"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Special Summer Ministry Day – April 7th

March 25th, 2013

Dear church family or friend of Springs of Grace,

Grace and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe the LORD has used our study through the book of Numbers to prepare us for the coming days in a special way. I sense a fresh determination among us to live by faith. We do not want to be like the generation that comes to the edge of the Promise Land and fears the giants more than we treasure the promises of God and the presence of God. There is, I trust, among us a growing sense to be like the daughters of Zelophehad and write our names down on the inheritance God has promised us in His Son for all eternity. We will not be settlers but pilgrims, and as such we should be ready to take risks and accept challenges – to be warriors who fight for God’s glory and battle with His passion to love well all He gives us to love. “For the joy set before us” we want to finish the course God has given us. We want to be cities of refuge for those in our community who, like each one of us, badly need both forgiveness and hope. With passion and exertion, I am praying we will pull closer together as a family – that we will pull and push and encourage each other towards the eternal glory that awaits and towards living now like we have been loved much by Jesus.
There are many ways the LORD is calling us to live “for the joy set before us” in loving our city and the nations.
One of those is a passion for investing in lives through our intern ministry. For the past several years we have taken an offering in the spring to seek God’s provision for the special ministry opportunities of the summer. After prayer and seeking counsel from the advisory team we believe we should once again ask the Lord to provide for these ministries through this special offering.
During the next few weeks we want to ask you to pray especially for two things:
First, Sunday, April 7th, we will take a special offering that will go towards our summer ministry. We don’t do this often. We hope people will give willingly and joyfully and secretly as each one is led by the Lord. I hope, like the soldiers in Numbers 31, we will be mindful of how we have been spared and feel moved in our heart to give more- not because it is in any way required but because it seems that our love demands it.
We will never sell the gospel. By God’s grace, we will never target the financially profitable groups as the main thrust of our ministry. We will continue to urge you to give in secret and we will trust the LORD to supply the needs of His body.
Over the past few years there seems to have been an awakening towards the need to be involved in the social issues of our day. Many Christians have begun to get involved in ministry to the poor and to those who are captives. Way too much of that social ministry happens outside of the context of the church. We believe that is a mistake. We value very highly the training of urban missionaries in the context of a God-centered church that goes after the head AND the heart for the glory of the Lord. We believe the giftings of the interns add greatly to our ability to demonstrate the love of God and build relationships that open the door to the declaration of His truth. Each year the Lord has provided amazingly for this ministry and we look to Him to do so again through His people.
The Lord continues to give us wonderful opportunities for increased ministry. The number of young men and women expressing an interest in serving as interns this summer is staggering. We want to walk faithfully in the ministries the Lord has opened the door to. We are asking you to pray with us for $30,000 to support the summer ministry. If you look around Springs of Grace it is easy to see that is a staggering amount for such a small group of saints, but we believe the Lord has placed these ministries before us and it seems right to pursue Him to supply the means to carry them out.
I want us to give out of a response to the love God has shown us. I have seen the tremendous fruit of the intern ministry and I am asking the Lord to let my family give towards it. Ask the Lord what you should give and who you should share this need with. It may well be that the Lord would not have you give to this special offering or share the need with others at all. He may have you express your love for Him and this church in other ways. That’s fine. We just want you to pray with us and give if and as the Lord enables you to give. You can give the Sunday of April 7th or you can make a commitment to give over the next few weeks towards this offering. You need to understand that this summer ministry need is in addition to our regular weekly needs for ministry so pray and ask the LORD if He would have you give extra for the summer ministry.
Secondly, over the next 9 months we are asking each family of our church to join us in prayer for laborers to join the ministry at Springs of Grace Bible Church. We are very grateful to the Lord for the people and gifts He is using to build His church here and we trust His wise leadership. However, if the Lord has these ministries for us and if they are to expand in effectiveness, then we need a larger base of laborers. Would you commit or renew your commitment to ask the Lord to enable you to reach at least one family or individual over the next 9 months who would come and join the body here?
One part of this would be making it a matter of regular prayer to ask the Lord to send more laborers to this ministry. Many of you are here as a direct answer to this type of prayer by others over the past years.
Hopefully, the Lord would see fit to reach more than one family through some of us but if each family or individual would reach one other family or individual by the start of 2014, this body would be in an even greater position to pursue our vision for training and sending out preachers and urban missionaries who might be able to partner with our medical missionaries as mission teams that might impact several continents with the gospel; addressing the educational crisis by continuing to enlarge our after school getAHEAD program; promoting adoption and foster care and supporting the families who have adopted or are caring for foster children; tutoring and skill development in the inner city; increased mission support; helping families raise up a godly generation; a medical mission to the families of our neighborhood through the Good Samaritan program; ministry to the homeless; the development of a curriculum we can take into the public schools that addresses the sex slave trade issues through HOPE918; a coaching ministry; intern ministry; strengthening godly, holy and passionate marriages; increasing and developing our preacher school into a tremendous training center; finding and providing real outlets for teaching and preaching the Bible throughout our city; outreach to the pimps and prostitutes and gangs of our city; ministry to the disabled; an increase in the preaching and shepherding ministry within the body; effectiveness in carrying out the one anothers as we seek to stir each other up to love and good deeds; and other opportunities the Lord may bring our way.
If the Lord answers these prayers, we might well add another 100 people for us to minister to and labor alongside of. It is my desire for you to prayerfully make a commitment before the Lord to pray for laborers. This is no small thing. Perhaps you have made this commitment in the past and it has slipped from your mind. This would be a great time to renew that commitment. On Sunday, April 7th you’ll be given the opportunity to make or renew this commitment.
In Ephesians chapter 3, Paul is speaking of the church and in that context he says, “Now unto Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Our Lord is able to do far more than we think through the church for His glory. Please join us in these two great prayers as we continue seeking to be a church that collectively puts on display the perfections of Christ.

Your servant,

Joe Blankenship