7540 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy Dallas, TX 75251
In Person Sunday 9 and 11:15 AM Streaming Sunday 9 and 11:15 AM
6401 Parkwood Blvd Frisco, TX 75034
In person Sunday 9 AM Streaming Sunday 9 and 11:15 AM
6400 K Ave Plano, TX 75074
In Person Sunday 9 and 11 AM Streaming Sunday 9 and 11:15 AM
Fort Worth Campus Pastor, Tyler Briggs, leads a celebration of the life change that has come through the investments of the body and informs them of opportunities that still exist to continue to eagerly invest in the mission.
Join The Journey: A Tour of Romans
Christmas Eve 2017
Contentment, Longing and Christmas
An Update on the Mission in Fort Worth
Evening with the Elders
An Evening with Eric Metaxas
What a Compassionate God Wants You to Consider as Your Next Yes
Worship Together: You Are the Church
Worship Together: The Future of the Church in the Hands of Parents
Worship Together: Remember. Consider. Imitate
Worship Together: Influencing the Next Generation by Preparing Ourselves and Investing in Our Children
Do Good People Go To Heaven?
Step Up in Faithfulness, Discover and Invest Your Talents for Christ
Regretful Hearts v. Repentant Hearts
Leadership Matters…and Other Seminal Truths
The Future and Hope of Your Life and Our City
Keeping Short Accounts
Soldiers, Athletes & Farmers: A Biblical Look at the Spiritual Life
Why Your First Impression of Your Father Matters
Why Every Week is a Pastors' Conference
The End of the Search
The Christian in Culture
4 Dead-Ends to Spiritual Growth
A Spectacle of Glory: An Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada
Easter: “It is True”
Good Friday 2017
Fort Worth Raise The Mark
Seeing God as a Perfect Father
Who You Are, Eternally
Freedom from Following
Four Traits Christ’s Disciples Share
Inquiring of The Lord
Fort Worth's Opportunity... A Day We Can't Wait to See
This is a fun week for all of us as we look forward to gathering up with family in just a few days. Many of you will be traveling back and forth, and it's just a season of excitement, because in five days is one of the best, greatest, most looked forward to holidays of the year: Black Friday. How many Black Friday shoppers do we have out there? Many of you are lying. Come on. This is Sunday morning. How many Black Friday shoppers do we have out there? There we go.
Now how many people wait and just catch the deals online? You're still a Black Friday shopper; you're just smarter than the rest of us. It's a really fun season. I love this time of year. Lindsay and I… Our families live about five and a half hours from here, so we don't get to see them a bunch, but whenever we gather up it's a great time, especially around Thanksgiving. Most of the time for Thanksgiving we start off hanging out with Lindsay's parents and siblings and everything, and Thanksgiving is a huge deal.
Everybody gathers around, and we eat a bunch of turkey and have a bunch of desserts, and about the time when the tryptophan kicks in from the turkey and we all start to doze off, we break out the sales papers. You can still do this. It doesn't have to just be online. First thing on Thanksgiving morning, Lindsay's dad gets up at like 4:00 and goes and meets the newspaper delivery guy before he gets to the corner store, and he brings them in. We have all of these sales ads.
So right after we finish having Thanksgiving lunch, we turn on the football games on TV, which we really don't pay attention to, and we start thumbing through these ads. We start looking for items on our list and everybody's lists, and we make out this game plan of "Okay, Target has these items. Walmart has these items. Best Buy here." Then instead of rallying and everybody going to one store at the same time, the Brown family is much smarter than that.
They say, "Okay, who has something on their list they need from Target?" Then they designate one champion to go to Target. Then another one. "Who has Walmart? What does everybody have at Walmart?" Then one person goes there, and Best Buy, and so on and so forth. The deal is instead of maybe missing out by going store to store one person goes to each store and gets everybody's items there from that list. (That was for free. You have a better game plan now for Black Friday than when you came in, and you are welcome for that.)
What's amazing about Black Friday is everybody gathers around… You can buy stuff all year long, but at Black Friday there are these crazy deep discounts, so everybody is eager to go in and latch ahold of them and invest in whatever the item for this next year is that they think is going to bring them an abundance of joy and change their life.
If you don't believe me, you don't have to look very far to realize the craziness people have to get ready to invest in these items with much eagerness to see these things begin to change their lives and bring them joy. Just in case you didn't believe me and in case you need someone this morning to talk you out of going shopping Black Friday, watch this quick little video.
