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December 27, 2022

Financial Update #3: Grace-Enabled Generosity

Jon Grano

Pastor for Operations

As Bethlehem’s fiscal year comes to a close on December 31, this third 2022 Financial Update reminds us that God’s grace is the source of all our generosity. Last month, Pastor Kenny Stokes highlighted eight traits or characteristics of grace-enabled generosity in his sermon “Strengthened by Grace for Generosity.” 

Grace-enabled generosity is …

  1. driven by an abundance of joy in God (2 Corinthians 8:2a)
  2. an offering of ourselves first to God (8:5)
  3. an aspect of spiritual maturity in which to excel (8:7)
  4. an act of Christ-like love (8:9)
  5. willing and cheerful (8:3, 4; 9:5, 7)
  6. empowered by the promises of God (9:8)
  7. yields a harvest of righteousness (9:6, 9, 10)
  8. all to the glory to God (9:11–15)

Pastor Kenny’s sermon was a helpful reminder that willing, cheerful generosity relies on God’s gracious promises and is dependent on and strengthened by God’s grace.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.—2 Corinthians 9:6–8

The sermon also reminded me of the first of “31 Radical, Liberating Questions to Ask God About Your Giving” that author Randy Alcorn posed in his book The Treasure Principle—a question I encourage each of us to ponder as this year comes to a close and we start a new year on Sunday: “Lord, in Your Word, You make a direct connection between experiencing grace and expressing grace through giving. So does the degree of my giving suggest that I have recognized and embraced Your grace?

I thank God for your generosity in November, and I ask you to join me in praying for needed extraordinary generosity in these last four days of 2022 to launch both Bethlehem Baptist Church and The North Church into the new year on a strong financial foundation. May God’s grace enable each one of us to grow in our cheerful, willing generosity in the coming year.

2022 Giving Details

  • With four days left in our 2022 fiscal year, we anticipate ministry expenses of $8.85M ($600K less than our $9.45M congregationally-approved budget). 
  • With $7.75M contributed through this past Sunday (12/25), this means we need about $1.1M to cover 2022 ministry expenses.
  • Use the Bethlehem Online Giving Portal to set up one-time or recurring giving via eCheck (lower cost to Bethlehem) or credit card. You can also use the Portal to view your giving history and recurring giving schedule. Note that Bethlehem’s mobile app and text-to-give feature (text “BBC amount” to 612-223-7432; for example, “BBC 100”) are also available.
  • All online contributions must be transacted before 11:45pm Central Time on Saturday, December 31, at All contributions in checks or cash must be postmarked by December 31, or brought to the church by Noon on Friday, December 30 (when offices close).
  • If you have questions about contribution options, including donations of stock or yearly “Required Minimum Distributions” (RMD) from an IRA account, contact Bethlehem’s Financial Secretary, Steve Walmsley.
  • If you would like offering envelopes for use in 2023, you may pick up generic offering envelopes at the Welcome Desk / Information Booth. In light of Bethlehem’s Multiply efforts, family-specific offering envelopes will be considered at a later date.

Noon Update on Friday, December 30, 2022

Financial Secretary Steve Walmsley informed me that as of Noon today (Dec 30), an additional $373K has been given toward Bethlehem’s 2022 ministry expenses since Sunday (Dec 25). This most recent 2022 contribution total ($8.1M) means we are now currently about $750K shy of meeting expected 2022 ministry expenses of $8.85M.

Afternoon Update on Thursday, January 5, 2023

As of 2pm today (January 5), an additional $129K in 2022 contributions has been received toward Bethlehem’s 2022 ministry expenses since the last News page update (that listed contribution totals through 12/31). This most recent 2022 contribution total ($8.52M) means that most of our 2022 ministry expenses (96+%) are covered, and we’ll be able to begin replenishing some of our operating reserves. Join me in thanking God for the outpouring of generosity from the Downtown and North campuses this December!

Also see the “Financial Update #2: Informed Challenge,” posted December 19.