LET’S GO is a two-year initiative to launch the next phase of Grace’s mission. It’s a challenge to every individual to take their next step in their walk with the Lord both spiritually and financially. It also signals a shift for us as a church: the time has come for us to broaden our focus beyond Orange County to the entire Northeast and beyond.
The primary goal of LET’S GO is to see 100% of people who call Grace Community Church home joining in this life-changing journey.
LET’S GO is all about changing the culture of Grace Community Church. The focus is on helping people go deeper in their walk with the Lord such that their generosity is transformed by the Gospel. We believe that as each of us follows God’s leading and takes our next step in this area, it will permanently change both us as individuals as well as the culture of our church. This shift will last well beyond the two-year timeline of LET’S GO and will allow us to make massive progress toward our vision of 151,000 fully-devoted followers kicking the darkness in the Northeast.
In this way, LET’S GO is like a snowball that get’s larger as it rolls down a hill, finally creating a massive avalanche. It’s a spark to light the fuse of what we believe God has in store for Grace Community Church.
The secondary goal is to see 20 million dollars given over the course of the two years of LET’S GO. The purpose of setting such a goal is to give us a clear way to measure how many people are jumping in and taking their next step of faith. We believe that meeting this goal will be a good indication that the shift in culture we are praying for has taken place.
We are asking that you go “all-in” with us by praying and giving in new ways during the next two years. We believe that we grow spiritually as we step out in faith in ways that stretch us. For this reason, we are kicking off this new season by asking everyone at Grace to take their next step in financial giving to God. That step will look different for everyone and we’ve provided a tool called the Generosity Ladder to help guide you through the process of praying and thinking through what God would have you and your family do (you can find the giving ladder in this booklet or online at graceoc.com/letsgo). Finally, we’re asking each family to write down and commit to their plan for how they will give over the next two years.
It’s important to understand that LET’S GO is not in addition to our regular giving and operating budget but instead includes that money. Based on how much money we anticipate our regular giving to bring in, the number of additional monies to be raise is actually eight million dollars over two years. We believe that goal is both a significant stretch and achievable as each of us trusts God and invests in what He is doing at Grace Community Church.
Rather than specify exactly where every dollar of the money raised will go, we are instead providing a thorough picture of our vision for the next two years to demonstrate the kinds of things we’ll be striving for through the project. This vision is laid out in the initial section of this booklet under the heading ‘The Vision’. The speed at which these goals and projects will be accomplished is primarily tied to the response of the congregation to the LET’S GO initiative.
No, LET’S GO encompasses our general tithes and offerings and then challenges us to take those to the next level for the next two years. In that sense, LET’S GO is not about giving a “special gift” on top our general giving, but instead focuses on stretching the general giving itself.
During this two-year period, every contribution to God’s work through Grace will be a contribution to our LET’S GO initiative. Every aspect of the vision God is calling us to will be funded through LET’S GO. There will not be separate funds. Every gift made will go into the same LET’S GO fund. Therefore, every weekend becomes an opportunity to celebrate and contribute to what God is doing in and through Grace Community Church as we give to go love and launch.
Two years is a helpful frame for two reasons. First, it helps people take a step because it allows us as individuals and families wrap our minds around what it will look like for us to take our next step in generosity. Trying to understand and predict finances gets difficult for longer time-frames. Second, it lets us plan and communicate the vision effectively. Planning how to carry out the vision further than two years in the future becomes less specific and sometimes impossible.
Yes. We understand that things can change over the course of two years. We might face a surprise expense or be blessed with a new source of income. If God leads someone to increase or decrease their commitment during the LET’S GO season, we will have an online form they can fill out located on this website.
Even in times of scarcity, God wants our hearts. The widow who gave her last mite did not make a very big financial contribution, but Jesus said she gave the largest gift of all. LET’S GO is about all of us coming together, giving generously, and trusting God to do the rest. It may mean that God is asking you to trust Him by making a faith commitment that you do not know how to fulfill right now. God has supplied our every need in Christ, and we trust that he will honor a heart that wants to give generously in response to the gospel. To reach the Northeast and beyond, it will take all of us striving together—for each other, for our neighbors, and for our world.