Okay, now let me ask you a question one more time. How many of you are going to go out this Black Friday? You might have changed your mind. One person in the balcony raised their hand. They're like, "That doesn't scare me. Bring it on. We're going to do this." That is crazy. That just goes to show you how much we think things can change our lives and the eagerness we have… Even though things are on sale, you still spend more money than you probably would have any other time of the year, so you're not saving anything. Hint.
But how eager we are to invest in things we think are going to bring us joy and change our lives. 'Tis the season. Right? Well, what's amazing is people would look at that and call it crazy. People would look in here at you and call you crazy for a much different reason. When people look at the many of you who have been here for the past four years, the reason they would call you crazy is because you are doing things that do not make sense to this world.
You have come to personally know the love of Jesus Christ in your life and realize the sacrifice he has made on your behalf, and in response for it you are declaring with your life, "Jesus, you are worthy of it all," and you have put all of your time, all of your talents, and all of your treasure on the table to eagerly invest not in a thing but in people, in a Savior, in a kingdom, and in a mission.
One of the most amazing things we get to be a part of every single week is to hear stories from person after person after person of how Jesus Christ has changed their life as a part of coming to experience him around this local fellowship of Watermark Fort Worth. It would be very, very easy for us to lose sight of why we do what we do. Whether we're giving to rental of Ridglea Theater and growing needs to create space, where we then absorb things such as the annex we started with down at the back end of this facility, and then adding in stage 1 and offices…
Whether it's investing in those things or investing in staff leadership that's going to go toward leading things such as re:gen and re|engage and Equipped Disciple and women's Bible study and all of the ministries we have going on or whether it's directly investing in something such as Give & Go, to take an item that's going to be used to be a carrier of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those in our city who desperately need it…
Every investment we make, regardless of what it goes toward, is an investment in the mission Jesus Christ gave us to go and take his name, to take the gospel to all nations, starting with the nation or the city we live in. It is phenomenal week after week to sit around with the staff, to sit around with many of you in different circles we may have overlap in and just get to talk about not only what Christ is doing in our lives but how we get to see Jesus Christ at work in the lives of people all the way around us.
As such, many people gather around and just want to say "Thank you." So as part of keeping our hearts aligned with why we do what we do, giving of our all, of our time, our talents, and our treasure, to see people's lives changed by the message of Jesus Christ, we want to give you an opportunity to hear from your friends who have had room created for them over the past several years as you have invested in this mission. So watch this video.
Graham Walton: Before I came to Watermark my life was defined by solitude and my past sins, and when I got to Watermark I was surrounded by a community of believers that no longer looked at my sins but looked at my relationship with Christ, so thanks for making room for me.
Liniger Family: Thanks for making room for us.
Alayna Whitaker: I was not really a believer. I had never truly understood the gospel in a way that changed my heart.
John Ingebritson: My life was a complete mess. I'd grown up in the church but ran far away from Christ.
Jake Metz: I was at a point in my life where I was the farthest away from God I'd ever been.
John: I was invited by a guy to come to Summit, and that's the first time I saw the Word of God treated the way it should be treated.
Jake: They brought me in with open arms in a way I didn't even know was possible.
Alayna: The only thing that ended up filling that hole was Christ, and it was just the most satisfying relief you've ever felt in your whole life.
Jake: So thank you for making room for me.
Shannon Ingebritson: Thanks for making room for me.
John: Thanks for making room for me.
Alayna: Thanks for making room for me.
Viet Le: I felt a pressure to be a good Christian so I can show my parents back home who are not believers yet.
Brittany Bush: For so long in my life I thought God was like my dad, who growing up was verbally and emotionally abusive.
Viet: The more I tried to show that, the more pressure I felt and the more I fell into a deep pit.
Brittany: I got to see who God was and that he was faithful, that he was loving, and that he desired to give me good gifts.
Viet: These strangers at first began to love me, show me what accountability means.
Brittany: I'm so thankful I said yes to that. Thank you for making room so I could do that.
Viet: Thanks for making room for me.
Shawna Gibson: I was six and a half months pregnant, single, hopeless, and homeless, not knowing anything about what a Bible study was, but I went in there.
Nick Foreman: There was too much alcohol in my past. There were too many drugs in my past. There was too much pornography in my past.
Shawna: They were all put together and they were all beautiful, and I'm literally like, "Oh goodness. Here I am," and they were like "Yeah, here you are. Let's celebrate you. Let's love on you."
