It may sound strange, but I’ve really struggled with what to post for the first blog entry for Pathmakers Church. The site was up in December, the church was officially registered in January, we’ve been meeting, and I wrestled with what to write about first. Should I write a general throw-away post announcing our arrival (to a readership that didn’t exist yet)? Should I talk about what makes Pathmakers different? Should I share some of the plans we have? I couldn’t figure it out…
… and finally, on March 2nd, I know what Pathmakers Church’s first blog entry is supposed to be… about what we’re doing with an organization OTHER THAN ourselves, because it speaks to an important feature of what it means to be a Pathmaker.
A good friend of ours told us about this organization called “Under The Same Sun” that does a powerful and extremely unique ministry in the East African nation of Tanzania. Albanism, a genetic disorder that causes a lack of skin pigmentation, has led to great persecution and suffering among individuals who have it in Tanzania. Often, albinos are targeted by local shamans (“medicine” men and women from tribal religions) who will try to cut off the body parts of albinos to use in “muti” medicine which practitioners believe can “heal” anything from diseases to poverty. Literally, gangs sanctioned by tribal shamans will kidnap, torture, mutilate, and dismember albinos, especially children, in order to capture their body parts for muti use. It is horrific.
Our good friend is wrapping up a project for her theological education that includes raising awareness, funds, and supplies for this worthy NGO called “Under The Same Sun.” The organization is headed by a Christian who has albanism himself. We were inspired by the mission and efforts of this organization and decided that Pathmakers Church would send some money to support UTSS. I encourage you to check out their website (www.underthesamesun.com) and support what they’re doing, too.
You see, one of the bigger things God has placed on our hearts for this church is that we would be a church that participates in meeting the needs of others, especially the helpless, the defenseless, the poor, and the oppressed. Now, while any church worth its salt will tell you the same thing, we decided that we’re going to put our MONEY where our MOUTH is… literally.
As a result, Pathmakers Church is committing a percentage of the income we receive from those supporting us through offerings, donations, and the like, right off the top, to other ministries and worthy organizations. NOT AFTER we pay the bills, NOT AFTER we fund our ministries, NOT AFTER we cut the paychecks… NO! This percentage comes first; it comes BEFORE our needs. We deposit the giving for the week and immediately take the percentage and place it in a separate fund to be used outside of Pathmakers Church. It’s our commitment to God and to the work He’s doing outside of Pathmakers Church. And it’s an example of the kind of giving God wants from us as individuals, couples, and families… that we give to Him and His Work BEFORE we take what we (think) we need.
So anyway, this money Pathmakers Church sets aside will go to organizations and efforts involved in local, state, national, and international missions, outreach, and relief. And it’s not a small percentage either. We haven’t arrived at the final number (we’re new… we’re still seeking God for the number!) but we know it isn’t going to be small! And when God gives us that number, we’ll be excited to announce it. For now, we prayed and settled that giving anything less than 10% of what we’ve received would not be nearly enough. So that’s what we did… 10% of all income we’ve taken in since we started.
I can’t wait to find out what God’s final number for us is going to be… and I know it’s going to allow us to be a part of supporting so many worthy causes that expand God’s Kingdom and change the world for people that God so desperately loves! If you are a part of Pathmakers Church, then your faithful, generous, sacrificial giving is a part of changing the lives of the hurting, the broken, and the lost for the glory of God. Thank you! If you are not a part of Pathmakers Church, and are looking for a church home that does more than just talk about caring for others, but actually drops the cash to do it, I invite you to become a part of us. There’s always room for one more! And if you are already a part of another church, I challenge you to challenge your leaders to the kind of generosity with the resources God has given your church that will make a difference beyond more comfortable chairs, bigger audio-video systems, “cooler” kids programs, and higher quality coffee and donuts on Sunday mornings for you. Or how else should we read that sobering, slightly-scary passage in Matthew 25:31-46?
I’m so proud to be a part of a church that walks the talk! And I am pleased to announce… we are… Pathmakers Church!