Even in Ohio, most years are divided into somewhat predictable seasons based on the calendar. We see them coming by paying attention to the changing signs in the trees, flowers, birds and temperature. But this year has not been “most years.” 2020 has not experienced our predictable winter, spring, summer and fall seasons. No, this year’s seasons so far have been more like…

  • Winter Season
  • Quarantine Season
  • Zoom Call Season
  • Murder Hornet Season
  • Hurricane Season
  • Fire Season
  • Election Season

But, I think if I pay attention to the signs, I see a new season coming - a season of thanksgiving.

When I last wrote for the e-news over two months ago, I shared that our own financial picture was mixed. Our giving totals had remained relatively strong through May, but we were watching some concerning downward trends in the back half of the year. By September, weekly offerings were averaging close to $50,000, which was more than 20 percent short of the budget. The number of individuals and households giving each week was lingering in the low 200’s, which was a significant drop from just a few months earlier. Our team was seeing the signs of a changing season and beginning to anticipate a new prolonged decline that might require attention, up to and including significant cuts to the budget for ministry and mission.

Today, as fall foliage is starting to fade, those financial signs seem to be changing again. In the last seven weeks we have seen a significant and consistent uptick in the weekly offering totals.

  • Since the start of October, offering has averaged nearly $61,000.
  • After not reaching $60, 000 for 16 consecutive weeks, for four of the last six weeks the total has topped $60,000.
  • The average number of weekly givers has increased from 234 to 254.
  • About 100 folks returned commitment cards virtually (and others on paper), affirming their generosity for 2021.
  • We’ve seen a rise in our cash on hand. It had fallen by almost 30 percent but has quickly climbed close to an additional two full weeks. We currently have almost 11 weeks of cash.
 
It would seem a new season is coming, a season of thankfulness.

Recently we’ve seen the Homefull Mobile Grocery Truck get on the road, deploying to sites across Montgomery County. This was made possible in large part through a $150,000 gift from your sacrificial giving during last December’s Christmas Miracle Offering.

The Fort McKinley Virtual Learning Center opened with volunteer support, giving at-risk kids in Dayton Public Schools a safe place to do their school work while their buildings were closed.

Last week, our Ginghamsburg family gave $10,000 to fund Clubhouse’s Christmas, which will equip 150 children in our region with backpacks full of clothes, school supplies, activities and food this Christmas season.
 
And there is more we are called to do. You are the catalytic energy that will continue these upward trends – and grow this Ginghamsburg movement. The past seven weeks have been very promising, financially speaking, but of course seven weeks does not a year make. Your continued commitment toward serving, praying and giving will be essential to see God’s mission through.

As we finish preparations to share this year’s Christmas Miracle Offering partners and initiatives, I am filled with thanks. I am thankful for the generosity of our church family members, who have taken their next steps in generosity despite all the uncertainty of 2020. I am thankful for our high impact partners, missionaries and staff. I am thankful for the hope that Ginghamsburg has brought to the region, and I am thankful that there are more compelling opportunities to come for us to be just as impactful, far into the future. Finally, I’m thankful for the privilege of serving alongside each of you, no matter what the coming seasons bring.