By the time you read this letter, I will officially have completed my Doctor of Ministry degree. I am thrilled to complete this five-year journey. I am thankful beyond words… but I’ll try to use words anyhow.
Naively, when I began the D.Min. program at Fuller Theological Seminary back in 2012, I believed that I would have to read a bunch, write some papers, and then do a final project. I had no idea how directly applicable the studies would be to my everyday ministry experiences. In fact, I hadn’t even applied for the senior pastor position when I was applying for the doctoral position.
In the coming years, what I was learning in seminary directly impacted my leadership and my views of ministry in general. It was impacting the way I spent my time, my understanding of the Bible, and how to address challenges for which there are no easy answers. While I was experiencing significant transitions within the church and my personal life, I had three different professors/pastors coaching me, drawing connections between the coursework and our specific church context.
None of this would have been possible without the support of our session, personnel ministry team, and the rest of the staff. The staff worked with me for the final project in the fall of 2016 while the session has learned alongside me as I’ve brought new information to them.
What’s more, this would not have been possible without the generosity of those who’ve gone before us. Our church is blessed to have many families who have left large financial gifts to invest in the education of students at all levels. Our foundation funded this degree over the last five years because faithful members wanted to invest in the future of this church. Each year, we are investing in future generations through our contributions to various scholarship funds.
This church has a rich legacy of people who have given faithfully to its ministry, empowering the church to have a lasting impact in Fort Dodge and beyond. However, that legacy is not guaranteed. I would remiss if I didn’t take this moment of thanks as an opportunity to point out the impact of your financial contributions. This church does the amazing work it does because of the ongoing, significant financial support of its members.
So I offer us a mid-year challenge. We’re calling it the Ten-Dollar Campaign. We are asking each family to commit to giving just $10 a month more than they already do. For some, this would not be noticed while for others this means a big step in faith. However, $10 a month means one less trip to the Dariette, or one less bacon cheeseburger with fries. We all can find $10 a month to support the ongoing ministry of the church.
In these summer months when we all travel more, online or E-giving is a powerful tool. You can set up a $10 dollar monthly gift in less than five minutes from your smart phone, home computer, or one of our kiosks in church. This small commitment would make a huge difference in supporting ongoing life-changing ministry of our church.
I’m so grateful for the ministry of this church and how it has blessed me in the last eight years. I’m confident God has blessed you through this ministry too. Let’s strive together to insure the future of this ministry through our ongoing financial support today.
Blessings, Austin D. Hill