Margin: Recommended Resources

Margin Resources

I love the amount of discussion our current series on margin is stirring up within Restoration City.  If you’re looking for additional resources on creating margin in your schedule, here are some of the titles that have influenced me over the years, with a link to Amazon if that’s where you buy books:

The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst.  The title of this book has become a phrase around our house.  Hardly a day goes by without Laura or I saying, “What’ the best yes for our family?”

Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung.  Really short, really practical and really grounded in the gospel.

Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less, Greg McKeown.  Not written from a Christian perspective but filled with so much wisdom.  It’s one of the most formative books I’ve read in the last 4 years.

Margin, Richard Swenson.  A little technical and slow at points but still stands out as one of the Christian classics on the topic of margin.

What’s Best Next, Matt Perman.  By far the most theologically dense and helpful book on productivity I’ve ever read.  If you think all of this margin stuff doesn’t connect to the gospel, this book will convince you otherwise.

I’ll post similar resource recommendations for the upcoming weeks when we talk about margin in our finances and relationships.

 

 

 

Calendars & Checkbooks

calendar-checkbook“Show me your calendar and your checkbook and I’ll show you your priorities.”

I honestly can’t remember the first time I heard some version of that statement.  It’s been attributed to so many people that I have no idea who said it first.  But I know it’s true. It’s true for my life.  It’s true for yours.  And it’s true for our church.

It’s something I think about a lot for us at Restoration City.  It’s easy to talk about our values, come up with a nice website and sprinkle some vision into a sermon every now and again.  But it’s how we spend our resources – both time and money – that shows us our priorities.  

That’s why I love knowing that last year we gave slightly over $58,000 as a church to partners outside of our own walls.  For the record, that doesn’t include money raised or given through short term mission teams.  We gave to church plants, to local partners and to international partners.  We’re participating in God’s work in DC, Brooklyn, Kenya, Tanzania, Nicaragua and many other places.

That’s why I love knowing that ServeDC starts tonight and runs through this weekend.  We’ll be serving with nine different partners all over our city.  We’ll have Restoration City people cleaning up parks, working on Gunston Middle School, distributing meals and participating in many other tangible expressions of love for our city.

Could we do more?  Absolutely!  Am I satisfied with where we are? No!  But I love what God is building through this church.  I love measuring our success by how much we give away – in time and money.  By God’s grace, we’ll continue to give away more of both.  I want our calendar and checkbook as a church to be pleasing to God and to reflect His priority, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.“(Lk.19:10)

Celebrating Generosity

surplus

This past Sunday, I shared some incredible news with Restoration City about God’s financial provision for our church throughout the past fiscal year.  I know talking publicly about money can be awkward and I even debated how specific to be in this post.  Ultimately, I decided to be as specific here as I was on Sunday because it’s not a story about our church.  Although this story is best told with numbers, it really is a story about the faithfulness of God and the generosity of His people.

At the start of the fiscal year that ran from September 2015 – August 2016, we felt God leading us to adopt a $482,445 budget. To be honest, that seemed crazy to me for a church plant that was only 11 months old! I remember asking Dan Iten, our Operations Director, how much of that money we had to spend and how much we could pull back if giving didn’t meet our expectations. Well, giving didn’t meet our expectations; it exceeded them! Through your generosity, the Lord provided $511,714.43! At the same time, we were able to hold expenses to $456,395.32, meaning we finished the year with a $56,000 surplus. That’s incredible for a 2 year old church plant! So many of you have sacrificed so much to make that happen and I can never thank you enough.

In addition to strengthening our operating reserves and saving for some long term needs, our elders felt compelled to give $6,000 of this surplus beyond Restoration City. We were thrilled to make an additional $1,500 gift to four of our external ministry partners, which continues a pattern of giving that is essential to us at Restoration City. As part of our budgeted expenses for the past fiscal year, we had already given $52,186.42 to other ministries, including church plants, international missions, and local ministry partners.

More than a few friends have joked with me in the last couple of days that announcing a surplus is a pretty amazing way to get people to stop giving to the church!  To be honest, I hope it has the opposite effect.  Personally, I love knowing that over 10% of everything I give to Restoration City goes beyond our church to other gospel partners!  It makes me want to be more generous, not less.  I’m praying you’ll feel the same way – inspired to continue giving, to increase your giving or to start giving to the vision of Restoration City.  We’ve significantly increased our budget for this year to just over $700,000, so we need your ongoing support. But I’m not just asking on behalf of our church. I’m asking on behalf of those beyond the walls of our church who are touched by your generosity. By God’s grace, we’ll exceed the $58,000 we were able to give this year and be able to do even more in the year to come.

Ultimately, our generosity is motivated by Jesus who “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9).  A generous church makes the gospel visible to the world around us in a way that’s utterly captivating.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be know for our generosity as a church?  

If you would like to set up a recurring donation to Restoration City or make a one time gift, you can do so at RestorationCity.Church/Give.  I would love to have you participate in the culture of generosity God is creating at Restoration City!