Nick: I stand up and I turn around, and a guy looks at me and introduces himself and shakes my hand and just asked me how I was doing.
Shawna: I thought, "Well, once you get to know me…" I always kept waiting for the other shoe to fall, and it never did.
Nick: It was more than just, "Hey, man. Let me get your number, and let's go have coffee sometime." He got my number, and we actually went and had coffee a lot of times.
Shawna: It's really cool, because every time I'm like, "Oh gosh, I can't deal with this," God is like, "Yeah, you can. Let me show you. Let me show you how to do it, and you're not alone."
Nick: I'm no longer identified by the mistakes in my past, but I am identified by my new life in Christ. So thanks for making room for me.
Shawna: Watermark has created a space for my son and me to feel loved, accepted, and safe. Thank you for making room for not only me but for my son. My story doesn't end here.
[End of video]
I've watched that video about a dozen times already, and I just think to myself, "What else would I want to give my life to?" I look at that video, and I'm like, "That's Viet. He's my neighbor. I've seen that in his life. That's Shawna." Shawna was at my Equipped Disciple table, and I got to see this amazing story unfold in her life, not nearly all of which she just got to declare to you. I see guys like Nick as he declares to you what his life was like before, now stepping up and being a courageous leader of God's people all over the place.
I get to know the Ingebritsons. Both of their lives were a mess just a few years ago, and now John is on staff and Shannon is leading one of our significant ministries here called Someone Cares because of your faithful investment into the kingdom and because you have chosen to prioritize investment in God's mission over investing in yourself. It honors God and inspires people. My prayer is that as we look at things like that we would remember why we're doing all this.
We're not doing this to make ourselves feel good every single week. We're not doing this to build a social network or a business network that's going to have perks for us. We're not doing this to come and kill our guilt. We're not doing this to build a building. We're doing this to see people's lives changed by Jesus Christ, and every single one of us is a resource to that message and that mission happening. Every dollar we give is an investment into that mission being accomplished.
I hope, I pray this morning that you are encouraged to know that God by his grace (because it has nothing to do with us) has chosen to use us, his masterpieces (only because of his work), to make his name great, to have an environment and a community where people's lives can be changed, and it is incredible to be a part of. I am thankful to get to lock arms with every single one of you to bring forth the message of Jesus Christ. I just want to stop right now and pray and thank God for what he has been doing. If you would, pray with me.
God, thank you. This is unbelievable that when we spent a day hearing stories from people and capturing it on video it wasn't just the eight or ten on the screen; it was dozens, and that in the coming weeks we'll get to continue to be encouraged by stories. What's even more amazing, God, is that it doesn't stop there.
There are hundreds of people who call this local church their local church and whose lives are being radically changed because of your grace, because you in your abundant grace toward us have chosen to come in and work in our midst, and for each of us who have come to know you it's by your doing and not our own.
We thank you for Viet and Shawna and the Linigers and the Ingebritsons and for Jake and Graham and Brittany and Alayna and Nick and the hundreds more, including myself, of lives you've changed. We thank you for the eager investments the members who call this faith family their home, the way they have invested not only of their treasure but also their time and their talents to give up nights of the week, to give up hours carrying forth your mission.
God, we pray that the stories you have written thus far would not be the end of the story but that you would continue to transform others and by doing so draw attention to Jesus Christ. Help us to remember that this is why we exist as a church: to know you and to glorify you and to invite others to come and see. God, we pray that would be true in our lives. We pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on that mission. We thank you so much for your grace and for your work among us. We love you and we thank you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
One thing that happens when you have a community of people who are fully devoted to Christ and lives are changing weekly and numbers are being added to us daily is you begin to run out of room, and that's not a problem. It has been amazing. I was a part of a ministry this fall called Merge. Merge is our premarital ministry, where couples who are considering marriage come to hear biblical truth and foundation about what it looks like to have a relationship centered around Christ and from a biblical perspective evaluate if they should move forward toward marriage.
There were multiple nights over the course of this fall where we had to meet in storage closets, in parking lots, and in foyers because there wasn't room for everybody. Every single week there are opportunities where people would love to jump in to be discipled; to go to re:gen to work on their hurts, habits, and hang-ups; to come to Equipped Disciple to learn tools and skills they can use to have an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ; to come to re|engage because their marriage is either falling apart and they are on a lifeline or simply because they want to bring it from good to great.
