By Garrett Vickrey and Ben Newell
In Run with the Horses, Eugene Peterson describes watching a mother bird teaching her young to fly. He describes how she would push and peck the young birds off the limb one by one. They would fall for a second before catching the wind with their feathers and flying off as they were born to do.
But, before flying they must be pushed and pecked off the limb as they bounce on the branch and cling to the safety of their nest with all the strength of their talons. Peterson says, “They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action, and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully. Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born.”
Asking our congregations to give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions can feel like we are pushing and pecking them.
The call to give to CBF is sometimes drowned out by the cacophony of needs in the local church and in our own lives. The ministry budget is a mouth in constant need of feeding. Estate planning brochures are near every exit. Kids run table to table at Wednesday suppers selling everything from bacon flavored popcorn to SpongeBob wrapping paper to raise money for schools, scouts and sports teams.
Still, this offering is the main fundraising mechanism for the CBF missions enterprise and supports all field personnel, including those who receive funding from other sources. It pays for the salaries, ministry and operating expenses for many field personnel. However, CBF’s Offering for Global Missions goal has consistently not been met over the past 9 years. How can we speak to our congregations in ways that catch their imagination and engage them in the CBF Offering for Global Missions?
In December 2014 at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, we reevaluated how we give to the Offering for Global Missions, with the goal to increase the amount we give and participation in the offering. Ben Newell, CBF field personnel and member of Woodland, suggested the “1-45” plan.
The “1-45” giving plan is an old fundraising method with a new twist.
This maximizes participation while minimizing the burden of any one person’s financial giving. The plan calls for people to give at their ability, and it challenges churches, congregations, individuals and families to action. Even if they just give a dollar they are encouraged by their participation and feel they are contributing to something significant.
Our missions committee caught on to this vision and set a bold goal of $31,500 — more than twice what we have given to this offering in recent years.
We set our goal based on three-quarters of our average attendance on a typical Sunday, so our plan can be called the “1-250” plan. It is basic math. We were looking for 250 people to give from $1 dollar to $250. When each “giving” envelope is utilized, from 1-250, then we meet our goal of $31,500. The offering works because of simplistic math and the urging of the Holy Spirit.
To encourage participation in the “1-250” plan, we placed 6 tri-fold boards around the church. These boards contained envelopes numbered 1 to 250, and we asked people to take them. Not just one per family but one for each person in each family — a fourth grader can give $14; a preschooler can give $2 from her piggy bank.
To participate in the Offering for Global Missions is an opportunity for us as a church to practice the stewardship we teach.
Perhaps this offering could be seen as a way to practice prophetic stewardship that proclaims abundance in the face of an all too prevalent scarce resource worldview. Giving is not for those who have, it is for those who seek to follow Christ. It is a spiritual practice that reorients our sense of value. It is the air into which we were born.
This offering was another opportunity for us to do what we were created to do — give. Little by little, Woodland reached the goals we set, but it took everyone to be involved. In the end we had three times as many participants in the offering as we have had in recent years, and together we gave more than $34,000.
The CBF Offering for Global Missions is an opportunity for us to practice our characteristic action as followers of Jesus.
In practicing this characteristic action, no matter what age, we become even more what God is creating us to be. We can become a fully engaged church and contribute to a Christian missions movement through CBF that engages all persons in missions, through giving and going.
What if each church within CBF gave from “$1 to Whatever”?
We could fully resource our field personnel to lead in the transformative work they are doing down the street and around the world. If 1,800 churches that relate to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gave from $1 to $250 for an individual donation total of $31,500 per church, then the total offering would be $56,700,000.
That might be a little out of the reach — but it would not be out of reach if each church took on the giving challenge of “1-45.” The “1-45” plan would provide an offering per church of $1,035 for a grand offering from the 1,800 churches of $1,863,000.
That is doable. Don’t you agree?
Garrett Vickrey is the Senior Pastor of Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Contact him at email@example.com or (210) 493-4501. Ben Newell is CBF field personnel ministering on the Texas-Mexico border and a member of Woodland Baptist Church. Contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 995-3518. To learn more about the CBF Offering for Global Missions 2014-15 #EndHunger Campaign, visit www.cbf.net/OGM.