On Sunday night the leaders and Ridge group attenders were invited to our Advanced Commitment Celebration for our Crazy Campaign. This coming Sunday, April 17, is our commitment Sunday at church were everyone will have a chance to hand in their 2 year commitment for our Crazy Campaign. But we wanted to get together with our leaders and really committed people beforehand to make advanced commitments so on Sunday before people hand theirs in, Mark can say here is how much is committed right now. Mainly in hopes to motivate and encourage the rest to give sacrificially.
Our gathering was held at a hotel in a ballroom and it was perfect. One downside to not having a building is finding places to do gatherings like this, and then trying to make it not feel like a hotel ballroom, with no decorations. So we rented simple, yet perfect decorations, had a simple buffet of fruit and cookies, and a great band playing. The rest was up to God. We wanted an awesome mood and energy to fill the room. I got in a little bit late because I was helping with the babysitters watching all the kids. I walked into a time of worship and it was like wow, I was overcome with emotion. Our people took this so seriously, which not that they normally wouldn't, but I think when you come together with one goal, one mission, and one vision in mind you get that serious feeling. You get that this is so much bigger than you, and your number written down on your commitment card. It is so hard to describe with words what that feeling was, what that emotion felt like.
Rusty George, the Lead Pastor from Real Life Church in California came to speak to us. Our Lead Pastor, Mark worked there before he felt called to plant a church in Milwaukee. Rusty and the folks at Real Life have been through a campaign, so he came to show us what the other side looks like. Real Life has been where The Ridge is now, and now Real Life is in a building, and the stories of sacrifice Rusty shared with us were just awesome. I mean truly awesome. It was like you were on the edge of your seat wanting to know how Big God came through for these people who sacrificed so much. It made you want to be one of those stories. Rusty did an awesome job of not making you feel guilty about the campaign, he also didn't make you give out of fear because you were afraid God wasn't going to bless you if you didn't give a couple more bucks. He truly motivated you, and made you want to be apart of what is going on. He said at the end of his talk something to the effect of..."if you give a little, then your foundation is going to be little...if you give big, then your foundation is going to be big...don't you want to be apart of a church with a big foundation?" Yes, yes I do. I want our church's foundation to run so deep in Milwaukee that the 86% of people who do not go to church end up in our seats at The Ridge.
Eric and I believe whole heatedly in The Ridge's mission-to help people find and follow God. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here.
Eric and I went into the Commitment Celebration with a number in mind that we discussed and we felt challenged by. But by the time we were walking up to place our commitment we had more than tripled it. And I don't say that to have you all be like "oh wow" or to pat ourselves on the back. Because it's not about that. It's about sacrificially giving so someone that is apart of that 86% is able to hear about Jesus, it's about giving so much that we literally feel it, but deep down inside know it's all going to be alright. God is going to bless us and take care of us. I have no idea how, and truly, we can't do that number on that card by ourselves. If things go bad, I can't write a check from our savings account to make it right, or to cover it. We don't have that number, and but I am excited and scared to death at the same time to see where it is going to come from. Each day is literally going to have to be a sacrifice because like I said, we can't do that number on our own. We are going to have to be more diligent and strict on spending than ever before, we are going to "miss out" on things the world tells us we are cheating ourselves of. We are going to have to tell our girls, "sorry we can't do that because we are committed to the Crazy Campaign at church." And you know what, I am excited about that. Plus, when the two years is up, I am sure our giving will be totally shifted and we will be way more generous with less money than we have now. It's going to be awesome and Crazy!
I heard the number today that was committed on Sunday night and let me tell you Ridge attenders, you will NOT want to miss church on Sunday. You will be blown away! I will leave you with this, on Sunday night Rusty also said something to the effect of "God leaning forward on his throne, looking down on us, and saying, wow, they have crazy faith." I want that to be true so badly, and not just in our campaign, but with the church worldwide. I want God to lean forward and get excited about what we are doing all in His name, for His kingdom, I want us all to have Crazy faith.