I don’t know about you, but I really love the word “greater.” It brings positive vibes and ideas when I start thinking of how I use “greater” in a sentence, such as: “My wife’s cooking is so much greater than mine,” or “The SEC is so much greater now that it includes the Texas A&M Aggies (okay, self serving),” or “I’m thrilled that Rebecca and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary; each passing day is even greater.” “Greater” implies raising the bar, elevating importance, or describing something as wonderful!
I recently witnessed a Christian school become greater. My alma mater, Howard Payne University, took a huge leap of faith to create an extension center in New Braunfels, TX with the eventual hope of building a full-service, residential campus in one of the fastest growing regions of the U.S. A major step toward the vision was completed in August when we opened a state-of-the-art campus with seven fully-outfitted classrooms. As of this Fall, the extension campus has over 80 students enrolled in undergraduate and MBA degree programs. The vision of the new university extension was fulfilled as a result of great faith in its leadership and the commitment of hundreds of private and business partners. Together, they are fulfilling the vision for advancing Christian higher education.
And it gets even greater! I am thrilled to be a part of the Mill as your executive pastor. There is no doubt that God has a greater plan for our church. We see it all around us through the greater number of visitors, greater number of children and youth attending our Sunday and Wednesday services, and greater number of new members. And we have one of the greatest volunteer groups who serves throughout this church…greater than any church I have ever seen!
As we move forward with building a greater church, it is important to acknowledge the Mill’s focus on ensuring our tithes and offerings are handled with greater stewardship than ever before. I have been extremely impressed by the Mill’s pastoral and leadership teams’ commitment and focus toward investing their resources for the Kingdom. Following are five key examples of the Mill’s focus on stewardship:
1.The Mill is focused on missions.
I have never known a church of this size that has such a passion, calling and act of obedience toward mission. Did you know that 16% of the tithes and offerings received at the Mill are spent on local and foreign missions? And the trend is even greater…by the year 2020, we will be spending 20 cents of every dollar from our general tithes toward missions. The Mill is serious about obeying Jesus’ message to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19).
2.The Mill invests heavily in our young people.
You see it on Wednesday nights as hundreds are fed a free meal. We budget and spend on materials, furnishings, supplies and teaching aides to provide our volunteer leaders with the ability to share the Word of God and to teach and prepare our children. We are grateful to have an opportunity to have a greater impact on our children’s lives.
3.The Mill invests in adults.
We have many classes and programs across the campus each week, ranging from small group studies to classes which are intended to support and address life’s challenges. We invest in programs which equip adults to continually grow in their spiritual walks.
4.The Mill is focused on value.
We regularly review our spending and assess our accounts to ensure we are being fiscally responsible. We meet with our finance team and share regular updates with the church deacons.
5.We invest for the future.
We know that Jesus can come tomorrow. However, we still make plans that are Kingdom-focused in order to reach as many people for Christ as we can. We strive to be good stewards of the gifts we receive in order to be a greater church for His glory.
With a greater investment from each of you comes a greater responsibility of the team at the Mill. We are prayerful that we are ready to handle the increasing responsibility that comes with building a greater church!