For several years now at Providence, we’ve had an Anniversary Sunday custom of collecting a special offering as a kind of “birthday gift” to the church.  We’ll do it again on May 19, with all “birthday gift” donations given that day directed toward retiring the debt remaining from the Moss Children’s Building construction project. Only this year, we have a chance to make an even bigger difference than usual.

One of our fellow church members is offering to match, dollar for dollar, every gift in 2019 that is directed toward debt retirement.  It’s an incredibly generous gesture, but it also comes at an incredibly important time in the life of our church.

How so?  Well, the simple answer is that we’ve got a big financial obligation staring at us—and it’s time to do something about it.  In February of 2020—nine months from now—the balance of the loan we used to pay for the Moss Children’s Building will come due.  At the beginning of 2019, that remaining balance due in February of next year was calculated at $313,000.  This means that, after we make all of our regularly scheduled principal and interest payments on this debt in 2019, we will still owe $313,000 in February of 2020 when the loan comes due.

We have a choice, then: refinance the loan before it comes due and continue making monthly principal and interest payments for another several years, or pay the balance and eliminate the remaining debt before it comes due.  These are our options.

Our Providence Will Strategic Plan calls for us to find a way to do the latter, to pay off the debt this year.  The Stewardship Committee has been given this task and has taken seriously the call to act, believing that being debt-free will allow us to invest in currently underfunded ministries and missions at Providence. The committee also believes it will put us in a position to make necessary improvements to our existing church facilities without the shadow of unmet financial obligations lingering over us.

Anniversary Sunday gives us a tremendous opportunity to take a gigantic step together toward reaching this strategic goal.  With every one dollar given on May 19 turning into two dollars—a double portion—of debt relief, we mustn’t squander this chance to move forward in a positive, proactive fashion.  I am confident that, with God’s help, Providence will rise to the occasion.

And therein lies the challenge.  |In order for us to do this, we’ve got to work together.  Matching gifts only work if there are gifts to be matched.  One of us has made a generous offer.  It’s up to the rest of us now to respond with generosity of our own.  It’s always the case that every single gift, given cheerfully in Jesus’ name, matters.  This year, though, every single gift toward retiring the debt matters twice.

The Lord has been good to Providence through the years, allowing us to do kingdom work in Charlotte and beyond in the name of Jesus.  We’ll celebrate 65 years of Christ-centered ministry on May 19 by worshiping together as one congregation, breaking bread together at lunch following worship, and giving together out of the abundance that God has already provided—honoring our past by moving forward into the future.  The key?  We’ll do it all together.

May the peace of Christ be with you!