M-Note 1.12.2022

Celebrating the Generosity of our Christmas Eve Offering

By Matt Miofsky
Seeing is believing. I think most of us carry around this idea. It is hard to believe in something you can’t quite see or that you don’t have evidence for. The church is sometimes hard to believe in. We literally see churches on every corner, but people struggle to see the church really living into its call. We want to believe the church is a community that welcomes all people, is generous to those outside its walls, is active in the lives of people, and is a voice of hope and good news. Too often the church is experienced as close-minded, judgmental, hypocritical, or self-centered.
 
At The Gathering, we began a tradition over a decade ago to commit 100% of our Christmas Eve offering (the largest of the year) to dig wells for clean water in Mozambique. The idea is simple. We want to be a church that really lives into its calling. A place that is generous, that works outside its walls, that is committed to the good of the larger community and world (and not merely its own institutional survival). That is who we strive to be.
 
But, seeing is believing. It is one thing to say that, but it is another thing to actually do it. This Christmas, we once again committed to this practice and the results were miraculous. The Christmas Eve offering was over $343,000, shattering a record here at the church (for context, prior to the pandemic two years ago, our offering was $275,000). All of this money will fund wells for clean water in Mozambique. We estimate that we will be able to dig at least 20 wells with this money (many of them in refugee camps), impacting the lives of about 150,000 people. It is truly a gift that will make a difference, both in our lives and in the lives of our friends in Mozambique.
 
I want to thank all of you that participated in the offering. You give me hope, you encourage me, and you keep me pressing on in believing that the church can be what we say it should be. In this difficult time with resurging COVID, it is hard to sometimes see the church at work. Many of us are worshiping online, it is harder to gather with others in groups, and certain activities are postponed or modified. Yet, this offering reminds me that the church is not only alive but thriving, growing, and continuing to respond to the work of God in the world. The offering is a sign that Jesus is alive and at work, even when it is hard to see. So Gathering, thank you – for your generosity, your commitment to the church, and for hanging on in the midst of this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who worshiped with us on Christmas Eve in person or online. Most of all, thank you for helping me and so many others see the church. I couldn't be prouder or more honored to be your pastor.
 
Peace,
P.S. Last week, I started a new series, Loving People You Don’t Like. If you missed part 1, you can listen to it below. Join me this weekend in person or online as I continue talking about how we deal with difficult people in our life.
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