by Kent Carlson, Senior Pastor

One of the metaphors that the Bible uses to describe the church is the family.  And the idea of “family” can raise up a whole lot of conflicting feelings in many people, especially with the holiday festivities quickly approaching.  Family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas can bring a mixed bag of wonderful experiences as well as stressful interpersonal encounters.  The family is the place where we celebrate as well as grieve; where we deal with both challenges and opportunities.  The family, in all its messy complications, provides a place of belonging, a home, a place where we are known.  Potentially, it provides a place where we can pull together to care for each other.

Over the past couple of years, many families in our country, and many families in our church, have had to work and sacrifice together in order to deal with the often harsh realities and consequences of the world-wide economic downturn.  Families have had to reduce expenses and carefully watch where every penny is going in order to survive the financially turbulent times.  For some families, this has helped to bring them closer together.  For others, this has created not just financial, but relational turmoil as well.

Our Oak Hills family has been in our own financially uncertain times the past few years.  While our cash flow situation, due to God’s amazing provision, has always been strong, and continues to be, it has become obvious that we need to reduce our expenses in order to live within our means.  This requires us to come together as a family and learn how to live on less and perhaps to give more.  As many of you know, our Administrative Council, as well as our Elder Board, has set us on a process of reducing our expenses over the next year or so.  And we are in the process of following these guidelines.  It is our hope that in the not too distant future our income at Oak Hills will easily meet our expenses.

But here is one of those areas where Oak Hills can come together as a family.  As part of this move towards financial health, we have decided to dedicate our year end offering to our general budget.  This will help us to maintain our strong financial condition as we move into 2011.  We are asking everyone who calls Oak Hills Church their home, who believes in the ministry God has given us, to give an “over and above” gift to the year end offering.  We are asking every individual, couple and family to take some time to reflect, to pray and to plan, how we can, as part of our Christmas giving, give a huge year end gift to Oak Hills.  We are encouraging this gift to be the largest gift we give this Christmas.  Our goal is $100,000.  As usual, we will give away 10% of whatever comes in to ministries of compassion outside the walls of Oak Hills.  This year we are dividing this 10% gift between two ministries we are intimately involved with, Powerhouse Ministries here in Folsom and Restoration Ministries in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  We will officially receive this offering on December 19, but you may, of course, give to the year end offering any time between now and the end of the year.

Mike and I are more excited about Oak Hills and the vision God has given us than ever before.  We are very encouraged by the tremendous and constant expressions of support and belief.  We look forward to this next season of ministry with great enthusiasm.  Let us join together as a church family this Christmas and give a generous and sacrificial gift to our year end offering.


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