One of my favorite books this year has been Tina Rosenberg’s Join the Club. She describes how peer pressure motivates social change in our lives. Through the power of groups coming together, people will do things that no institution or leader can compel them to do when they influence each other for good.
We have seen the evidence of that positive change in the lives of our young people. This quarter, our students traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa as ambassadors of the power of Christ’s love and character on their lives. In August, we heard their stories of abstinence, purity, and character that they shared with South African young people. They taught and demonstrated how the Christ life shapes every aspect of their lives. The impact they had on the South Africans continues to affect the group back home. Under Michael McEntyre’s leadership, this group of teenagers has taught each other the life transforming virtues of the gospel that they are taking into their schools and homes.
This kind of ministry would not be possible without the positive influence that you have exerted on each other to give generously. Your financial gifts to these students and many other ministries through the budget of First Baptist have provided staff, resources, materials, supplies, and care. Just imagine, to operate the youth ministry staff, programs, and ministries at First Baptist, it costs an estimated $275 each day.
This year, your giving continues to keep pace with last year. Thus far, we have received $1,265,589, compared to $1,269,042 last year at this same time. Our expenses are also less than last year. We have spent $1,286,466 this year compared to $1,292,518 this time last year.
To finish 2011, I am asking you to continue this generous pace. Last year during the fourth quarter, God abundantly poured out his blessings through you. I am asking you to do the same again this year. Let’s join the club of generosity and do for each other what God has already done for us. He has given us his son Jesus Christ, and that is really all we need.
(Pictured above: Kathryn Pickle with South African students)