“Everything is $10.” This was a simple conversation shared between two people at the grocery store. If you want more TV channels, the next package is $10 a month. If you want more internet speed, $10 a month. Want an additional feature for your cellphone, $10 a month. What some realize and others don’t seem to realize is that those $10 add-ons add up. $10 x 12 months = $120. That’s real money.

National Public Radio and other non-profit organizations also talk about $10 a month. This is the amount that makes you a sustaining member. That can be exciting and appealing. And, like an add-on, doesn’t seem like a lot of money. I can be a sustaining member for $10 a month! But what the non-profit knows is that those gifts are essential and they really add up.

As God’s people, $10 a month means a lot as well. But it isn’t about additional features or becoming a sustaining member. It’s about recognition of a simple truth: “All that we have and all that we are comes from God.” To hear it another way we can turn to a traditional prayer that is prayed after the offering is received in worship: Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us—ourselves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The CPC is issuing a challenge to the congregation this year. It’s a $10 challenge. The challenge is for 200 families at Bethesda to give $10 a month or to give $10 more a month for the final 10 months of 2017.

There are so many amazing things happening at Bethesda. We have partnerships around the world through the missionaries we support; we are a beacon of light in our community because we support our community through the Bethel Boutique, the Bethel Food Pantry, the Monthly Neighborhood Gatherings, the Little Sprouts Program and by having an open building where so many people gather like Al-anon, AA, Boy & Girl Scouts, Pita Brigade, and many other community groups and organizations. Despite all the amazing things that are happening, we face another reality. In 2015, we ended the year with roughly a $16,000 deficit. In 2016, the deficit was closer to $20,000. 200 families giving $10 or $10 more a month for ten months = $20,000. Gap closed, deficit avoided.

But it isn’t really about the money. It’s about our relationship with God and our belief in the many ways that God is active in the many things happening at Bethesda. If you accept this challenge, you might consider automating your giving through the church website, your bank or by filling out a form with the church office. If you are hip to technology, you might consider downloading the Give+ App by Vanco to give via your phone. If you are old school, then the offering plate with a check or cash is your best bet. If an additional $100 isn’t too hard for you or your family to give, consider making that donation as a one time gift during the summer months when attendance and giving tends to be a little lighter. Finally, if $10 a month isn’t possible right now, we are blessed by the ways that you give already.

If you accept the challenge, pledge cards can be found in the entryway and returned to the church via the offering plate on Sunday or via mail. Soon you will be able to see a visual representation of the families that have accepted the challenge. We believe that together this challenge can become a reality and that together, we can follow where God is leading us this year and beyond. Thank you.

~ The Pastors and the Church Planning Council