Hello Redwood Family,
Winter has officially arrived, Christmas is almost upon us, and the new year is fast approaching. This is an exciting time to be a part of Redwood. We are in our third year of consistent growth as God continues to bring new people to us every Sunday. This past fall Christy and I started hosting welcome desserts in our home for anyone who is new to Redwood this year. We had 25 people come out to our first two desserts. It is so much fun to hear the stories of what brought them to Redwood and why they came back. A common theme is how Redwood felt like home the moment they arrived and how much they enjoyed the music and the message.
I want to point out that many people came to Redwood for the first time because of an invitation from a friend. I love that because it highlights how being church really is an all in endeavour as we each play our part in helping to encounter Jesus. Christmas and the new year are great times to invite friends and neighbours to come and see for themselves what God is up to as we gather together each Sunday. Never underestimate the power of inviting someone to come to Redwood with you!
God is on the move and there are so many good things going on – here are just some of the highlights:
-We have over 270 adults connecting and growing together in community through small groups
-Our youth and kids ministries are growing and connecting with new students and families
-We got to celebrate with 30 people who were baptized this year
-Every week we feed 50+ families at our food bank
-We raised over $30,000 to sponsor a Syrian refugee family – how awesome is that?!
*Please be praying for the application to be processed in a timely manner so we can bring them to Tbay
Each week we all get to be a part of these stories as we participate in being church together.
As we approach the end of the year, I want to update you on some important end of year financial information. Everything we get to do as a church is made possible by the generous support of those who give financially to Redwood. Our potential future impact will be limited or unleashed by our collective generosity.
Let me share with you where we currently stand with our 2015 operating budget – this is our primary budget that funds the majority of things we do as a church. Our annual projected giving for our operating budget is $720,000. When we set our annual budget we anticipate year end giving to round out our budget as many people wait to give their taxable giving at year end. As of December we have received $640,000 which puts us behind our projected giving to date. This means we need an additional $80,000 by year end. That is a big number and we need everyone to step up and help to ensure we end the year financially strong. For those of you who plan your giving at year end, please be sure to do so.
Redwood is a made up of many people who give generously and sacrificially to help make all that we do possible. I would like to ask those of you who are new to Redwood and have never given to start doing so. As you have benefitted from the generosity of others, you can join in and begin helping others experience the same things you enjoy about our church. I would encourage you to ask God what he wants from you in this area of giving and then be faithful in your response. We all have different means and cannot all give the same amount but we are all called to give something.
I would also like to ask those of you who have been supporting Redwood to consider if you can increase your giving. Again, this involves seeking God’s leading and being faithful as He guides you. We all have different means and some of us have been especially blessed so that we can be a blessing for the benefit of others. Never let a percentage get in the way of growing in generosity.
Let’s all grab hold of what Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 as we seek God’s leading in our giving and respond in faith. If all of us are faithful in doing this we will have everything we need to continue becoming the church Jesus has called us to be in our city.
There are many ways you can give. One of the best ways is to sign up for PAD (or update your PAD giving amount). You can get a PAD form at the Info Centre on Sunday or by contacting our office. You can also give on-line by visiting our website at redwoodpark.ca – click on the giving tab. If giving by cheque, December 27 is the final Sunday in December. You can also drop it by the office on Wednesday, December 31 before noon. If you plan on mailing it to the office, be sure it is postmarked with a 2015 date. If you have any questions, please let us know by contacting the church office.
Despite being behind in our operating budget, we do not want to step back from embracing one of our core values of learning to live beyond ourselves. We want to continue to grow in our ability to give sacrificially above and beyond our regular support to Redwood as God leads us into opportunities to do so. And that is what we are going to do as we gather for our Christmas services at the Community Auditorium on December 22 and 23. As we seek to share God’s love with our city, we have decided to once again support our community through the United Way in Thunder Bay. The United Way is a great organization that focusses on helping move people from poverty to possibility, creating healthy, strong communities, and empowering kids to be all that they can be through various local agencies right here in our city. During our Christmas services we will be taking a special offering above and beyond our regular giving to Redwood to share with our neighbours through the United Way. This is a great opportunity for us to continue living beyond ourselves as a church in order to make Jesus’ name great in our city.
I want to thank you for all that you do in being faithful to Jesus’ call on your life as you embrace your role as a part of our church with the rest of us who call Redwood home. May God bless you and keep you this season as you celebrate the gift of Jesus who has come to give us life to the full!
Lead Pastor//Redwood Park Church