Last year, on October 22, we introduced our “Be the Blessing” campaign whose goals include new outreach initiatives and a three-stage building project. Together we reflected on the pioneer members of the Conejo Church who in the 1970s planted the acorns of faith that have grown into the oaks of ministry of the past 45 years. We talked candidly about the need in our day to plant new acorns of faith that will bless the next generations in our community. Like the calling of Abraham and Sarah, we described our calling as one of being the blessing, taking on fresh God-sized challenges and making the most of our God-given gifts and opportunities together.
By God’s grace, we have much to celebrate at the one-year mark! We have created new outreach ministries, both to share the good news of Jesus and to serve those in need. We have hosted two community dinners for Conejo School families, providing us with the opportunity to build deeper relationships with our neighbors. This fall, we hosted Alpha groups which met weekly to share a meal and discuss questions of faith; ten community guests participated along with over thirty Conejo members. Our teens have practiced being the blessing as well, visiting some of our home-bound seniors and building connections with them. Thank you to all who have served so faithfully in these new outreaches!
On November 11 of 2017, we invited our congregation to fill out pledge cards, making two-year commitments for the first phase of the building project. Together, we pledged $1,139,000 toward the phase one goal of $2,000,000. We are now just past the one year mark in gathering these pledges and have already received $682,825, or sixty percent of the monies pledged! Thank you so much for your commitment to giving generously and for your faithful follow-up!
On the day after the Borderline shooting, we received an unexpected and convicting new pledge from a former Conejo member. Here is part of the email, edited for length:
My wife and I attended Conejo Valley when we were freshly out of college. Shortly after we arrived in 2002, I wasn’t able to find work, and we were in need of some financial assistance. We did not know anyone at the church, but we felt like we were out of options and asked the church for some help. The church responded in a huge way. In addition to helping me connect with a number of job opportunities, one of which became the first stepping stone in my eventual career, the church lent us money to help us cover our immediate expenses. When we were finally able to pay them back, they asked us to pay it forward instead. We have a great deal of gratitude for the church, so when we recently learned of the Be the Blessing campaign, we were immediately delighted to sign up for a monthly donation to give back to the church and help support this congregation and the surrounding community that you engage with. It is amazing to see the same generosity and spirit that we witnessed all those years ago is alive and well in the church.
Thank you, Church, for being the kind of congregation that for 45 plus years has blessed people like this young couple! Thank you for entering this new season of planting acorns of faith. Thank you for participating through ministry outreaches and generous giving. May God be honored and glorified as we continue to respond to God’s call to be the blessing!
The Final Countdown
Waiting for God
Be the Blessing: One Year Out
Talking With People You Disagree With
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
The Body of Christ Has Two Hands
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction