Waiting is the hardest part. It's mid October and we still have about two weeks till we find out if we're approved by the IRS, or if there are more hoops to jump through.
What's the next step in our plan? We need to raise the money to purchase land and start building. Our target is $350,000 to purchase land, build the aquaponics greenhouse and to build the shell for the farmstand.
You might be thinking, "that's a lot of money!", and you'd be right, but it's not the original design. Our original design would have been closer to $800,000 but after some careful thought I knew that it would be foolish to try to dive into everything at once, so we've scaled everything back to start small and let the business part of the ministry grow the facility and give us time to learn as we grow.
How do we want to raise the money to get started? We want individuals to make our ministry part of their own ministry and to give as God lays it on their hearts. Our $75 tour is asking every Christian to give $75. Sounds crazy right? How many of us waste way more than $75 each month? This is a small sacrifice for many of us. However, at $75 a person, I would need to see 4,667 willing Christians to reach my goal. If only half of an average church with 150 members give $75, that would mean that I have to speak at 63 churches.
I can sit around and do math all day long, and the numbers can play with your head, but the question really is, "Can we really rely on God to supply all of our needs?" and the answer is yes.
I've seen God make old appliances hang in there while I've saved up for a replacement. I've seen people who weren't any better off financially than me and my wife give sacrificially to help me out when I was robbed a few years back. I've also seen God change my heart and show me how I could do more with a lot less if my joy was in Him and doing His will first.
There is no doubt about it, this is going to be an expensive undertaking. The enemy tells me that this can't be done, that the money isn't out there, that even if I get started I don't know what I'm doing, that I can't market our produce, that I'm not qualified to train young people on how to be a productive adult, or a disciple of Christ. The enemy says no, but God through his people have said yes! I've heard story after story of how God has always supplied the needs of his people, whether it was financially, or by enabling them in their ministry, or strengthening their family, God has always supplied, from His riches, exactly what we as His children need, every time.
Am I concerned? Yes. Do I make plans? Yes. Do I crunch number? Yes. I've made spreadsheets, I've got databases to monitor productivity, I'm looking into writing for grants, I'm doing everything I can possibly think of, but I'm not worrying. Why? Because the God who spoke everything into existence bases solely on His own power has given us a commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel, make disciples, baptize in his name, and to teach them to obey everything in God's word... with a commission like that, don't you believe that he will make sure it happens? Don't you believe that God is pleased when his children find various ways to take on that challenge as a personal mission? Why would we think that an all powerful God with unlimited resources would not provide the means to allow that to happen?
My Dad gave me the most valuable piece of advice that I've ever been given. When you look at a large undertaking like this, don't worry about all the details at once, but rather work on the next step. One step at a time is how we follow Jesus, and one step at a time we will make The Discipleship Center flourish.