A little idea was hatched in a missions committee meeting over six years ago due to concern for struggling church plants in the Presbytery of the Midwest. The idea grew into a plan. It was noted that church plants started, but could not quite stand on their own. The burden of the committee was to see these churches grow and prosper financially and spiritually. What we could be done to help? A good start would be to relieve some of the financial worries. A hatchling emerged: how about a fundraising dinner?
The committee moved from idea, to plan, and then to executing the dinner. Announcements were sent to local churches, a speaker engaged, a caterer found, and a venue booked. Young people from area churches were enlisted to serve and bus tables. Decorations were borrowed. A dinner came out of the hard work.
The first year’s speakers consisted of local church planters with the keynote speaker being Rev. Bosgraf, Regional Home Missionary.
The dinner was well received. The committee took notes on areas that could be improved and planned to hold another dinner. With each passing year since, the banquet has continued to grow, and on March 3, 2017, Covenant OPC, Orland Park, IL hosted the sixth annual home missions dinner at the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont, IL. In attendance, were people from all over the Chicago area and some from Wisconsin. Reverend John Shaw, General Secretary of Home Missions, was the much-anticipated speaker.
In six years these dinners have raised almost $35,000. This seems like a small amount, but to the plants it is a big blessing. Pastor John Ro, from the Gospel Life Church in Chicago reported, “As a mission work, we have always been financially tight and it seems God always provides at just the right time… to fill in the gaps, so that we could carry out more evangelism and simply pay the bills. We are grateful for the financial and prayer support. I think if it were simply a check handed to us, then it wouldn't be as encouraging. But because we knew people were praying for us and being our moral support, we were greatly encouraged.” Which leads to the additional benefit of the dinners – the time of fellowship and encouragement. It is a reminder that, yes, people had been and are praying for Gospel Life and were willing to support the continuation of their work and others.
It is the committee’s twofold goal to encourage others in ministry and to provide a template for other presbyteries to be more proactive in fundraising. A dinner may not appear to be much, just a little thing, but even in these there is great encouragement and financial support for our church plants. Other churches are encouraged to take this idea and plan their own fundraising dinners.
A day, or should we say, dinner of small things, a small idea, can grow into a blessing for a presbytery and hopefully the denomination. All to the glory of our God and to the building up of His church!