There may also be ways to be sacrificial with your lifestyle to create margin for generosity in your life. Some will cancel cable, and some will ditch the smartphone plan and return to a basic cell phone. Others will play a little less golf, and still others will forego a few caramel macchiatos every week. Some families will buy a smaller home or rent a smaller apartment to be able to give generously for the progress of the gospel. Find ways to involve the entire family in the process of giving generously. Use this as an opportunity to teach children and grandchildren to obey the Lord with a generous heart and to trust Him. This is a great opportunity to take a look at our overall stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.
Knowing that we should give can be easy but knowing how much to give presents a greater challenge. God has always had his people give the “firstfruits” of his provision back to him. Throughout the Old Testament, this took the form of the tithe. Approximately 400 years before the Law was given, both Abraham and Jacob offered the Lord a tithe of everything that he had given to them. The word “tithe” simply means “a tenth.” In response to the provision and the promise of God, these heroes of the faith offered the Lord not merely a tenth of their income but a tenth of everything God had given to them.
The Law codifies the principle of giving a tithe, but it also makes provision for peace offerings and freewill offerings to the Lord. Even the Law encouraged the people of God to exceed the minimum requirements of the Law!
Christ fulfilled the promise of the Law. This does not give us an excuse for no longer giving a tenth; rather, it should motivate us to give in grateful response to God. He keeps his promise and allows us the joy of being a part of his plan for meeting the needs of his people. In Acts, the church did not allow a legalistic reading of the tithe to limit their generosity. Instead, they saw the immense needs among the body of Christ and gave accordingly.
In short, “firstfruit giving” is a universal biblical principle. The tithe is a good place to start for many believers, but it is not a good place to stay. The principle that guides us as we give is this: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV).
The King of Kings left heaven to give his life. So, how then shall we give?
Grace has implemented carefully-designed policies and procedures for every area of finance and accounting. We segregate duties so those who handle accounting at Grace, for example, are not involved in counting tithes and offerings or approving payments. Spending decisions go through several layers of accountability. Every credit card purchase by Grace Staff is seen by a minimum of three sets of eyes. We spend significant time and money every year to have third-party professionals review and evaluate all our financial books (and we consistently receive high rankings). We are also in full compliance with the financial and accounting standards required by the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
The church has a congregational form of government and is not owned or controlled by an individual, family, or a small group of insiders. This means that the congregation has direct involvement in approving budgets and financial opportunities. Our elders are elected by the church and are not paid staff. They come from all walks of life and provide spiritual and practical oversight of the church’s ministry and finances.
In Mark 1:38, Jesus says, “Let’s go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also.” This is a clear demonstration of what God has called us to as a church. We are eager to not only continue going deeper in ministry where we are right now, but also to reach brand new places with the Gospel.
While our current giving is in a healthy place, we believe there is more God wants to do in and through Grace Community Church. In fact, we believe that He’s already doing a great work in the Northeast United States and we want to join Him more deeply and broadly than our current giving allows. We also know that many of our service times are consistently at or beyond their practical capacity. This means that guests who attend are significantly less likely to come back. LET’S GO will not only provide energy and resources to expand our current offerings (through things like new campuses, Spanish locations, and online services), it will also enable us to embark on the next phase of what we believe God has for us in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
There are three primary ways to give. The simplest way to give is to set up a recurring gift that takes place each month automatically by going to graceoc.com/give, clicking “Give”, and then selecting “Set up recurring”.
Second, you can give an individual, one-time gift using the same link and selecting “Give one time”.
Lastly, you can give using cash or check by picking up a giving envelope at the Info Center, filling it out, inserting your gift, and putting it in the Giving Box at your campus (located at the back of the worship center at each campus).
The giving portion of the LET’S GO initiative will begin on the “Big Give Weekend” on December 9th and 10th and will culminate on the weekend of _________. You may choose to work through your plan slowly and systematically with small consistent gifts over the course of those 24 months. Or you may choose to make several larger gifts. Some may even choose to give all at once at the beginning of the LET’S GO season. There is no right or wrong timeline.
