Twice each year I personally ask friends of ACT 3 to support this mission financially. I want to tell you specifically why I need your help, especially during the closing weeks of 2006.
The Transition Complete
This time last year we announced our new name—ACT 3. Our new name has now been widely accepted and plainly introduces our vision and mission more broadly, just as we had hoped. Our mission statement has also served us well:
ACT 3 is a ministry to advance the missional mandate of the Lord Jesus in the third millennium, through the witness of Scripture and the wisdom of the Christian tradition.
Over the past five years we have clearly been engaged in a period of transition. We didn’t plan for this in 2000–2001 when this transition actually began. I simply followed the Lord’s direction into wider circles of opportunity. The result was a re-envisioning of our core commitments so that we could help the Church in three areas: worship, spiritual formation and mission. This transition kept alive our long-standing commitment to reformation and revival and allowed us to take that message into even more churches. This year we served churches within the more conservative Southern Baptist Convention and Presbyterian Church in America as well as churches seeking renewal in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America (RCA), United Church of Christ (UCC) and United Methodist Church, to name only a few. This is what I mean by “wider circles of opportunity.” People who support us now understand our vision better, and every day new people find the resources of ACT 3 helpful. (Our online readership grows by as much as a thousand readers each month.)
The New/Old Opportunity
I remain committed to using my gifts as a writer and teacher while I continue to give many hours encouraging and supporting Christian leaders. As we enter 2007, I thank God for many new/old opportunities where I can use these gifts.
1. Writing ACT 3 Weekly and daily blogs (See www.act3online.com and www.johnharmstrong.com.)
2. Editing and presenting the ACT 3 Online Journal (Launched this month on www.act3online.com.)
3. Writing new books for print publication such as The Water That Unites or Divides? Four Views of Baptism, which will be released in January by Zondervan
4. Teaching the “missional church” concept to graduate students and congregations
5. Preaching in numerous churches and conferences around the country
6. Serving with ministries involved in seminary education, church renewal and public policy
The Need for Your Support
As we have processed this five-year transition we have seen our support level rise and fall for several years. I have discovered this is often what happens when a ministry goes through significant changes. But we have also stabilized expenses and our 2007 budget will reflect our support base faithfully.
We do need your support! As we entered December we had unpaid bills of more than $10,000 from various expenses incurred since summer. We need to pay these bills and gain a financial boost for 2007. This is why this year-end giving appeal is so important. It can make or break our plans for the year ahead.
In addition, we would like to secure funds to do the following:
1. Expand our presence on the Web. Our www.act3online.com site is improving every week, and we plan to expand it even more since our quarterly journal is now entirely Web-based.
2. Print and publish some of our material in booklet form. We have wanted to undertake this step for several years. If funds permit we can use this means to expand our witness.
Would you prayerfully consider giving a designated year-end gift in order to help us advance the mission of ACT 3? If our ministry has touched your life, or your congregation, please help us continue to do this work.
We do not charge churches specific fees for our ministry. Some give back to ACT 3 generously, but many do not. Few support us in a regular way. Somehow the funds that we need must be found beyond the ministry we give to churches. This means that we remain a donor-based mission that needs both individuals and churches to support us.
This is one more reason why I need you to give the most generous gift that you can before December 31. (Gifts given after December 31 must be legally receipted for 2007.) Your gracious generosity enables me to experience greater joy and freedom in my leadership of ACT 3. I am not a fund-raiser or a development entrepreneur. I am a minister of the gospel and a teacher and servant of the Church-at-large. Your financial partnership allows me to truly concentrate on research, teaching, preaching, writing and personal ministry. Anything you can do to help us this month would be greatly appreciated by our small organization.
You can mail a check to ACT 3 to: P. O. Box 88216, Carol Stream, IL 60188. You can also use our Web site to make a secure online donation at: www.act3online.com.