Pledge Sunday for Building Hope. We have been praying constantly. We have been working hard through a church workday and a youth mission trip to Mexico. Now we are asking people to consider giving above and beyond to make a pledge for this amazing initiative we call Building Hope.
I thought it might be helpful to answer a few key questions.
Building Hope was originally set for three years. But something happened in there (a global pandemic) that threw everyone’s plans out the window. But the Lord still used the last three years to do amazing things! We bought a tent and worshiped outside. We planted a new church (Radiant Covenant) with Modesto Covenant. We sent out $20,000 to mission projects around the world, including India, Egypt, Germany, Mexico, and North Dakota. All of this happened through Building Hope funds.
The biggest goal of our initiative, though, was expansion. Covenant Grove has a heart for lost people. Although our church (like almost every church in America) is smaller now, we are growing again. We believe that we will again find ourselves running out of room. Rather than stopping the initiative without achieving the goal of expansion, we decided – through a lot of prayer, wise counsel, and feedback – to continue Building Hope for two more years.
Plant more churches. Only 5% of churches will ever plant another church, yet every church started as a plant. We were planted 12 years ago, and we got the privilege of planting a new church last year. We have designated 8% of Building Hope funds for church planting, which means we have more money to plant more churches.
Fund mission projects. We support missionaries through our General Fund, but Building Hope giving allows our missionaries to dream big for special projects. We got to hear from Greg and Kristi Fauss in Germany about making t-shirts for evangelism in Berlin. 2% of all Building Hope funds goes towards mission projects.
Money can be a sensitive subject, but Jesus made it clear that our money and our hearts go together (Matt 6:21). I have found that everyone sacrifices for what matters most in their lives. The next generation and the world are watching to see how we spend our money: is it on ourselves or on something greater than ourselves?
Our hope is that everyone connected to our church family would be part of this great cause, and make a pledge. This starts with prayer (not pressure). You can give one-time gifts, ongoing gifts (weekly, monthly, quarterly), or both. Everything helps, and we believe in “equal sacrifice, not equal amounts.”
For those who attend in person, we have physical Pledge Cards you can fill out. You can also download them here: https://covenantgrove.org/buildinghope/
For those who are connected digitally, you can go to our giving portal (link is below), and select the “Building Fund.” Letting us know of your Pledge (email firstname.lastname@example.org) allows us to plan for the future. Our giving portal can be found here: https://covenantgrove.breezechms.com/give/online
This Sunday is Pledge Sunday – a special day of devotion and practical action. I am excited for it! There is something special about being around people who are following Jesus wholeheartedly. Our Finance Team will count the total pledges and we will report it to everyone. Our Facility Ministry will continue working on the property – the playground just got ordered and the next workday is in June.
Most of all, we will keep doing the hard work of hope with Jesus. Our world needs hope and a place to call home on their spiritual journey. Covenant Grove will continue to worship, learn, eat, and have fun together – and so we will continue to grow. Thank you for being on this adventure together!