First, I want to thank you for your commitment, generosity and faithfulness as a church in 2012. We moved into our first church building at W83 and added a sixth service in the first half of last year. We launched our Downtown congregation in the second half of the year. With the addition of three services, our weekly attendance increased between 700 and 1000 people. And more of our congregation became actively involved as volunteers and leaders. This was a landmark year!
To support all of this we made an ardent appeal for year-end giving and your response was tremendous. You gave a total of $12.4M! This is 16% more than 2011 giving, and $1M over the budgeted goal for the year.
In 1 Chronicles 29:14 David rejoices before God because of the generosity of the people of Israel using these words: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
I am moved to claim the same words. It would be hard to overstate how encouraging this is to me as the leader of Redeemer’s move to a collegiate model. In the past year we have taken the church from one centralized congregation with five services to three collegiate congregations with eight services. We did this for three primary reasons:
To grow so that more of NYC can be exposed to the gospel. For instance, almost 1/3 of our congregation lives downtown. Our new DT congregation will help those of us living downtown to invite our friends to neighborhood-based activities and services.
To better engage the energies of our congregation. It’s harder to get involved and make a difference in a large church; this decentralization allowed many more of you to serve our church and the city.
To prepare us for the next generation of Redeemer. We will continue to start new worship sites, identify and train new pastors and leaders, and engage and serve the city in new ways. While I plan to be at Redeemer in some capacity the rest of my life, I know the best stewardship of the church God has built here is to empower the next generation of pastoral and lay leaders.
To see the collegiate model continue to flourish, we need to grow. We must grow in the number of congregants involved in serving, the number of givers and the amount of giving to our operating budget. Continued growth will allow us to support the costs of the W83 building, the DT congregation, new services and the 1000 new attendees. The Renew Campaign and the Downtown Challenge fund will cover these start-up costs for the next three years, but as these funds are spent our annual giving to the operating budget will need to increase. Our RENEW Campaign and the Downtown Challenge were investments in growth; I’m thrilled to see the growth happening and the giving increase to sustain it!
On behalf of all our leaders, I want to say thank you! You’ve encouraged all of us profoundly, and your response points to God’s work among us.
Watch the 2012 thank you video