Each year churches and missions express gratitude to their benefactors at the end of the calendar year. Most will also appeal for much needed year-end gifts. I have followed this pattern for seventeen years. But this year I have done something very special. We recently mailed a special thank-you gift to all 425 of our donors. This gift is a new 29-minute video: “The ACT 3 Story.” Here you can see and experience the unique vision that God has given to me. I now want to invite every reader of this blog to see this same video. You can watch it on our Web site at: www.act3online.com. It downloads as soon as you open the homepage so plan to take a half hour and watch this story at your earliest convenience. I would love to receive your comments in some form. Each one encourages me very deeply.

031032114x_cimage This new video tells a story that I am fully persuaded you will find compelling. It will allow you to see what is really and truly behind these blogs that you invest your personal and valuable time in reading. It also invites you to look forward to my forthcoming book: Your Church Is Too Small (April, 2010).

If you live in the Chicago area there are two events that will be connected with the release of the book. First, there is a luncheon on March 17 at the Holiday Inn in Carol Stream. (Zondervan has promised to ship me the books in time for this event.) I will tell the story behind my book and you will have an opportunity to interact with me and get a copy. You will need to register for this event at our Web site. The second “book launch” event will be at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 22, at the Wilson Suite on the fourth floor of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. That evening I will present the central thesis of the book and then four people will engage with me in a dialogue. There will be a Catholic priest, an Orthodox priest, and a Protestant minister. A fourth person, Rev. Chris Castaldo, will act as the moderator. We will take questions from the audience and books will again be available for you after the presentation.

The book just went to press this last week after we received a wonderful 550 word foreword from my friend Jim Packer. (His name will appear on the revised cover art when the book is released!)

Another obvious reason for this new video is to encourage you to give generously to ACT 3 at the end of 2009. I truly need your support. We have fallen well short of our budget and salaries for nearly eighteen months. Your year-end gifts can make a huge difference to us now and into the coming months of 2010. If we are to continue to pursue the vision of “equipping leaders for unity in Christ’s mission” I must have a team of supporters who will invest in our work faithfully. Would you become a donor, at least with a one-time year end gift? You can give online at www.act3online.com (there is a gift icon on the home page) or send a check to ACT 3 (mark it as a year-end gift) to:

P. O. Box 88216
Carol Stream, IL 60188

We recently published a new case statement and then presented it to our friends at a special gathering here in Chicago on Monday evening, November 30. I believe this carefully written statement offers a compelling case for the mission of ACT 3 and explains why we need your support as we seek to transform the vision of the North American church. While many are attempting to transform the culture through political means, I believe that it is the church that must be changed first. Christian leaders, and their followers, have settled for implicit, if not explicit, disobedience to Christ’s clearly expressed desire for the unity of his people in his mission. I have embarked upon an effort to address this problem and to call leaders to change their emphasis and leadership patterns. Tomorrow I will post this case statement for the readers of this blog site.

I believe these resources are the most valuable explanations of the importance of ACT 3 that we have ever produced. Along with my forthcoming book, which can be pre-ordered online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and ChristianBook.com, I believe the video, and this new book, will give you the explicit reasons for why this mission is vitally needed in the North American church context.

Finally, would you pray for me as I battle with the routine fears and doubts that go along with trusting God for the faith to do this mission? I struggle with health concerns as well as with the daily pressures of deadlines driven by an incredible burden of writing. Besides this writing, and the speaking ministry that also goes along with it, I meet with young leaders routinely to encourage and mentor them.

Again, please watch the video as soon as you can devote thirty minutes to this wonderful resource. I believe you will know me much better if you see “The ACT 3 Story” and by that you will then know why this vision matters and how you can specifically help us make a huge difference for Christ and his kingdom.

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