In our weekly staff meetings, we’ve been reading through and discussing John Maxwell’s book No Limits, Blow the Cap Off Your Capacity. Each of us have been challenged to stretch a little more and move ourselves into position to be used more fully within the gifts God has given us. One of the chapters in the book is titled “Energy Capacity,” and it asks us to consider what activities, people, tasks, and places sap our energy or give us energy. Some people are energized by attending networking events and meeting new people, while for others that would be draining to say the least. Some of us enjoy academic pursuits and research, while others would be happy to never step foot in a classroom again.
The point is, we need to try to maximize our capacity by maximizing our energy levels. Some parts of our personal lives or professional lives, though, might not be energizing but nevertheless, are things we have to do regardless. For me personally, one of those things is asking for financial support. God may not have given me the gift of fundraising, but He did equip me to be a “friend raiser,” and I’m passionate about the ministry of The Love Akron Network. So in order to maximize my energy levels when it comes to fund raising, I recently decided to send a special letter to some pastor friends. I’m actually going to share an edited version of the letter with you this week as my blog. Would you please take a few minutes to read it as well as my concluding thoughts at the end?
Some time ago I was having a conversation with one of my dearest friends, when they looked at me and said, “And why should I support Love Akron?” Although I was not there to ask for financial support, I admired their frankness. It was a fair question, so to the best of my ability I shared why I am committing the rest of my life to the mission of The Love Akron Network. I’d like to share the same reasons with you.
First, Christ views the congregations of the Greater Akron Area as ONE CHURCH. Therefore, we have a need for a coordinating backbone ministry like The Love Akron Network, to bring us together so that our voices are louder and our lights are brighter in creating a collective impact. Love Akron co-hosted a conference last year called City Convene, which brought civic, social, and faith institutions together to collaborate over the problems in our community. Our next big community event is a Faith & Family night at the Akron Rubber Ducks on August 21st.
Second, Love Akron has earned the respect of the larger community; it has a seat at the “community table”. The Christian Church has not always been invited to be part of the larger community conversation, but with God’s favor and much hard work, Love Akron has earned that privilege and now can represent the Christian-faith community as opportunities arise. Love Akron was a key in organizing faith-based sessions for former County Executive Russ Pry’s Change Direction event. We look forward to hosting a “table” as part of the Akron Community Foundation’s On the Table event this coming October.
Third, Love Akron is a servant leadership ministry, serving the servant leaders on the frontlines in the Church and the Community, by acting as a resource. Our Love Akron Schools initiative aims to connect leaders from the community with the needs found in our schools. Did you know we have a mentoring program called One Life At A Time, which works with the judicial system to provide a second chance to non-violent offenders?
Fourth, Love Akron’s mission is prayer – our connection with God, unity – our connection with each other and collaborative ministry – our connection with the needs of the larger community. Love Akron provides leadership in the city by calling the community to prayer by hosting and promoting a variety of prayer events, by developing strategies for tearing down the walls that divide us, and by connecting servants with common interests. Love Akron hosted a Unite Our Hearts event this past MLK weekend, with over 200 people of different race and religious affiliations, coming together in prayer and unity- a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
Fifth, Love Akron is recognized by the larger community as a source of connection. Our state and local governments look to Love Akron for spiritual leadership; the education sector looks to us for recruiting volunteers from the faith community to assist in our public schools; the legal sector for partnership in addressing crime and creating a climate of peace during civil unrest and addiction; the media for a voice of theological perspective on social issues; the business sector for spiritual support in the marketplace; and the faith community for leadership and collaboration at the community table.
The Love Akron Network’s Annual Awards Breakfast, one of the largest-attended community gatherings of its kind with over 650+ people in attendance, speaks of the impact “The Network” is making in the Greater Akron Area.
In short, while The Love Akron Network is highly valued, and equally needed by the community, the financial burden of this ministry is heavy. Success depends on pastors and churches, along with other Christian leaders, helping to carry the financial load. Our monthly supporters are faithful but few in number considering all the churches and individuals connected to our organization throughout the Greater Akron Area.
Here are three ways you can invest financially in the ministry of The Love Akron Network:
- Give a one-time or monthly gift via check or online at www.loveakron.org/donate.
- Allow me to share in your church what the ministry of Love Akron is all about and invite anyone who desires to invest to do so (a 10-minute presentation).
- Purchase a ticket or sponsorship for the Annual Awards Breakfast taking place September 26, 2017. You can do so online at thebreakfast.loveakron.org.
Please know this letter comes directly from my heart – my heart for Christ, the City, and Love Akron. I am asking for your financial support for the ministry of The Love Akron Network. Together we are partners in Christ’s kingdom work. Also, know that The Love Akron Network is here to serve you. Thank you for helping us in this mission. Let’s love our city to life!
I am your brother,
I’ve written many blog posts over the years, and I have rarely, if ever, asked for financial support. I felt compelled to share the need with you this week. On occasion the question arises, “What if The Love Akron Network ceased to exist?” Would the Faith Community and Civic Community significantly feel its vacuum? We, of course, don’t know the answer to that, but my best guess is Love Akron would be missed. This is not an SOS letter, and Love Akron, Lord willing, will be around for many years to come. But as a small non-profit, we do have financial needs that must be shared. Thank you for letting me share my heart, which, by the way, is very energizing! Have a great week!