Those opportunities aren't always immediately available to them, because we're running out of room. People are having, at times, to wait months before they can jump in and be discipled, to grow in an understanding of God's love for them and how that can change everything about them, and that is a travesty. What's not a travesty is the fact that we're not letting constrictions in space hold us back from being fully committed to the mission.
That's why we meet in storage closets and in parking lots and in homes and in the Ridglea Presbyterian Church across the street, as we borrow space from them for women's Bible study and other opportunities that come up for us. Several times of year there are parents who want to come and be able to have a time committed to fully being ministered to by the Word of God, but they're not able because we have to turn their kids away because we don't have any more rooms to put them in.
They still come, most of the time. Sometimes they don't, because it's so much of a barrier that it would be a distraction to them to hearing the Word of God ministered to them, and we don't have room for their kids, so they leave. Everything we talk about, everything we're doing here is committed to bringing the message of Christ to as many people as possible, and as each of you have lives that are changed and you're declaring to others whose lives are being changed, God is continuing to bring people here, and we are out of room.
We are making every effort we possibly can to remove barriers that don't have to be there for people coming to hear about Christ, to know Christ, and to learn about him. Most of you know that for the past several years we have been looking at pursuing, acquiring, and moving to a new campus where those restrictions would no longer be there, where we could make more room to make more disciples so we could celebrate more "Thanks for making room for me" videos because people's lives are being changed. We're halfway there.
So this morning, as we talk specifically about our mission right here in Fort Worth, we want to make sure you're fully up to speed on where we are, the barriers we're facing, and the opportunities that exist right before us to continue to invest in people. Not for getting a building but for seeing and hearing about people's lives being changed by Christ as a part of this local church. We want to update you on that.
This morning if you're here and you're a guest, I hope you're more encouraged than anybody else here, because you get to look around the room and see a room full of people who are committed to giving their all so you can come to know the love of Christ in the same way they have come to know the love of Christ. We do this for you.
So as we talk about some of the things that are affecting our local mission, I pray that wouldn't discourage you or distract you and you wouldn't check out but that you would sit there and see God moving his people for your sake to draw you into relationship with him and for you to come to experience and to know him.
As we celebrate what God has done in the past, we want to let you know what we need to do now in the present so we can continue to hear those stories of life change in the future. This morning I want to give you an update on where we are as we look forward to moving into our new campus. To give you an update, we'll just start with an overview of where we are. To see where we are was really just breaking it down into three steps. What do we need to accomplish in order to get to the new campus so we could have more room for more disciples?
The first step was simply to purchase the property. We did that back this May for $2.55 million, and it was a group effort between all three campuses coming together stewarding resources. This was a time last fall when we got to see each of you do amazing things and make amazing sacrifices to invest in this. Most of you probably have not heard the story of how we came about this property, so I want to share that with you briefly.
The process of finding what home God would give us for the long term that would allow us present opportunities to maximize ministry opportunities and then a long-term ability to grow was really discouraging for the first three years, because as we looked around there was just nothing available that we could either afford or that would meet the needs of a young but growing and thriving church campus.
We looked at dozens of different properties, and every one of them came to a dead end to the point where, as a staff and as leadership, we began to think, "Maybe God is not in this, and maybe he doesn't have anything for us." Then there was one particular property that came up as we were looking at this big map Gary had in his office up on the wall. There was this one property that stood out to us. It was an existing church campus on 26 acres of property.
As it turns out, one of the guys we were working with, David, who's a part of our body, who was helping us out with some real estate, had already called, and that church had said, "We're not interested in selling." Gary and I went driving around one day for lunch just looking at different spots, and we go over there to that campus and are kind of looking at it and said, "Hey, maybe this is it." We didn't know at that time that they had already said "No."
Gary, in his boldness and courage said, "Well, let's just go knock on the door and see if somebody is home." So we got out and walked over there. I'm thinking, "Gary, this is embarrassing. What are you getting us into?" O, me of little faith. We knock on the door, and their pastor answers and says, "Hey, how are y'all doing? Where are y'all from?" He hears us real quick. We tell him what we are. I said, "We're on staff at a young church that's new to the area, and we're growing a ton, and we have run out of room. This may sound crazy, but have y'all ever considered selling?"
