As shared with the Skyview Community Church congregation Sunday, May 7:
Good morning. Nice to be with you this morning. I have been busy this winter and spring with travel on behalf of my work with the National Board of the Church of the Nazarene Canada. It’s always good to be home with you - and my family…especially my grandson and namesake…the very handsome and exceptionally intelligent, Riley William Cunningham. If you haven’t met him yet, you must. He’s pretty special.
As a grandfather…and father to Sharlene and her husband, Bret… it brings me great joy to know that we have such a wonderful congregation in which my family can gather on Sunday mornings to worship and grow in our faith. I look around this morning and I’m grateful for the rich relationships that Karen and I have with many of you…and even more grateful that my kids and grandson have such a church family around them. We are a blessed people to be led in meaningful worship every Sunday and I can tell you, in my opinion – and I’ve had the opportunity to be in most Nazarene churches in our country – Pastor Stuart is one of the finest preachers in our denomination. Anywhere. Perhaps sometimes we take this for granted…but this morning, I want to challenge you to think a little about the gift we have here in our church – Skyview Community Church.
As you know, over the last three years, many in our congregation have been giving sacrificially to raise money to help us build our new church home in the Northern Hills area. Three years ago we began the Skyview Home Building Campaign and received pledge commitments of $467,510. Of those pledges, $329,687 has been received along with $118,252 of unpledged gifts bringing us to a total of $447,939. It’s all very remarkable – and nothing short of miraculous – for a congregation of our size and constituency to accomplish. Clearly God was in this to make this possible!
Our property committee has been working diligently…and I mean diligently…to find a way to stick to a budget that was established almost four years ago and yet, still build a facility that is suitable for worship and ministry and meet the needs of our congregation.
As you heard from Jay last week at the year end celebration, the property and finance teams are working hard to find a way to fund the building of our new church home. Jay is working his magic to make this all manageable from a cash flow perspective, but the reality is, we are still about $300,000 short of the $750,000 fundraising commitment we made as a congregation. In order to fulfill that commitment, the church approved the Skyview Home Building Campaign committee’s recommendation to extend our campaign another two years in order to raise the necessary capital.
Over the last three years, we’ve raised about $150,000 a year…so by my math, if we all keep doing what we’ve been doing - digging deep and giving sacrificially - we can definitely raise the $300,000 in two years.
For those of you who are finishing your three year pledge, thank you for your faithfulness. Many of you have given weekly or monthly to fulfill your commitment. From $25 weekly donations to $1000 a month…all over and above your regular tithe…each gift has made a big difference and has added up to get us to this place.
For those of you who made a pledge to the first phase and have not been able to fulfill it, I suggest we close the chapter on that pledge – and I encourage you to consider a new commitment for the next two years. God is a God of new beginnings; when we admit we have come up short, He is there to forgive and forget. But I encourage you not to forget the commitment you made three years ago! You might find it helpful to give on a regular basis – weekly or monthly – through our online giving option. Many of us have found it very helpful and has ensured that we stay on track. And as an added bonus, we’ve been collecting travel points!
But I suspect there may be some of you who have yet to enter into this sacrificial journey. To you I say, now is the time. We are going to need some added help. I encourage you and your family to consider a gift to the Skyview Home Building Campaign that will help us reach our goal together. Everyone – young and old, singles and families – all of us can play a part in making our new church home a reality.
If you take a look at this chart, you will see that we need people of all levels of commitment for us to achieve our $300,000 goal. I’m encouraging you to pray about where you see yourself in this final phase of the campaign…and ask God to help you stretch a bit and make the necessary sacrifice to fulfill this vision.
I think many of you are like me…after years of setting up and tearing down and “renting” we’re ready to have our own home for worship and teaching…and place we can bring our neighbors and minister more effectively to our community. It warms my heart to think about little Riley William having a church home he can grow up in…a place he can learn about God and how Jesus loves him even more than his Grandpa.
On Sunday, June 11, we will gather as a church family to celebrate the beginning of the home stretch of our Skyview Home Building Campaign. We will worship together, receive pledge commitments, and have a light lunch together – this year’s take on our yearly celebration banquet. Over the next couple of weeks, a mailing will be going out to everyone in the congregation with a pledge card. I encourage you to pray about the commitment you are going to be making. As you do, I want you to know that a gift to Skyview Home will create a legacy for years to come in the form of stretched faith, moved hearts and changed lives.
Thank you for your attention this morning and I look forward to gathering with you again on June 11.