Metro Christmas Offering 2016
Dear Metro Family,
I am excited to share with you information regarding our tenth annual CHRISTMAS OFFERING that begins on Sunday, November 20th. The subtitle of this offering sums up our hope:
METRO COMMUNITY CHURCH CHRISTMAS OFFERING
Making A Kingdom Difference...
...in Englewood, the East Coast, South Africa, Missionaries, and the Metro Community
Over the past twelve years, we have seen Metro grow from a church with just a handful of people to one reaching a multitude of people from all walks of life. Along the way, we have seen lives changed by the power of God working thrvough the people of Metro. We have seen marriages restored, brokenness healed, loneliness defeated and overall lives transformed in Christ. While it is our hope and expectation as a church that God may continue to do His work in and through the lives of those at Metro, we have set aside this special offering to focus our care on those whom Jesus calls “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), both within and outside of our church.
Each year, God challenges our church and our partners to come together for the sole purpose of making a Kingdom difference. The challenge can sometimes be daunting, but we always see God’s amazing faithfulness come through in the form of your generosity. Our culture has always been founded on the principle of releasing the blessings of God, affirming that our releasing of these blessings is not conditional upon our receiving of them. So while some of us may experience the financial pinch, we still feel it is imperative to “pay it forward,” because our hope and trust are not in the economy or the government, but rather, they are in God’s provision for our lives and in the life of Metro.
Will you begin to pray now about what God is calling you to give - over and above your regular giving - to this special offering, and thus, allow God to stretch your faith?
Pastor Peter Ahn
P.S. The enclosed documents provide a general overview and answer many of the common questions the congregation may have about the special offering. However, should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the Metro staff by e-mail or by phone at (201) 676-4765.
The 2016 CHRISTMAS OFFERING is a special offering with a goal of $266,000 for six purposes:
- Making a Kingdom difference in Englewood (Metro Community Center)
- Making a Kingdom difference on the East Coast (Jersey City, Paterson, and Swanzey Lake)
- Making a Kingdom difference in South Africa (Zimele USA and South Africa)
- Making a Kingdom difference by launching a Mission Fund
- Making a Kingdom difference by supporting Metro Missionaries
- Making a Kingdom difference by impacting the youth in and outside of Metro Church
The Christmas Offering will be collected beginning on Sunday, November 20, 2016, through Sunday, January 29, 2017.
1. Making a Kingdom Difference in … Englewood
In 2017, MCC will be continuing the programs it has established, such as MetroLIFE, a personally tailored mentoring and guidance program for high-risk teens in Englewood, the Uptown & MCC Youth Basketball League, Summer Arts Camp and Computer Classes for residents of Englewood. MCC has hopes of expanding the Uptown & MCC Youth Basketball League into a more comprehensive mentorship program to include “Open Gym Nights,” through which Englewood youth will be given a place to come together and play basketball in the evenings, as well as receive tutoring and homework assistance. The Summer Arts Camp continues to grow and adjust, and MCC will be working closely with the Department of Parks and Recreation to adapt and enhance the existing camp curriculum to effectively meet the changing needs of the attendees.
$100K of the Christmas Offering will be designated for this exciting opportunity
2. Making a Kingdom Difference on … the East Coast
New City Kids - Jersey City, NJ
New City Kids (www.newcitykids.org) is a ministry for inner city children and teens aimed at changing the trajectory of kids’ lives by exposing them to academic success, leadership opportunities, the performing arts and the gospel. New City Kids runs three after-school programs in Jersey City, NJ, serving over 220 children daily and employing 100 high school students. Metro Community Church’s gift of $15,000 will be designated to the most recent after-school site in the Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City, which was piloted last year in a groundbreaking partnership with Jersey City Public Schools. The Christmas Offering will also make several off-site retreats possible for the New City Kids teens this year, which will focus on leadership development and spiritual growth.
Impact Paterson Ministries - Paterson, NJ
Impact Paterson Ministries (www.impactpaterson.com), at its core, is a social purpose company with a heart to inspire, equip and empower the marginalized, particularly those who have been incarcerated, through jobs, entrepreneurship and connections. Through its flagship jobs program, Impact Paterson serves 250 people annually, which creates 125 employment placements for its clients. In addition, through its network of service providers, Impact Client Advocates have helped 50 additional people access training, education, housing and other support services within the community. The $10,000 Christmas offering will be designated toward its jobs program, and a portion of the offering will go toward expanding the employer network across Northern New Jersey to offer safe, nurturing and compassionate work environments for clients in transition.
Pilgrim Pines Conference Center - Swanzey Lake, NH
Pilgrim Pines Conference Center (www.pilgrimpines.org), located in Swanzey Lake, NH, is one of the retreat and camp centers operated by the Evangelical Covenant Church, Metro’s own denomination. Each year, this center serves over 9,000 guests, providing an ideal setting for them to learn to love God, love people, learn new skills and just have fun. In the past two years, Metro’s Youth Group, Men’s Ministry and families have visited the camp and have been deeply impacted.
$20,000 of the Christmas Offering will go towards the renovation of bathrooms and cabins at Camp Squanto (Youth Camp), so that they accommodate and ensure greater safety for the youth.
$45K of the Christmas Offering will be designated for these exciting opportunities
3. Making a Kingdom Difference in … South Africa
Zimele USA (www.zimelecommunity.org) continues to pursue its mission of confronting the root causes of poverty in rural South Africa by empowering women with financial literacy, small business and life skills. Since being founded in 2007, over 8,000 women have able to sustain independent livelihoods by breaking historical cycles of poverty and taking ownership of their futures.
