Hi pastor! I wanted to take a minute to share with you some great news about what God is doing in Iowa.
The Bridge Church (Pastor Marty Schmidt) is located in Ottumwa, Iowa. It’s the home of Radar from M.A.S.H. Their area has struggled economically. Several years ago, Pastor Marty answered God’s call to plant a new church there. During those years, they’ve grown from a small church plant to more than 1,000 people in weekend attendance. Many people have placed their faith in Jesus and passed through the waters of baptism.
With growth came ministry challenges. And with ministry challenges came financial challenges. And, as you can imagine, church financial challenges are more pronounced when your congregation is struggling with their personal finances.
Pastor Marty reached out to me way back in 2009 to help implement systems to help people employ biblical financial principles in their life. We showed people how to develop a written plan for their life (Romans 12:1-2), how to create a financial plan – a budget – that honored God by putting Him first (Proverbs 21:5/Malachi 3:6-10/Haggai 1), how to address the challenges of debt (Proverbs 22:7/Romans13:8), and the power of compound interest (Proverbs 13:11/13:22). We trained financial coaches so they could disciple those who were taking their next steps (Proverbs 15:22). People responded.
I returned to help again in 2012. This time, the church was preparing to acquire their first permanent facilities and Pastor Marty asked us to help him raise the money in a capital campaign. The result was a group of people who had taken an incredible spiritual journey together and it resulted in a fully funded project. People responded big time.
Just a few months ago, I was able to return to visit The Bridge for another tremendous weekend of helping people win with their money God’s way. This time, I got to see the building that The Bridge now OWNS and is preparing to occupy. People have responded again.
4 Fully Funded Principles employed by The Bridge
- They understand seasons. Fully Funded has a Grow Giving Process that focuses on seasons. They have taken time to “plant” seeds of generosity and provided discipleship to allow people to “grow.” After allowing time for growth, the time came for a tremendous “harvest.” Many leaders attempt to employ only one or two seasons – planting seeds and then immediately asking people to give (harvest) – be sure to allow room for growth.
- They understand the value of coaching. Pastor Marty has sought wisdom from others every step of the way. He clearly understands Proverbs 4:7 – “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” The Fully Funded program challenges each church to have two key leaders in the area of generosity: (a) a Champion (at your church – we provide a job description – can be a volunteer) and (b) a Coach (that’s the Fully Funded team)
- They have a system. Without good systems, good intentions will fall by the wayside. The Bridge has offered financial teaching events at strategic times. They have issued 90-day giving challenges on a consistent basis (right before summer is a great time as it helps you avoid summer slumps). They offer financial coaching to truly help people make progress. They’ve implemented excellent online giving systems. Because they have good systems (with a Champion and a Coach), they are Fully Funded!
- They have the right heart. The entire church has a heart for the city of Ottumwa. It is their passion to impact their city with the love of Jesus in very tangible ways – and the city has taken notice. As people have seen the hand of God moving in their church, they have grown in generosity. Isn’t that what it is all about?
5 Financial Documents
Download these five financial documents. You'll get original files to make it easy to customize and use in your church.