From 26 November to 10 December in Grace Church we held three Special Offering Sundays. On each of those Sundays we looked together at times in the Bible when God’s people came together and gave. Sometimes they were giving for the poor, sometimes for mission, sometimes to build the church. But it was always with joy, always voluntarily given and always with overflowing generosity. In short, their giving was always a tangible expression of their total devotion to God.

At Christmas time we remember how the Wise Men sought out the new king Jesus so that they could worship him. When they eventually found him in Bethlehem it says that they bowed down and worshipped, and then they opened up their treasures and gave gifts.

I have always known that Grace Church is a worshipping church. I see it every time we gather and especially through our worship times on a Sunday morning. But it is particularly humbling and moving to see that worship expressed again through remarkable levels of sacrificial giving.

"Surely a six-figure
offering was more
than we could
achieve?!"
When as Elders we considered everything that God is calling us to in the year ahead, it felt right to call the church to a Special Offering. We are here to tell people about Jesus and support the expansion of his Kingdom both locally and further afield. Let’s not hang about! We want to launch our fourth site well. I can’t wait for us to start Sunday meetings in Havant on 4th March. It means that there are set-up costs and venue rental costs to be paid. It was also the right time to invest further in our staffing to serve Grace Church across all our sites. From the Special Offering we also plan to resource our mission in Chichester, Midhurst and Bognor, particularly so we can run another Community Fun Day this year in the North Bersted area of Bognor. And we want to take a gift to bless the projects that we already support in the Philippines when our team goes out there to visit in April.

When we added all that up it came to around £85,000. That was a massive target which exceeds anything that Grace Church has given on previous occasions. Nonetheless, I felt God tell me to set my sights even higher and believe for £100,000. So, with some trepidation I shared this target with the church in September. And then instantly wished I hadn’t – surely a six-figure offering was more than we could achieve?!

Well, the total that the people of Grace Church have given in this Special Offering is this:

£114,059

I am totally blown away by this. Literally moved to tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Beyond gratitude (and perhaps a little sense of relief!) I am mostly excited for what this means for the future. God does not hold back in his Word from making bold promises to his people in the area of giving. He talks about giving back to us “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over” (Luke 6:38). He talks about “throwing open the floodgates of heaven and pouring out so much blessing that we will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10). This is what I am excited to see!

So, once again, thank you. Let’s continue to press on together in faith as we move into 2018.

A Happy Christmas to you, and may you have a peaceful and fruitful New Year!

A few things to note on this offering total.

Firstly, it includes £20,558 in reclaimed tax from Gift Aid donations. Personally, I can’t think of anything better for our Government to be investing in than the local church! This just highlights again the huge benefit of telling us that you are a UK tax payer when you give, so thank you for doing that.

Secondly, we have also received a gift of £10,000 from Commission towards our mission into Havant. This is additional to the sum that we have raised ourselves, and so takes the overall total to £124,059. Praise God!