2016 is Gonna be Different

Imagine the difference…

- actually giving joyfully and generously.
- actually inviting people.
- your friend actually discovering the same friendship with Jesus that you enjoy!
- a stranger searching for compassion and mercy, actually finding it in your act of friendship.

Two milestones for 2016 will make a difference. We’re hopeful that...

  • 200 people will make 16 personal and passionate invitations to their friends and neighbors to join them where they are already enthusiastically engaged at the Church!
  • We will raise our congregational financial commitment by 16%!

2016 is gonna be different.
Here are a couple other noteworthy examples of the difference you’ll see in 2016:

Gary and Beth Roberts will be joining our ministry team in Verona. Gary will be our new site leader in Verona and join our team as the Director of Community Involvement. Gary specializes in training and coaching missional leaders in the competencies of community
listening, a process he calls
Missional Listening. His primary mission is to help churches listen to their communities using the principles and practices of missional lifestyle and asset-based community development. As such he will oversee our Human Care / Mercy Ministry and help us grow in our capacity to engage and listen attentively to our community. Learn more about Gary in the Nov/Dec issue of the Good News, or check out his website at www.glroberts.com.



Our East Side Region will publicly launch in December 19th. Find out how you can be praying as you read Pastor Matt’s article.

2016 is gonna be different…

1person – 1neighborhood – 1region at a time.


Here We Come!

Who?           the Church in East Madison

What?          Public Launch

When?         Saturday, December 19th with worship at 5:00pm

Where?        258 Corporate Dr. Suite 262, the center of the first floor

Why?           To connect people to life in Jesus, where God has placed us

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14a [MSG]

How?           I’m glad you asked how you can help…


  1. Keep praying for us, and for all of our current and future sites, that God would show us how He has sent us into our neighborhoods to be a blessing.
  2. Visit us.  Please!  Do you want to know what’s going on?  Come and see!  We already worship weekly on Saturdays at 5:00pm.
  3. Get the word out.  Tell people you know about the new site, and the option to engage with the Church possibly closer to their own neighborhood.
  4. Adopt the East Side as an attender for a season.  We are currently a pretty small group, and it can be easier to visit a place if there are a few more people.
  5. If you would like to be part of a worship team, know someone who would like to be, or if you already are and want to play once more a month, we would love to have you on the East side.

Thank you for supporting the vision of the Church, for sending us to the East side, and for praying for our activity in our neighborhoods.  Join us in praying for us all as we continue to experiment with and learn what it means to be part of the body of Christ that God has sent into our neighborhoods to live life together with, and to connect to life in Jesus.


Automate the Important

What is the most important thing you do with your money?  What carries with it the biggest consequences?  How do you make sure you always pay your mortgage, or your insurance?

Allow me a bit of latitude, if you will (please read at least to the end of the paragraph that follows this one), to suggest that the most important thing you do with your money, the thing that carries with it the biggest consequences, is returning the first portion of any money you make to the Lord.  It is more important than the money you spend on food, on a place to live, on your family, and even more important than any money you give away to help people (yes, even through the church).  The church-y word for this is tithe.

If you’re still reading, thank you!  Please believe me when I say that God doesn’t need your money.  And believe me when I tell you that I believe that the church would get along just fine without your money.  But, I almost as firmly believe that you will not get along just fine without tithing. 

How can tithing possibly be the most important thing you do with your money? 

  1. It puts God’s gifts to you in perspective.  (they are all His gifts)
  2. It honors God. 
  3. It teaches you to trust in the Giver, and not the gifts.

Have you ever wondered why conversations about how much you pledge to give to the church can be stressful?  Or why sometimes it’s hard to just give what you say you want to or feel like you give?  Check your grip on your money, and where your trust is.  Do you trust more in the gift, in your ability to manage the gift, or in the Giver?

I can tell you from experience that God will work in you through your first fruit offering to Him.  He’ll stretch your trust, and help you loosen your grip on your money.  The gift will no longer run the show.  What bigger consequences are there than becoming a slave to an insatiable master, who never intends to let you go free, or to let you live the life you were created to live.

Now, things with far lesser consequences you pay on time, every month.  You might even set up an auto payment.  So why wouldn’t you consider making your offering a recurring payment? 

I want to challenge you to give it a shot.  Sign up for our new database (Elexio) if you haven’t already, and log in to the web portal to schedule recurring online payments. 


Passing on a Legacy of Faith

Passing on a legacy of faith in Jesus is the most important job of Christian parents. It may also be the most important job of grandparents! The following is taken from an article “Twenty Ideas for Grandparents,” by Kara Powell, shared by Emily Powers.

As a result of increased life expectancy, new ways to connect through technology, and more grandparents providing child care, researchers at the University of Southern California conclude that kids today “will have greater involvement with their grandparents… than    any previous generation of grandchildren in American history.” That involvement translates into religious influence!

Here are 20 ideas to help leave an
inheritance of faith:

1. Invite your grandchildren for individual “sleepovers” at your house. While they are over, do some of their favorite activities together.

