Greece’s Financial Woes and a Church’s Capital Campaign – An Interesting Juxtaposition

It’s not the easiest time to make investment choices, is it?

Economic Challenges at Home and Abroad

Bad economic news continues to pour out of Greece as their crushing load of public debt threatens to take them over the cliff of insolvency.  Some even questioned this week whether their citizens would approve of a massive bailout with other countries writing off 50% of their indebtedness.  Imagine that–someone offers to write off half your debt and you’re not sure you would take that deal?  These are wild times economically for sure.  The future of the euro and the entire European Union are teetering in the balance.

The economic losses have reached our shores as companies heavily invested in European debt are dealing with frightening shortfalls.  This week’s poster child is MF Global, headed by former NJ governor and Goldman Sachs CEO John Corzine.  Their company declared bankruptcy in the face of unprecedented losses.  Now the bad news–the accountants have determined a shortfall of 600 million dollars.  No one can determine where the money went.  Gone.  Poof.  Not 600 bucks, or 6000 dollars–but 600 million dollars.  That is a very bad day–especially for the investors who will inevitably take yet another hit to their portfolios.

What We’re Investing In During a Down Market

Compare all of this to a local church family seeking to raise 3 million dollars in capital campaign commitments to build a new student ministry and biblical counseling center on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  We call the project Faith West.  What would motivate the men and women in our congregation to make such significant sacrificial financial commitments during an economic downturn?  Because they believe in making investments that will stand the test of time.

The Best Investment Tip Ever

Only time will tell how the Lord will choose to bless these investments, but one thing is sure–they are as safe as heaven itself.

Our Lord taught His followers how to make wise investments.  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

As of this writing, we are well on the way to making our 3 million dollar goal.  As a pastor, I am humbled at that kind of sacrifice and I praise the Lord for the privilege of serving alongside such dedicated men and women.  Only time will tell how the Lord will choose to bless these investments, but one thing is sure–they are as safe as heaven itself.

How’s Our “Portfolio” Doing?

Thursday night a group of us attended a community meeting to explain Faith West to our new neighbors and seek their input as we continue the planning process.  It was a marvelous opportunity to explain that our church family desires to demonstrate the love of Christ by investing in new ministry opportunities in their neighborhood.  Their response was appreciation and wholehearted support for what we were attempting to do.

After the meeting our team went to a local ice cream place to debrief.  In the providence of God, we ran into several residents of Vision of Hope, our faith-based residential treatment program for at-risk girls.  They were there to celebrate the birthday of one of the girls. We explained what we had been doing that evening and shared how we hoped we could someday be a blessing to our new neighbors through the new ministries we are proposing.  One of the girl’s moms pulled us aside and said, “you have already been a wonderful blessing to our family–I praise God for all the ways your church family tries to serve Him.”

At that moment the spiritual planets lined up perfectly.  Several years ago our church family, in conjunction with a generous Christian foundation, chose to make a special financial sacrifice to open Vision of Hope.  The fruit of that investment was right in front of our eyes, not on a financial statement, but in the form of a changed life for the glory of God and a very thankful mom with tears of gratitude in her eyes.  No one will be able to rob us of that joy regardless of the future of the euro.  Here’s to believing that dividends await us through our ministry efforts at Faith West.  Let the accounting begin.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.