James Leman is lead pastor of First Free Methodist Church in Spokane, Washington. He grew up as a missionary kid on an Indian Reservation in eastern Montana. This childhood shaped his worldview and his desire to see people come to a life-changing knowledge of Jesus. He felt called into full-time pastoral ministry as a freshman in college.
There are many ways that the NAE Financial Health online courses blessed me and our church. To start, I received practical ideas to implement. I switched health insurance providers to save $2,400 annually, bought airline tickets with points, met with a financial planner, learned how to set appropriate staff salaries, and started annual compensation reviews for church staff, among other things. But most important, through the courses, God grew my faith and reminded our church that he is our provider.
While our church leaders were going through the Church Generosity course, the church custodian found water damage in the church’s crawlspace. Contractors then found that our church building had structural damage that would need to be fixed as soon as possible. What we hoped would be an easy fix turned into a $100,000 project.
For a church of 135 people (including kids!), this price tag seemed insurmountable. Our church board started looking into loans, and in July, we told the church that we would begin a capital campaign in September to determine how large of a loan we would need.
In August, we received $50,000 for the project from the estate of a member who recently passed away. A couple other gifts for the building project came in before we specifically asked people to give toward it. We were thrilled to send a letter to our church saying that $56,000 had already been committed to the building project. The next day we received an anonymous gift of $35,000 for the building project. (I initially thought it was a scam!)
On the first Sunday in September, I planned to update the church on the building project and launch the capital campaign at the end of the service. However, after our normal offering, our board treasurer who counted the offering that day slipped me a note with tears in his eyes. We received (or had committed) another $31,000. Before we launched our capital campaign, we had $22,000 over our goal!
God had provided in ways that we could not have foreseen. A theme that runs throughout the Personal Finances and Church Generosity online courses is that God is our provider. Our water damage/major building project reminded us that he certainly is.
This article originally appeared in Evangelicals magazine.