2. Pray with your grandkids. As you pray, thank God for the special qualities he has given them.

3. Teach your grandchild a new skill or one of your favorite hobbies.

4. Let your grandchild teach you a new skill or share a hobby with you.

5. Enter a race and run/swim/ride or walk it with your grandchild.

6. Talk with your grandchild about a family tradition that you enjoyed as a child. Then continue that tradition with your grandchild. 

7. Bring out photo albums and talk about when your grandchild was born, how you prayed for them before they were born, and how blessed you feel that they are now part of your family.

8. Serve together at a local ministry.

9. Cook with your grandchildren. Play loud music, sing and cook [maybe even dance] together.

10. Have breakfast together once a week using Skype or FaceTime.

11. Share times when you have blown it, or disobeyed what you sensed God was telling you to do. Let them know how glad you are that Jesus is bigger than any mistakes.

12. Choose a book series to read with your grandchildren. Read to them using Skype, or as they get older and the books get longer, read them individually and then discuss highlights by phone.

13. Build something with your grandchildren.

14. Start a collection of something with your grandchild, and continue adding to the collection when you travel or when you are together.

15. Text them on an ordinary day and let them know you’re thinking about them.

16. Call or send a letter when kids have special events or milestones at school or church.

17. At gatherings of extended family, have devotions that include questions for all family     members. This way the children hear their    parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins share on a deeper level.

18. If financially possible, at the age of 12 or 13, take your grandson/granddaughter on a weekend away. Include time to discuss what it means to be a Christian man/woman. Give them something that will remind them of the weekend.

19. Have “Grand Camp” with your grandkids either at your house or another destination. Do things together that they’d do at camp—crafts, sports, singing, cooking, treasure hunts, etc.

20. Go on a mission trip with your grandchild,    either locally or abroad. Consider making this a rite of passage experience at a certain age with each grandchild.

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I  declare your power to the next generation,  your might to all who are to come.” 
  [Psalm 71:18]




“Inheritance:” [1] Something that is or may be inherited; property passing at the owner’s death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy. [2] The genetic characters transmitted from parent to offspring, taken collectively.

There are a lot of moving parts in that definition. I have been thinking about inheritance quite a bit lately. I had a large investment portfolio at work that was set up as a remainder trust. Upon the death of the trustee, the proceeds of the trust were to be passed on to three survivors. The interesting aspect of a trust account like this one is that the beneficiaries of the trust didn’t have to do anything in particular to receive a rather substantial amount of money other than to be a relative of the deceased.

In another case, I have been invited to serve as an investment consultant to the 1impact Community Endowment Fund committee. Quite frankly I was surprised by the number of families [and the dollar amounts] that have decided to make the Church part of their inheritance offering upon their departure from this world when Jesus calls them to their permanent home with Him.

Finally, and most importantly, I was privileged to be by the bedside of a dear woman who passed into eternity surrounded by family. We prayed and read Scripture together [Psalm 23 always brings great comfort during these times] as we grieved our loss but celebrated the sure victory over death that Jesus promised her in her baptism. I would say that this is an inheritance of faith that passed from one generation to the next and the next. Three generations were present in the room.

So how do we view our
inheritance? The first example is a simple transfer of wealth from one person to another. How will it be used? Will the new-found increase be used to consume more of what the world has to offer? I’ve witnessed families torn apart by perceived inequalities on how estates are settled or divorce property is divided. The Bible certainly has many examples of upset heirs “not getting what they deserve.”

In one example, Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. You can read it for yourself, but the central arc of the story is a son who wanted his money right now even though his father was alive and well! We may shake our heads in disbelief, but how many examples can you think of where a family member has murdered another family member to   accelerate the inheritance process through life insurance proceeds or other material benefits? Jesus knows the depths of our sin, especially when greed consumes our lives.

The second example would point to the concept of legacy, when it comes to distributing our inheritance. A legacy of what? I am glad you asked. Look at the words in the Church’s endowment fund: Impact. Community. Fund. All wrapped up in our mission to Connect People to Life in Jesus. The families that have committed to this fund want to leave a legacy of disciple-makers. They want to “fund” our mission -- no, God’s mission -- to “impact” our “communities” by providing
resources to help those in need and equipping our members to fulfill the Great Commission. Now that is a legacy all of us are called by Jesus to leave to future generations until He returns.

You have heard the expression that “All politics is local.” The same could be said for an inheritance of faith. We have made family the core of sharing our faith to each succeeding generation. Deuteronomy 11 is a very sobering word from God about passing on the faith; verses 18-19 make it clear: “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to and when you are getting up.” 

I saw those words in action at the bedside of a Jesus follower entering the gates of heaven. Three generations of faith in our Lord. A legacy that far exceeds the monetary blessings from a wealthy man. A legacy that even exceeds funding a church endowment. Faith, created in baptism, strengthened in hearing and studying God’s Word, assured in the forgiveness of sins in Holy Communion and continually nurtured in a loving family and a faithful community of believers. Now that is a true inheritance!