He said, "Come on in and let me give you a tour." So Britt took us around and gave us a tour of the facility, and we were just kind of blown away. There was certainly some work that needed to be done to update the building to have the aesthetics match the excellence of the message we carry and to make some functional changes we'll talk about. We get done, and we're kind of going around and just stopping, and by that point one of their elders had come into the room.
We're just standing in the auditorium, and we start having a serious conversation about what this would look like. Britt says, "The elders are gathering tonight. We're going to come together and talk about this. Currently, we're carrying a lot of debt we need to get out of, and our congregation is shrinking, and really this campus is becoming a barrier to our ability to care for our people. So let us get together as elders and pray and talk, and we'll get back to you." So we prayed with them, and then a couple of days later we get a call back.
They said, "Hey, we think we're interested and would like to consider selling this existing church campus property to you guys." We got really excited about it, all the while knowing it has 26 acres of property. We had looked at several other properties around town, some of which were a million dollars an acre. The cheapest property we had found was $400,000 an acre with no existing buildings on it. So we're thinking, "They have 26. What kind of number are they going to come back with?"
As we talked to them about what we're hoping to accomplish and doing something that would serve their body and also set our body up for success, we landed on a number that was $2.55 million for 26 acres, an existing church campus that has an auditorium that can grow to sitting up to 1,400 people once it's completely done and an opportunity to expand and continue to make room for a long time. Twenty-six acres is a lot of property. We were blown away.
Then we began to talk through the details of all of it, and that's how we landed on that property. That does not happen apart from God's hand being in the middle of it. What else doesn't happen apart from God's hand being in the middle of it is having a church body that's only a couple of years old that consists of 85 percent of our campus under the age of 40, which means lower incomes… We were thinking $2.55 million is an incredible deal, but there's no way our young campus is going to be able to do that.
But we did, because of your love for Christ and the way God stirred in your hearts. Not only because of your love for Christ but because of your love for people who you want to come to see fall in love with Jesus Christ the same way you have. As a part of that, over the past year, this body in this room has released $2 million in resources, a million of which went toward the initial purchase of that property back in May and another million of which is a part of an existing $5 million we have available for renovation of the property.
All it says on that screen for step one is completed, but that completed represents a lot of God's work in our lives, and that's to be celebrated. So thank you for investing in this mission and allowing us to purchase that property and be moving toward renovating it to move in to have more room to make disciples.
Now we find ourselves in a spot where, as we look at that property, there are some things about it that have to be changed. If we're going to renovate it at all, which is needed, it has to be brought up to code. So there are things such as putting in a sprinkler system to update to fire code, increasing the water supply, changing out a lot of the electricity infrastructure in the building, and not only that, but an unexpected cost we didn't see coming of having to replace the entire HVAC system. It has just continued to add up.
The initial renovation of that campus to make it ready for ministry use was going to be $5 million, but as we discovered some of these unexpected costs and then had bids come back from contractors that were higher than initial estimates, we've ended up with an actual budget or need for resources of $7 million to completely finish the renovation of that main campus. We currently have $5 million in resources available.
Where did those $5 million in resources come from? A million of it has come straight out of this body. The other $4 million has come from the generous gifts of the Watermark Dallas and Watermark Plano Campuses, because they see what God is doing here and have chosen to continue to invest in expanding God's mission here and removing barriers we couldn't have accomplished on our own. It's going to take another $2 million on top of what's already there to finish the main building renovation.
Then step three on top of that is another $1.5 million needed to repair and resurface the parking lot, which is in severe disrepair now and is only going to get more expensive to replace in the future, and then also there's that big metal building up the hill, to turn that into a youth space that maximizes opportunity for ministry there, equipping in midweek spaces for membership class, Equipping classes, and things such as Equipped Disciple, and also to get our staff offices out of this Camp Bowie area and onto the new campus over there.
That creates a total need of $3.5 million to get us over there and completely finish renovations. That's a big number. You hear that and are like, "Well, we've had two in the past year, and we've given a lot. We've given sacrificially. How are we going to get to 3.5, and where is that going to come from?" Well, as we've gathered together as leaders and thought about this and we look at the resources that today have come from all three campuses, we are really eager and excited to see what God does to release the additional $3.5 million that are needed to get onto this campus.
Where are those resources going to come from? Part of what we want to do is always to strive to have every campus be a healthy, thriving body of Christ, whether it was an autonomous local church or a satellite campus. We're a satellite campus. We still want to have every mark of a healthy church, and part of that is that the members are owning the local mission.
