I’ve been told the longer this is the less likely you are to read it. Don’t stop yet! Bottom line is we need your support, so if this is too long just skip to the end and see if you can help in one of those ways. But if you’re one of those against the grain people who will actually read this, go forward at your own risk.
We are planting a church in Manhattan, Kansas (original post about The Manhattan Project). We could not be here without the generosity of so many people who have loved us, really praying and giving of their hard earned money during this “incubator” stage and for that we simply cannot thank you enough.
People who are bold enough will ask me how it works financially. So I’ll tell you. We have been raising support since the project went public at the end of March of this year. Travis, Jon and I (mostly Travis) worked for a long time leading up to that point to develop a church budget that includes rent, supplies, salaries, etc. My goal in this was to get the budget as low as possible. Because I’m cheap but also because I desire for the church to be congregationally supported as soon as possible. We have been told many times that our budget is on the low side of budgets. I share that not (only) to brag, but because I’ve been on the other side of fundraising and I always want to know that the money is being used wisely and not frivolously. If the budget is what is holding you back, let me know and I’d gladly share it and walk through it with you.
So we need outside support from the wider Church and individuals for three, maybe four years and then God-willing there will be gathered a local church that is large enough to support its own expenses.
Every church begins like this. In 1993 when Mike Milton led a group in planting Redeemer in Overland Park they relied on the outside support of churches and individuals until the local congregation could support it. I expect the story is the same for your church as well. This is the stage that is like teaching a child to ride a bike: you hold on to the seat until they figure out the balance and then you let go and they ride.
So right now we have been blessed by churches and individuals who have moved Laura and I to tears at times by their sacrifice to help establish this church, one that may never benefit them personally. It’s humbled us because it shows us the love that people have towards us and it shows us how valuable they find the Gospel that Manhattan (and the world) desperately needs to hear.
People also ask where we are in the process of establishing a church. So I’ll tell you. At church plant training they help pastors set their expectations. Church planting is a slow process. However, the response we have gotten has far exceeded our expectations. We have been here with the Dunnings and Shanahans almost four months. The first month was just settling in, getting to know this town.
Then on September 15th we started a Bible Study on the Gospel of John in the home of a family who has been an absolute blessing of God in our lives. We meet for this Bible Study every Sunday at 4pm and after the study we share a meal together. I love it so much! On weeks they can’t host we meet at the Shanahan’s home. The hospitality shown by these two families is amazing. It is so great to see community forming as we discuss Scripture and share a meal. Hard to believe we can love people so much when we didn’t know some of them even existed just six months ago.
On October 6th we held our first Worship service at 4pm in the Mennonite Meeting house. It’s actually an old Presbyterian building built in 1906 with pews and stained glass. The building has changed ownership over the past 107 years. We meet every month for this and it’s been such a joyful time of worship, gifted musicians, loud singing, people serving wherever needed from the start of setup to the end of the night when the floor is being vacuumed after our shared meal together.
There is also a ladies’ book study on Feminine Appeal at our house every other Thursday morning and a men’s book study on The Masculine Mandate meeting in a local coffee shop early on Saturday mornings. There was a fall party with the best smoked meat I’ve ever had along with great tasting Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. Last week was our Grown Up Game Night where Joe, who is a self professed “Board Game Geek”, introduced many of us to really fun games I wouldn’t know existed apart from this shared community.
In the new year we will continue all that is going on. We hope also to move to worship twice a month by the end of the first quarter and at a later date go to weekly worship. We are in process of preparing and receiving those who will be the founding members of Manhattan Presbyterian Church. So, God-willing, that’s the plan.
We also hope to continue to meet people in the community. Thus far we have and it has stretched us beyond our comfort zone. God is growing us in a way that is encouraging and, while difficult and lonely at times, is sanctifying us and forcing us to live in the way we set out to live. To live by faith. Faith that God will use us in the establishing of this church, faith that God will give us relationships that are encouraging, faith that God will provide in all the ways needed. God has and we are grateful for that.
So like I said, our goal from the beginning has been for MPC to be 100% congressionally supported. But in the meantime, we are over 50% funded for the next segment. With your help we can reach 100% funding for the coming year and focus fully on the work of the church and the community of Manhattan, Kansas. I was advised by a wise supporter to ask at this time in the year because it can be a help for tax purposes.
So that was really long, which means very few of you made it this far, thank you if you did.
Will you prayerfully consider joining us?
Here is how You Can Help
Please consider a 100% tax deductible donation to our general operating budget. Giving on every level can make a difference. Some examples of what your money can do are:
- $120 is the cost of one month of bulletins
- $140 provides the fee for our website and sermon hosting for the year
- $500 covers music supplies or Lord’s Supper supplies for the year
- $1,200 will help fund the church outreach and fellowship events
- $1,545 can send us to Church Plant Training in the summer
How to Give
By Check (preferred method due to fees)
If you need a stamped envelope I will get you one, just let me know.
Mail check payable to Reformed University Fellowship to the following address:
1700 North Brown Road, Suite 104
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
*Please write “Brian Hough” on the memo line to ensure proper designation.
Online at www.GiveToRUF.org. Type “Brian Hough” into the search box.
Please partner with us not only financially, but also in prayer. We send out an update every month that shares what God is doing and how you can specifically be praying for the church plant. For now, please pray:
- for God to be a supreme joy to Laura and me
- that we would disciple our children well
- that the church would continue to grow close to God and close to each other
- for new people looking to mature in their faith and those who need to hear the hope of the Gospel
- that God would provide the support needed and that He would continue to bless this Gospel work.
The last way you can be a huge help to us is to share. Share this blog post with anyone you think might desire to support financially or by prayer. Share about the church plant to anyone you know in or near Manhattan looking for a church to be a part of.
The words of Paul at the beginning of his letter the Church in Philippi really express our feeling towards all who have prayed, encouraged, given and shared in this ministry:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” - Philippians 1:3–5
So we have a few (too many) different ways to follow our family and the church plant. I’ll list them below.
www.ManhattanPres.com for sermon audio and transcripts, calendar of upcoming events, and PDFs of past liturgies.
If you have questions of any sort call or email or text any time. firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-439-9319