A congregation raises funds for a historic book of devotions
by Lynda Byrd

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – San Antonio is a military town. It’s the home of four military installations: Fort Sam Houston, Randolph and Lackland Air Force bases, and Brooks Army Medical Center. Thousands of deployed military spend time in San Antonio, and facilities for wounded soldiers are some of the finest in the country. So raising funds to purchase the devotional, Strength for Service to God and Country, seemed a fitting initiative for Northwest Hills UMC.

The 29-year-old congregation has fewer than 1,500 members, but growth is continuous. Many veterans are among its members as well as active military personnel and their families. We proposed raising funds during the month of October with a goal of purchasing 100 copies of the books of daily devotions. The UM Men’s office in Nashville responded immediately and offered ideas and promotional resources.

Northwest Hills UM Men embraced the fund-raising idea with enthusiasm. Most of the men are also veterans and it was easy for them to understand how much the devotional would mean to the troops. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

The initial goal of $500 was met after the first of three worship services the first Sunday that Strength for Service was introduced. In two weeks, the total had increased to $1,500.

Thanks to the General Commission on UM Men’s website (www.strengthforservice.org), responses of those who received the devotional were shared when members inquired about the books. Knowing that a $5 gift could make such a difference had an amazing effect.

Many Northwest Hills members are new to the UMC; they were unaware of how the connectional system supports mission work across the United States and around the world.

This effort helped the congregation to see the role that it can play, as well as how much it matters when congregations rally collectively behind a worthy cause.

Now that members have experienced the joy of giving, there seems to be no stopping – much like God’s giving to us.