“Commitment Weekend” is when the whole congregation will bring our commitment cards to show what we are planning to give. It will be a special moment that we are excited for everyone to take part in. However, we also realize that many people who want to be involved don’t live near a Grace location or might be unable to attend for reasons beyond their control. For this reason, we will put the whole service online as a livestream event that anyone can participate in. We will also have online tools to allow someone to respond to the challenge of LET’S GO no matter where they are.
Most campaigns focus on raising a specific amount of money for a project or building. A campaign says, “We need to raise this much money so we can build or pay for this specific thing.” Once the campaign ends and the money is raised, it has little or no lasting effect beyond the money that was raised. Think of a regular campaign like a firework: it flashes beautifully for a moment and then is gone.
In contrast, LET’S GO focuses on making lasting impact in the hearts and lives of people with the goal of permanently changing the culture of generosity here at Grace. While we do have a measurable financial goal, that is simply a tool to accomplish the heart change we’re truly after. We believe that the impact of LET’S GO will continue long after the two-year initiative ends. Think of LET’S GO like the spark that lights a fuse which continues burning long after the spark goes away.
We will not do any offerings or campaigns during the two years of LET’S GO. We want all our spiritual and financial focus to be in one place.
A commitment card is a helpful tool to guide people through the process of praying through and planning their giving for the next two years. It also provides a way for everyone to communicate their plan to the leadership of the church. This allows us as a church to begin making plans and decisions as soon as possible and lets us be flexible and agile as opportunities arise.
At Grace, we take financial privacy very seriously. Families’ exact giving amounts are never disclosed and only seen by a few carefully-chosen staff members for things like managing finances and tax records.
We also believe that generosity is a fundamentally spiritual issue. How we view our money can often make or break our walk with the Lord. To that end, we are striving to be a church where people are challenged in every area of their spiritual lives, including finances. Thus, we encourage open discussion of how each of us manages our money to facilitate transparency, exhortation, and encouragement.
While our core focus remains steadfast, accelerating our efforts and expanding our impact will mean a shift in some of the practical ways we do ministry. We’ll begin looking beyond the borders of Orange County as we launch more locations. At the same time, the way we launch those locations will need to become more flexible to allow for faster growth. It’s time to look more seriously at things like more portable locations, theatre locations, and other approaches that will enable the ministry of Grace to grow uninhibited.
It’s important for generosity to be a part of our lives at every point. If you are in the process of paying off debt, we commend you, and you should continue to do so. But, the Bible does not teach that we withhold giving until we are debt-free. When we honor God first with our giving, he promises to be involved with every other aspect of finances. If you need help or guidance in the area of personal finances, reach out to your location’s Lead Pastor. Also, we invite you to attend Financial Peace University when it is offered, where you will not only learn some great principles of personal finance but also God’s perspective on our stewardship of his resources.
Jesus spoke more about money than he did about heaven and hell combined. People take different spiritual steps at different times. Some people begin praying before they attend church while others go to small group before they begin talking to God in prayer. Giving is a critical spiritual step, and it comes at different times for different people. Like all other spiritual disciplines, giving draws us closer to God, and God expects that faithful followers of Christ will be joyful and generous givers. Paul is so concerned about our tendency to separate our giving from our living of the Christian life that he admonishes us to excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7). Giving is an essential part of the Christian life.
The church mentions money frequently because money is a frequent area of spiritual attack. The enemy wants to rob the church of the joy of giving and allow the church to excuse its failure to give. He does this because a church that gives generously is a church that knows the joy of the Lord and is impacting its community. We refuse to believe the lie that we can be devoted followers of Christ while we are stingy with God’s resources.
Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). The questions God is calling us to consider are, “Do you really love Christ and his gospel?” “What is Christ worth?” and “How much do you long for the progress of the gospel?” According to Jesus, your answers to these questions are found in where you place your treasure. What does your treasure say about your heart for Christ and his gospel?