So we are excited, and leadership from Fort Worth has gone to our elders and said, "We want to own this. As our Fort Worth Campus and our Fort Worth body, we want to be the ones who own the releasing of the $3.5 million in resources needed to completely finish this renovation." I am excited to see how God is going to move in every single one of our hearts to accomplish that.
The additional $3.5 million that's needed to finish the renovation over there is going to come from this room, and we are excited to see how each of you continues to go before the Lord to pray and respond about how God would have you release those resources so we can get there. Other questions that come up as we talk about this are…What's currently the building's status? Are we doing anything right now?
As I said a minute ago, we currently have $5 million in account ready for available use, so demolition started back last month in October, and we'll continue to finish the demo of the existing property, change out the infrastructure, bring it up to code, and get it shelled in. We'll do that with the existing $5 million. In order to move in, there's still an additional $2 million worth of work that needs to be done.
So when will we move? We will move whenever that $2 million in resources needed to accomplish the main building infrastructure and updating, which does not finish the total renovation of the entire campus… Whenever that's done is when we will move over to the new campus. We've started that there. So you may ask, "When do we need to resource this?"
In order for us to continue with construction and not have to pull the crew off because we don't have the resources there to complete construction, we need to respond in this room by December 31. That gives us about six weeks to process, to pray, and to give sacrificially toward this to not experience any delays in the construction. If we do that, we would move in around midyear next year to give time for completion of everything.
What if we don't have the resources come in? We wait, and we're great to wait. Here's what I mean by we wait. We wait to move; we don't wait on the mission. We continue to do ministry in storage closets. We continue to do ministry in parking lots. We continue to do ministry as creatively as we possibly can with the existing resources we have through the Ridglea Theater and our other spaces while we continue to wait for all of us to continue to respond to the need that's there until the resources are available to finish out those projects over on that campus.
December 31 is when we're asking everybody to have responded by. So what do you do from here? From here you may be thinking, "I would love to know some more of the details of what's going to go into all this. What are some of the decisions that are being made? What's some more information about the new campus?" We want to give you an environment and an opportunity to ask any questions you have and for us to share more specific detailed information with you.
So we're having three informational meetings that are open to anyone and everyone over the next few weeks that you can come to to get more information. We're going to share some more detailed information about what we're doing over there as part of the renovation, and then also for you to ask questions. We are eager to have those conversations with you and remove any barriers or any questions or doubts you may have in your mind about what's being done so that you can have all the information you feel you need to respond faithfully to what we're looking for.
Ultimately, how do you respond? You pray. The first thing you need to do is pray. Stop and go before the Lord and just pray, "God, how would you have me respond?" The other one is process with your Community Group. This is a decision, this is a move that affects our entire family, and because it affects our entire family and we ask everyone who's a part of our family to be in a Community Group…
We're not going to have the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with every single one of you to help you process this, but every one of you has an environment as a member of this body to process how God would have you respond. That environment is in your Community Group. So over the next couple of weeks, by December 10, we're asking every Community Group to come together and share about how they're processing all of this information and how God is going to have them respond.
Now here's what that's not for. That processing in your Community Group is not a time to coerce one another into responding. It's an opportunity to ask questions, to ask, "What Scriptures have you looked at to inform your decision here, and how have you chosen to respond?" and to encourage, and then appropriately, at times, challenge one another, not necessarily in what the gift is but in whether or not we're faithfully evaluating and processing before the Lord how he would have us respond to this opportunity, and then ultimately take action through giving by December 31.
Just to back up a little bit, if you're like me, whenever you heard that number $3.5 million about five minutes ago you stopped listening to me, you took out your phone, you started to guess about how many members you think we have, and you started trying to do the math to figure out, "Okay, what is that number?" There's a lot of laughter, which means a lot of you were not listening to me for the past five minutes, but I'm okay with that, because this information is readily accessible.
Put your phone up. I can give it to you. It's about $4,300 per member. When you go from $3.5 million as the big number to $4,300 per member, that's a little bit less scary, but that's still a big number. But at the end of the day, whether it's $3.5 million or $4,300, that is not the goal. The goal is that all of us would faithfully put everything we have before the Lord, inform our hearts with God's Word, and then ask, "God, what would you have me do?" and that all of us respond not with an equal gift but with equal sacrifice toward his mission, remembering that even though this is a building it's not about a building.
