In 1942, a soldier named Elgin Staples was swept off the USS Astoria in the Battle of Savo in the midst of World War II. He was wounded in both legs, and was only able to stay afloat by wearing a narrow lifebelt. Staples was eventually rescued by a passing destroyer. Once aboard, he looked at the lifebelt that saved his life and saw that it had been made by Firestone Tire and Rubber. He also noticed it had a registration number. Something compelled him to write it down.
When he returned to the States, he asked his mother, who worked for Firestone, about the lifebelt and showed her the number. It happened to be his mother’s personal code stamped on the lifebelt. She had made the lifebelt that saved her own son’s life.
This Christmas is a time to invest some energy with our children and others by pointing them to the Christ at the center of Christmas. What’s done now could be part of a lifebelt that makes a difference for them later. We’ve got two powerful weekends ahead in our “Christmas At Your House” series, along with the annual Christmas Candlelight Services. Let’s make the most of every opportunity.
LET’S DOUBLE OUR IMPACT
Speaking of making the most of every opportunity, don’t forget the opportunity to double the impact of a year-end charitable gift toward the launch of a third campus of The Branch. A donor has committed to match, dollar-for-dollar (up to $200,000), every dollar given toward the launch of the third campus through December 31! Giving may be done online here, or may be done via check as well. Please note “Third Campus” on the check. Some people choose to do year-end giving through transferring shares of stock. To pursue that option, please contact Mona Swofford and she can assist you.
Click here for more information about our multi-site strategy and the third campus.
A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION CONCERNING DEBT
In regard to the third campus, we are in the process of developing a Frequently Asked Questions resource that is being compiled through questions we receive. We anticipate releasing it in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I do want to take a moment to address one frequently asked question right now. Several have inquired as to whether or not we will incur debt to launch the third campus, particularly after enjoying the blessing of being debt-free this past year. Our intention is that we will not borrow money or incur debt in order to staff and operate the campus. We are hesitant, however, to make a commitment that we will never consider financing when it comes to the purchase or construction of a facility.
As I understand it, almost every facility at The Branch Church, going back decades, was built with the aid of a loan.The church always paid it off as quickly as possible; the Vista Ridge purchase took the longest to pay off, at a little more than six years.This length of time was uncharted territory for us as a church in our 109-year history. It has informed our thinking going forward regarding the degree to which we are willing to take on a loan for future initiatives.
We are reluctant, though, to say “never” when it comes to the possibility of financing for the purchase or construction of a facility. We value being debt-free, and will take measures to operate from such a position, but being able to say that we’ll never incur debt again is not our greatest priority. Our greatest priority is helping people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, and then helping them to reach the people around them.
THE ANGEL TREE PROJECT
Finally, thank you for the incredible way you have helped to provide Christmas for many needy families around both of our campuses! The Angel Tree project is in full swing!
Grace and peace,
See you this weekend,
Posted on Thu, December 11, 2014
by Chris Seidman