SDB Chicago

The 50/50 Plan

Last month Bethany mentioned how we are currently assessing if the things that we are doing align with what God has for us. For me that means looking at my current employment. When we first moved to Chicago I did not have a job. What I did have was faith that God would provide what we needed. It took about a month, but I found a job fixing servers at data centers all over Chicagoland. I have always been interested in computers and it seemed like a good fit. And it was. But not anymore.

Anyone who has worked in this field will tell you that working on servers is a 24/7 job. At home when your computer breaks down it is inconvenient, but its not the end of the world. Things change when it is a server that supports a large hospital system, or a major airline. Suddenly those systems become a priority. This means that someone needs to fix it, even if it is at three in the morning.

I said earlier that I trusted God to provide what we needed. He did. This job has required a large time commitment, but that has also meant that it has paid very well. This past year that pay has been invaluable as we have adjusted to life in the city. But now I find myself realizing that I can’t church plant and work a job that wants me to be available 70+ hours a week. Something needs to change and as of October 28th I will no longer be working in that position.

Bethany and I have spent the last month and a half praying and asking God what the next step looks like for me. We moved here to plant a church. That cannot happen if I remain in this job. It also can’t happen if I don’t have income. Cost of living is not cheap in Chicago, and we still have student loan debt. Through that prayer we began to realize that God had already provided a solution to this problem. From day one we have had people ask where they can send money to support us. These people were probably not thinking specifically about providing a salary for me, and yet we wondered if people would support the idea.

After prayer and conversations with some people who were already giving we came up with The 50/50 Plan: a plan where 50% of my income would come from a part time job in the community and the other 50% would come from people giving specifically so I can focus on church planting. This income would free me up to spend at least 20 hours a week specifically focused on building God’s church here in Chicago.

This past year I have had to turn down several invitations to church conferences. I wanted to go to them, but my job was not flexible enough for me to attend. This plan would enable me to go to those conferences, because 50% of my income would be specifically for that. This would also free me up to participate in leadership and church planting training. I could also begin to build relationships with other pastors in our neighborhood.

The part time job would have a purpose too. Even if we were sure that 100% of my income could come from giving I would still want a part time job in the community. Specifically because it would be in the community. We want our church to be a community church, but that can’t happen if we are never involved in what the community is doing. Though I don’t have a part time job lined up yet, we see plenty of possibility and know that God will provide the right one to build His church.

Okay, so now that you have heard the pitch, it is time for specifics. I want to say first that we WILL NOT be taking a portion of every donation for this. Only those donations specifically designated for the 50/50 Plan will be used. I know some of you are interested in funding specific events or projects. Those funds would only be used for that.

Our goal is $20,000 for the year. If we get 100 donations of $20 a month, that will more than cover it. If you are reading this you probably are already receiving regular updates from us. However, anyone that gives to the 50/50 Plan will be added to our mailing list to receive updates through email.

We are not asking for giving indefinitely. The plan is to reassess after one year. God can do amazing things in a year. Perhaps we won’t need to the same level of giving next year. Maybe God will have grown the church so much that we will be able to be solely funded by it.

Regardless of how much is given or how it is designated, all giving will be funneled through The Milton SDB Church. They have agreed to be our sponsor church. You can view the update about their sponsorship here.

We have faith that God will provide the means for us to continue to build His church here in Chicago. We are thankful for those of you that are already partnering with us on this journey, whether financially or through prayer. And we excitedly look forward to see what God has planed for this next year.


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Pastor Phil

Philip Lawton received a Masters of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minster in the Seventh Day Baptist Church. He is currently working on a church plant in Chicago.

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