November 16, 2015
Dear Church Family,
As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter into Advent, we are invited to give thanks for our many gifts and to think about the things that give our lives meaning in this holy season. Christmas reminds us of those sacred treasures like family and friends. For us, Smoke Rise Baptist Church is our spiritual home, a setting where we experience community, engage in meaningful ministry, build authentic relationships, and connect with the God revealed in Christ.
As a congregation, this year, we are engaging in the Advent Conspiracy and asking an important question, “Can Christmas Still Change the World?” We will be challenged to spend less on “stuff”, so we can give more to what really matters.
Each week, I have the opportunity to talk with people about what Smoke Rise means to them. I hear stories of lives that have been touched and transformed through the ministries of our church. Children sing songs about their growing faith. Parents ask questions as they seek better to understand the scriptures. Young people give of their time to travel to the other side of the world to share God’s love. Primetime Choir provides encouragement to those who are lonely on the other side of our city. I think of lives touched like Brad, a 43-year old young man who discovered faith for the first time at Smoke Rise this year; and Hayley, a 7-month old who was dedicated in our church a few weeks ago.
Smoke Rise Baptist Church is committed to Changing the World.
This Christmas, I want to ask you to give a special Christmas gift to change the world through Smoke Rise Baptist Church. Our end-of-the-year drive is called “Bringing our Gifts, Changing the World,” which will allow us to fully fund our ministry plan (church budget) and to completely erase our budget deficit for the 2015 calendar year. In order to achieve this important goal, we need to raise $502,000 by Dec. 31. Money will be collected in the offering plate and online giving. You are welcome to send a check to the church or to bring it by the office and spend a few minutes talking with our ministers. Some may want to give a gift of appreciated assets this Christmas season. You may want to make a charitable donation at the end-of-the-year to take advantage of tax benefits or to gift the church with stock or other investments. Each dollar collected will go toward our church-wide goal and help us to change the world. Each week, you will hear stories about how your gifts are touching and transforming lives. Beginning with this Sunday’s bulletin, a wreath will offer a visual reminder of our progress toward achieving our goal.
I believe this is more than a dream. Last year, during this same time period, we raised $412,000. If we commit as a congregation to give this Christmas, we will not only reach this goal, but exceed it. This year’s end, let’s commit to “Bring our Gifts” and dare to believe that Christmas can “Change the World.”