As it moves into 2017, Zimele USA is excited to continue growing with more programming and a wider range of project funding for savings based self-help groups and social service projects. As drought is a major concern in rural South Africa, Zimele hopes to fund more agriculture programs to address rain water harvesting. Vision & Ambassador Trips are currently being planned to visit the five villages with which the organization works. Zimele is very excited to share these plans with Metro as we journey together to expand God’s Kingdom in South Africa.
$50K of the Christmas Offering will be designated for this amazing partnership
4. Making a Kingdom difference… by launching a Mission Fund
The Metro Missions Fund was established this year to help our church be more responsive to overseas ministry needs and to allow us to meet those needs in a timely manner. This year, the fund provided school desks for Syrian refugee children who attend classes at our partner church in Antakya, Turkey and funded Pastor Kevin’s travel expenses to Turkey when he led our Turkey Missions Team in March. In 2017, we anticipate similar needs to arise from opportunities that we will assess and respond to as we discern how they align with the vision of our church.
$15K of the Christmas Offering will be dedicated for the mission fund
5. Making a Kingdom difference… by supporting Metro Missionaries
Metro is fortunate and excited to be able to partner with multiple in-house missionaries.
Linda Swanson serves missionaries through Paraclete Ministry (www.paraclete.net) in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa through various conferences and small group gatherings in their local region. Her ministry has allowed missionaries and their families to heal and be restored from difficult challenges that they face on the mission field.
Scott Kwak serves as the Asia Director for World Race (www.worldrace.org). The World Race is a stretching journey into 11 countries in 11 months to serve “the least of these.” This unique mission trip is a challenging adventure for young adults to abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for an understanding that “it’s not about you; it’s about the Kingdom.” Scott travels around Asia to invite young people to be a part of The World Race and also leads The World Race groups in Asia.
Keith Cho serves as the Outreach Coordinator for The Relief Bus (www.reliefbus.org). The Relief Bus is an organization that exists to respond to God’s heart for the poor and broken by going to the streets to offer food, compassion, and connections to resources that lead to life transformation. As Outreach Coordinator, Keith oversees volunteers as they serve the homeless in NJ and NYC.
Jong Ah Park serves as Director of Global Mission and Leadership Development for Korean Campus Crusade for Christ (www.kcccusa.org) and CRU (www.cru.org), organizations that reach out and minister to college students around the U.S. Jong Ah will organize short-term and long-term mission trips, as well as develop curricula and implement leadership programs for college students.
$36K of the Christmas Offering will be dedicated to support Metro’s missionaries
6. Making a Kingdom difference… by impacting the youth in and outside of Metro Church
Transportation needs are on the rise as Metro’s Junior and Senior High ministries continue to grow. Metro Community Center’s MetroLIFE program for the youth in Englewood also continues to expand, and with that growth come new transportation demands. A portion of the Christmas Offering will be used to purchase a used 15-passenger van, which will be instrumental in allowing us to meet the ministry demands of our church and our community center.
$20K of the Christmas Offering will be dedicated to this exciting opportunity
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why A Special Offering?
As part of God’s plan to grow the faith of the people in His church, He calls us to sacrificial giving from time to time. This special offering is an opportunity for us to grow in our faith and to prepare us for what God wants to do through our church in 2017. We’re taking this offering not because we’re off budget, but rather, to position ourselves to make a greater impact in 2017, both locally and globally.
2. What’s The Difference Between The Regular Offering And This Special Offering?
The regular Metro offering is the proportional amount (the full tithe of 10%) that we set apart on a systematic basis and give throughout the year. From time to time, there are opportunities to give in a sacrificial way. The annual Christmas Offering is one of those sacrificial occasions that will stretch us to grow in our faith. The special offering should be over and above what you regularly give.
3. How Much Should I Give?
Since the goal is $266,000, this special offering will involve everyone. Please prayerfully consider a sacrificial gift that will stretch your faith. The precise amount you give is between you and God. Many in our church can give a $1,000 - $5,000 gift. Others will be able to give $100-$500. The issue is not equal giving but equal sacrifice. What amount can you give that will stretch your faith?
4. When & How Should I Give?
The best time to give will be on Sunday, November 20th. Please pray about making your best gift on that day; however, you can continue to give until January 29, 2017. Please use the “Christmas Offering” envelopes or include a note with your Sunday offering, designating that your gift is for the Christmas Offering. You can also give online (www.emetro.org/give) or via our Metro App - simply select Christmas Offering in the “Giving Type” section of the giving interface.
5. Are My Gifts Tax Deductible?
All gifts to Metro Community Church, whether via the regular offering or this special offering, are completely tax-deductible. Be sure your gift arrives at our office before December 31, 2016 to ensure that it can be applied to your 2016 Giving Statement. All gifts after December 31 will be applied to your 2017 Giving Statement. Please be sure to include your name and address when you give so that a receipt can be sent to you in early 2017. You are not required to utilize a tax deduction for your gift, but it is available for all gifts.
Also, you can donate stocks this year! For more info please contact Jenny Lim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. How Did We Arrive At The $266,000 Goal?
The $266,000 goal was prayerfully set by Pastor Peter, pastoral staff, and the Leadership Team. It is a God-sized goal that can only be accomplished through 100% participation and sacrificial giving by our Metro attendees and partners. Because we are expecting God to bless this special offering, it has been determined that any amount over and above our goal will be divided equally between missions and ministry advancement.
7. How Will I Know If We’ve Reached Our Goal?
Please pray for God’s guidance as we give sacrificially. You will be updated on our giving status through e-mails and Sunday services. Reaching this goal will be a celebration of what we can do together as we stretch our faith under God’s leadership.