Beyond the Challenge

When Northgate (Ottumwa, Iowa) Alliance Church leaders challenged its members to give liberally toward the Great Commission (GC) Sunday offering, they could not have imagined the response. The governing board promised to match the offering, using money from the church’s general fund. “We are in a financially healthy position,” says Marcia Oakes, the church bookkeeper,” and assumed that it would be the usual $2,000 or $3,000 offering.”

 But the 300-member congregation’s GC Sunday offering totaled more than $52,000. “I was blown away,” says Oakes, who double-checked the church’s account to confirm it could, indeed, meet the challenge. “It’s been fun to see people’s reactions.” 

 The Alliance church did not have an extensive missions promotion during this time and did nothing “out of the norm” to promote GC Sunday-other than the challenge. According to Oakes, the board leaders believed the Kingdom would be better served by utilizing the financial surplus instead of letting it sit in a bank. “And the Lord moved,” she says.

Church members are excited about their collaborative effort, hoping that their gift will allow Alliance missionaries to continue in the ministry to which they were called. “Maybe one family will get to stay on the field that would’ve had to come home,” says one member.

When told of Northgate’s generous gesture, U.S. C&MA President Gary Benedict said, “I can only praise God for His faithfulness through His people.”


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