As a leader of our staff while Leo is out on medical leave recovering from COVID-19, I wanted to update you on where we are as staff. We have not forgotten how hard it has been, and continues to be, to be pulled apart by COVID. We have not forgotten how hard it is to face the vital conversations surrounding racial unrest in our country and world. We are committed to doing the work of remembering and working as we maintain City Church's mission of bringing the beauty of Christ into broken places. Right now the scale of hurt and brokenness can feel overwhelming, but then we remind ourselves that we serve a God who is able to do more than we can even imagine.
As I contemplated writing about Tish Harrison Warren's chapter on losing keys, it immediately struck me as ironic—I hardly need my keys right now. I don't go anywhere. But Warren writes that losing keys shows us how we act when our plans are interrupted. I can cover up my sinfulness when all is going according to my plan, but when things are not, well, it is not so pretty. COVID-19 is not according to Valerie Tompson's plan.
I hope that you have had the chance to meet Ayo Omopariola, our new Pastoral Resident. Ayo and his family have been a part of City Church for three years now, and we are excited that Ayo joined the City Church staff at the beginning of 2020 in a part-time role.
This September will mark thirteen years since I started in the church “business.” I had a background in accounting, so many years ago when a part-time financial position was open at our church, it seemed like a great fit for me while our children were young. Not only did I have no idea that I would end up working at a church long term, I also had no idea what God would show me along the way.
One of my favorite things that happens at City Church is our musical theater camp. For me, the summer camp is a great opportunity to invite people to have a glimpse of the gospel message through art as showcased by kids. Bringing beauty to broken places happens even in the crazy imperfections of a children's musical production.
Last month I had the opportunity to meet several people from the Mumbai field office of International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM’s mission is to to protect the poor from violence by rescuing victims, bringing the criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. In October, IJM hosted Liberate, which was a gathering in Dallas, Texas, where 1,000 employees from IJM from all corners of the world were in attendance as well as more than 2,000 supporters. IJM is a global mission partner of City Church, and we specifically partner with the Mumbai office. You can read about one of the Mumbai office’s recent rescues here.
We are halfway through our fiscal year at City Church, and I'd like to update you on the church’s finances. As of June 30, City Church has collected $528,653. We hoped to collect $625,000 by that point, so that leaves us with a deficit of $96,347. That means we are about 15% behind where we would like to be.
We are so excited about our new global ministry partner, International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a community of Christian spiritual formation that is engaged in the work of Biblical justice in the developing world. It works to protect the poor from violence and partners with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. The long-term vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible. IJM has a presence in 17 communities around the world.
As we enter the rebuilding phase following hurricane Harvey we are so grateful that churches and organizations all over Houston are partnering in a beautiful display of solidarity and service to our city. As we move out of the immediate needs phase, we are looking at how to best serve Houston for the long term rebuild.
Years ago my husband and I heard a memorable sermon illustration about giving. The pastor talked about how a wealthy congregant came to him and said, “Do you have any idea how much money I make? How could I possibly give 10 percent away?” To which the pastor, replied, “Let’s pray together that God will reduce your income to a level where you feel comfortable giving 10 percent away.”
Save the date: We will be having two Exploring Membership seminars. If you are interested in learning more about who we are or what we believe, this is a deeper look into City Church. It’s also the first step in the membership process, although there is no obligation to join. You only need to attend one session.