It's about having room to make disciples. It's about investing in the next Viet, investing in the next Shawna, investing in the next Nick, investing in all of the people who I don't know their names, but you do, who you desire to come and see the love of Christ and be changed and be transformed by him. So $3.5 million is the number. It's $4,300 per member, but we're not looking at that. We're just trying to ask, "What would God have me do in this?"
I was processing with a friend earlier this week about the FAQ and fact sheet you had in your hand when you came in, and there's a term that goes all throughout there that talks about us releasing resources, and it doesn't say "raising funds." He says, "Hey, that sounds different. Why do you use that verbiage?" I was really glad he asked. The reason we don't talk about "raising funds" is that we don't think we need to go outside to anywhere to raise funds that don't currently exist.
It's our belief and our conviction that every single amount of resources that are needed to accomplish the mission right here in Fort Worth exists currently in our Fort Worth body. So the challenge is not to go out and to raise funds. The question is for each of us to go before the Lord and ask, "Will I choose to release the resources that are his that he has entrusted me to steward for the purpose of his mission and the mission that's playing out at our campus of making more room to make disciples?" So we don't think it's a raising funds issue but a releasing of resources.
I was encouraged. I've shared Lindsay's and my process as we've thought about this with some friends. We've shared it with the elders, with our Fort Worth leadership team, and our Community Group, and each time, I've been encouraged to share with you how Lindsay and I have looked at this renewed opportunity to give. I would love to do that now.
Last fall, whenever the opportunity came up for us to look at purchasing the new campus, Lindsay and I were really eager to invest in that opportunity, and we gathered up with our friends, with our Community Group, and began to process. At that point we had been saving up, finally in a position to be able to save and put back some money toward a down payment for a home, and we were excited to say, "Hey, we're going to take half of what we have here and give it toward the resource of the new campus."
That was a quick, easy decision for us to make, and to date, that was the largest single gift by far we had ever given to God's mission, and we were excited to do it. Well, this summer, as we began to dive into inspecting the new campus and seeing some of these other things come up… Having an inside look into that, I knew there was going to be a need to raise additional resources.
As I began to personally think about that, I was like, "Man, I don't know how we're going to get there. Our people have already responded. I've already responded as faithfully as I can. I don't know how I'm going to get there." As I thought about it, knowing we were going to have to do more, my immediate thought was not to be eager about investing again. My immediate thought was to justify and use my past faithfulness from this fall to get us off the hook from having to reinvest again this spring.
Then through my time in the Word, spending time with the Lord each day, I began to read passage after passage that began to soften my heart and remind me of why we do all this. I began to compile a list of Scriptures, going back on things I've read, going back to things God had stuck in my mind, and looking at passages such as in Matthew 6, where God tells us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth and to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness above all else.
Passages in the book of Luke such as the widow's mite. All of these people were coming and giving out of their abundance, but she gave all she had, and though it was a small gift it was more than anyone else had given. And looking at how Paul tells young Timothy to be content with food and shelter and clothing and for those who are rich in this world to be rich in good deeds and ready to share with all.
I looked through all this and thought, "I need to repent." Lindsay and I had slowly started to recoup our savings for the house we would love to be able to purchase, and I knew that in order for us to respond I was going to have to reevaluate what God would have us do with those resources again. So I took that list of Scriptures I had compiled and sent them to Lindsay and asked her to read them so we could have a conversation about this.
We had that conversation, and I came to Lindsay and said, "Well, what do you think?" She said, "Well, what are you thinking we should do?" I said, "I think we should give it all." She said, "Okay." I thought, "That was a lot easier for her than it was for me," which says a lot. But there was a struggling on our part for how God would have us respond.
We just got to a point where we said, "You know what? There's an opportunity here to not just invest in a building but to invest in the next thousands of people, God willing, whose lives are going to be changed as they come and are a part of this local church, lives that wouldn't necessarily be changed if we wouldn't make room for that to happen."
We had to wrestle through that, but this morning we decided to take action on our conviction. We got up this morning and opened up the computer and set up our gift to give, which was, to our amazement, about twice as large as what we were able to give last fall, and we prayed. We prayed that God would continue to grow our hearts to care about things he cares about, to want to invest not in ourselves but in people and seeing people's lives changed by Jesus Christ.
Then we hit "Submit," and with great joy and eagerness invested again in this mission, not to get a building but to see people's lives changed by Jesus Christ. Ultimately, what happened as we came together and began to talk and think about this is we just said, "Okay, God, what would you have us do?" I was holding back some of our resources off the table and saying, "We've done what we could, but these are for us."
