This past week at church we played the Advent Conspiracy video and invited our congregation to participate. Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All. The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale.
Our series through Amos has repeatedly addressed the hypocrisy and oppression present in Israel during Amos’ ministry. How can we as a church respond to this challenging message and apply it to our own lives and the life of our church? Participating in the Advent Conspiracy together as a church is one tangible step we want to take together. Advent Conspiracy is about giving generously, having God’s heart for the poor and pursuing freedom from materialism. It’s not just giving from our excess, but sacrificially giving to a greater cause. It challenges us to take a step forward on the journey to generosity and chooses to put the gospel above our own comfort and security.
We also recently had a special sermon on generosity, and people have been sharing amazing stories of how taking steps of generosity have blessed their lives. We see this as another great opportunity to fan the flame of generosity within our church. So here is how this works.
1. Recognize that as we enter into the Christmas season we all have so many opportunities to spend money on gifts, decorations, food, music, events and more.
2. Decide which one of these you might go without, do something differently or simply spend less. Beyond simply sacrificing, consider this opportunity to be generous.
3. Add up the money that you were going to spend, but chose instead to put that money in the green envelope.
4. Give that money by bringing your green envelope to epikos church on Sunday Dec. 14th.
5. Celebrate together as a church as we add up all these special gifts and GIVE this money to three different ministries (see backside to learn more). We will trust that God will be glorified through our generosity (2 Cor 9:6-15!)
Where will this special offering go?
(After the donations are collected on Dec. 14th they will be distributed equally to these ministries)
Food For the Hungry — Guatemala Mission Partnership
Your gift will help launch a long-term partnership between epikos church, Food for the Hungry and Guatemalan village churches. Food for the Hungry (fh.org) works to end world hunger through short-term emergency intervention and long-term work pursuing sustainable change. A team from epikos church will be traveling to Southwest Colotenango, Guatemala this summer for a short-term mission trip. This initial financial gift will cover our team’s building material costs for the project. We will meet some physical needs as we teach children and live out the Gospel among the poor. Look for upcoming information regarding this short-term mission opportunity or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
City on a Hill — Local Inner-City Ministry
Your gift will help to continue the work of this vital ministry in America’s 4th poorest city. City on a Hill (cityonahillmilwaukee.org) works to transform children and families lives in central city Milwaukee by educating youth, empowering parents, equipping leaders for urban ministry and engaging churches to pursue social justice.
Czech Republic Church Plant
Your gift will support Zach Harrod as he begins planting churches that will plant more churches in Czech Republic. As a church that began as a plant from another church, we greatly value church planting and want to strategically partner with efforts around the world. Czech Republic is a country that is less than 1% Evangelical Christian, is largely anti-religious and in desperate need for the gospel. Find him online and learn more at www.zachharrod.com
Reminder that on December 14 you can bring your green envelope (if you don’t have one, we can provide one on the 14th) and it will be collected as part of the worship service. We are excited to partner with these exciting ministries through generosity to make an impact in the world this Christmas.