–>What a great morning in Barrie! Nearly 200 people gathered this morning in the cinema in Barrie to be part of the launch team for Barrie Campus of Connexus. The excitement and the joy were pretty contagious. And that's just the people who could make it…
At the meeting, we shared the vision and the plan for Connexus, and people devoured the opportunity to serve and to give, and are so looking forward to our launch meeting next week for the Orillia campus (September 27th at 10:00 a.m. in Orillia at the Galaxy Cinema). Don't miss it.
I was also able to share what happened this week. As you know, Connexus is launching as a portable church December 2nd in Barrie and December 9th in Orillia. But this week, it looked like that might all unravel.
As a portable church, we are a new venture with no assets, which makes getting a loan hard. We also need to purchase over a half million dollars in gear (very soon) to be ready for our December launch. We had a strong lead on a $500,000 loan, which, with the combination of $600,000 in start up gifts we hoped to raise from Connexus people over November, would enable us to launch.
On Tuesday, we learned the $500,000 loan wasn't going to happen. The company in question had a change in their cash flow, and to make a long story short, the deal evapourated.
That put us into a very difficult situation. With the loan gone, and Connexus not even having a bank account (hey, we did get one Friday!), we had no money to place the order for a half million in portable church gear. And with no order, we wouldn't have the gear in time for training, and the launch would have to be delayed. Another option was to scale back to one campus, but none of us wanted to do that.
Tuesday night I gathered our elders and we prayed, deeply. We sat in silence a lot. We prayed some more. What was God saying? Was this too much? Were we on the wrong track? Did we need more faith?
The only option we had, other than to cut back the launch, was to try to raise the money in a few days. Banks generally don't finance churches with no assets, and any loan to Connexus would involve people from Connexus putting up their homes or investments as securities. We simply began to feel like we had to raise $300,000 – $500,000 by Monday, October 22nd, the last day we could place the order and still safely make the double launch for December 2nd and 9th.
Trouble is, we had never raised that much money before in such a short period of time. Ever. People would have to sacrifice, people would have to give. And the money we are asking for is over and above regular giving.
Plus we had no way to get the word out widely without raising a sense of panic. Sure, people who attended the launch meetings in Barrie and Orillia this month and other leadership gatherings would get a chance to contribute financially, but not until later in the month. And we needed the money now.
So our leaders prayed, and we began to let other Connexus leaders know about the crisis, and I personally felt a dependency on God for this like I've never felt so deeply before. If God didn't move hearts, the plans we'd prayerfully made would have to change. Maybe He wasn't in them. Maybe this was a bad dream. Or maybe God would just move.
Are you ready?
Over the last four days, $435,000 in commitments and donations have poured in. And we have only heard from about 25 families. We have yet to hear from everyone else or even the nearly 200 people who gathered in Barrie today (yes, Barrie people, the figure went up $130,000 since noon today), not to mention other leaders who will hear about this later this month or even our Orillia crew that we're gathering with next weekend!
We are not completely out of the woods yet. So many of you have yet to hear about
the situation and everyone else needs to be given an opportunity to respond and help out. We still
need $600,000 total in over and above gifts by the end of the year to meet our commitments, and ideally, $800,000 to really keep our debt load low and our opportunity to invest fully in the community high. But we are well on our way, and we are SO looking forward to the moment when all of us get a pledge card and we can all participate in this amazing thing God is doing in our region.
Who knows where this might go???? Who knows what God really wants to do in this community? I truly believe we have only seen the very beginning.
‘To say I am in awe is an complete understatement. To say we are grateful to see the hand of God at work seems just so short of how we feel. We are humbled. We are so thankful. God is alive, and God is moving, and His people are giving to a vision to create irresistible environments like we have never seen His people give in this region before. Thank you, God!
We are so grateful that we'll be able to place the order for our portable church equipment on Monday. That puts us right back on schedule for a December 2nd and 9th launch in the cities of Barrie and Orillia.
And thanks to all who are already partnering and to all of you who will partner with us in the next 7-14 days.
I know many of you will ask how you can give — you don't want to miss being part of this. Thank you in advance. And the truth is, we really need all of us to do this together — because the size of our generosity directly affects the scope and impact of Connexus on our region and beyond.
Truthfully, right now the best way to give is for us to give you a pledge card next Saturday at the Orillia campus launch meeting. So showing up next Saturday in Orillia at 10:00 a.m.. If you want to talk more urgently about it, call Rich Birch at 705.241.8070.
I promise that on November 1st, when we will be able to serve Connexus full time, we'll open up many more portals to help you get fully involved and engaged in the launch of this dream for our communities.
In the meantime, give thanks, pray, and make sure you're present at the next launch meeting in Orillia next Saturday, October 27th at 10:00 a.m. where we can see what God is going to do next.