We just said, "Okay, here's what we want to do. We want to take every resource we have and put it on the table, put it on the altar before the Lord, and then honestly ask him, 'God, how would you have us respond?'" We informed our hearts with Scripture, processed with community and others who are close to us, and then made what we felt God was leading us to, a faithful decision for us to follow through on.
So here's what we're asking of you. Whether it be a house or a car or a vacation or whatever it is, all of us have resources God has given us that he gives us the freedom to choose what to do with. What I want to ask you to do this morning over the next two weeks is to put everything on the table before the Lord and ask, "God, what would you have me do?" Inform your heart with God's Word, process with God's people, and then respond faithfully, keeping your sights set on what we're doing.
It's not to renovate that campus over off of Western Hills Boulevard. It's to create a space for the next thousands of people to come to have their lives radically changed by Jesus Christ. So that's what we're asking every single one of you to do. Last weekend on Sunday night we had Raise the Mark in this room, and outside of a Baptism Sunday it was my favorite experience I've ever had as a part of this local body, and there have been a lot of great experiences.
What was so amazing to me about it is that night, as a couple hundred of us gathered in this room to worship through song for about an hour, we set the vision for the night that not only would we worship God for an hour but we would start to go on record for people whose lives we wanted to see radically changed by the power of Christ, and for that night we made a record of those names.
While we sang, at different times people would come up and begin to record all of the people they are personally eagerly investing in, eagerly investing of their time, talents, and resources so they could come to know Jesus Christ. Over the course of about 45 minutes, we had over 500 names go on record as we lifted up, "God, would you use every investment we make to bring these people and the hundreds and thousands more we know to come to know you?"
We know that as Sunday night we worship through song, our worship every other minute of every day is to live our lives in such a way that we can proclaim the excellencies of God in his greatness through the way we live and love people, and then also through the way we intentionally seek to carry the message of the gospel to those we desire to come to know him.
So why are we asking you to release another $3.5 million in resources to make more room? Right there. Those names didn't come from me; those names came from you, and there are hundreds of you here this morning who didn't have the opportunity to write a name up there, but I know you would if you could.
We're praying that God would work in our hearts in such a way that we give our all to this mission and that we create more room to make more disciples and that in doing so the light of Christ would shine brightly up on a hill off of 30 over in West Fort Worth and then through hundreds of homes that would spread to millions over the course of the next few years as we invest in a resource that's going to help us make more room to make more disciples.
So this morning we have a question before us all. "God, what would you have me do?" I'm going to ask that you'd join me in praying that God would align our hearts with his and that we would be willing to put everything on the altar before him and respond accordingly. Let me pray, and then we're going to stand and sing.
God, I pray and ask that the eagerness in each of our lives to invest with our time, with our talents, and our treasure would grow exponentially because of who you are and what you've done in our lives. I pray that we would have the heart of those in Corinth who when they saw a need responded with eagerness because of who you were in their lives. Their joy overflowed with generosity. They gave beyond their ability because they had an eagerness to invest in the mission.
They gave more than was even needed out of their commitment to following you and seeing more people come to know you. I pray that we would give appropriate encouragement to one another, that we may finish what we have started, and I pray that we would look to Christ as our example to follow, knowing that though he was rich, for our sake he became poor, and that by his poverty we were made rich.
I pray that we would give with eagerness from all that we have, but, God, I pray more for the outcome of our giving. I pray more for the outcome of our generosity. I pray for more than those things, because what we ultimately want to see happen, God, is you use those things to write the next 100 stories, the next 1,000 stories of the Viets, of the Grahams, of the Tylers, and that more and more people would come to know your love.
God, we look at all this, and I just think this can't happen, this won't happen apart from you, so we ask that you show up. We ask that our lives would be a living sacrifice to you, that we would pour ourselves out as Paul had poured himself out for the mission.
God, I pray this morning for anyone who is here who was a guest, that as they hear us talk about the second half of this morning with the need for a building their eyes wouldn't glaze over, that they wouldn't disregard the message of Christ because we're trying to attain another means to deliver that message, but, God, they would see hundreds of people in a room giving in such a way that the world would call them crazy for the sake of seeing that very person who wonders what we're doing come to know you.
Help us to walk humbly before you. Help us to give our lives and give our all. We need you, Lord, and we declare this morning that you are worthy of it all. We love you and we thank you, amen.