Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Most people think pastors are all about Sunday morning; the sermon, the music, the sneakers. But we’re not (or at least, we shouldn’t be).
Meet Olivia. She is the newest member of the Bosch family, and we are so blessed to know them.
Rebecca and Zach Bosch have recently given birth to their second daughter, Olivia. Unfortunately, she was born with a rare, congenital heart condition that normally goes unnoticed by doctors until it becomes too late (the odds of this condition are about 1 in 200,000). However, a miracle happened, and the doctors were able to catch it on time. So they performed a successful, lifesaving surgery for Olivia.
Unfortunately, they have suffered a few setbacks since then. Olivia is on a tough road to recovery that will require delicate care and frequent hospital visits. For anybody, especially two young parents, this is a huge weight, both emotionally and financially.
While I have known Rebecca since we were in middle school, I personally wasn’t close to the Bosch family. But they are actually very close friends with another couple that actively attends Neighborhood Church (Martin and Vanessa Barbieri). When Martin and Vanessa approached me with their story, we all knew we had to act. We knew we wanted to act. That’s where the Mission Fund comes in.
Since the launch of Neighborhood Church Miami, we knew that we wanted to be different with the way we handle our finances. Most people are already skeptical of how churches handle their money, so we decided to focus on transparency, simplicity and most of all, generosity. From day one, we have organized our finances in a way that minimizes unnecessary expenses, so we can maximize generosity.
Our goal for every month is to have at least 50% of our monthly revenue available to “give away” through our Missional Communities (commonly known as small groups). We make these funds available to meet the immediate needs of our neighborhood, both members and non-members of Neighborhood Church. We call this our Mission Fund (previously, Mercy Fund).
Having the Mission Fund available has already been a huge blessing, and not just for those that receive from it. Over the past few months, I have watched members of our community give checks to people who have lost their jobs, needed counseling or, in this case, been in the hospital. We see ourselves as a family of servant-missionaries sent to witness to all that Christ has done for us in Miami. Using our finances this way is how believe the gospel calls us to steward the resources God has given us. The tears of joy, not just from those who receive, but those that are giving, come from empathizing with our savior through radical generosity, and our sent nature as His people.
You see, a neighborhood is not comprised of just your house, but of multiple houses, all with very different people with unique backgrounds and stories. This proximity between neighbors is exactly what makes it the perfect place for us to live as a family on mission. We are called to reflect God’s grace and love our neighbors, especially during difficult times such as these. We believe in a God who freely gave up His treasure Jesus to meet our need, and so with Him as our example we believe we are called to to do the same with others.
And so, Vanessa, Martin and I went to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to visit Olivia, Zach and Becca. We sat around and listened to them as they shared their story, their fears, their hopes, their struggles. And then we gave them a card on behalf of Neighborhood Church, with a handwritten note of encouragement and a check for Olivia from our Mission Fund.
And let me tell you, this is what it’s all about.
“7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8 (NIV)
We all know our check didn’t solve everything. It wasn’t nearly enough to pay for everything. But it was such an incredible moment for me, as I hope it was for them. There is something special about unexpected gifts. Freely given because we have freely received.
This is the Gospel: Jesus sacrificing Himself as the substitute for our sins. Jesus who was rich in the affections of the Father and the glory and honor of heaven became poor-taking on flesh to suffer and die in our place so that we might gain His wealth as beloved first-born children of the Father. He did not do it because we did something to earn it, or because He thought we could pay Him back. He did it out of complete love, compassion and grace towards us.
“9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)
And so now, through our Mission Fund, we are making available resources for us, as His Church, to go out into our neighborhoods and reflect this reality in a real and tangible way. When we were planting we knew we wanted to equip our church family to do ministry. We knew one way would be through solid biblical teaching. We had no idea the Spirit would lead us to build our budget like this, but He did, and we're happy to serve in this way.
While money surely doesn’t solve everything, it’s a good place to start. Since our hospital visit, Martin and Vanessa have been following up with the Bosch family, spreading Olivia’s story and finding new ways to meet their needs. Others in our church have joined along and brought them meals and spent time with them. We also continue to pray for them, asking God to heal Olivia, to give wisdom to the doctors and strength to Zach and Becca.
Again, this is what it’s all about. We do this together, for the glory of God, because of the compassion of the Son, and because of the leading of the Spirit.
And this is how we use our Mission Fund. This is how we submit ourselves to God’s Kingdom rule and reign in our lives in the context of the neighborhood He sent us to. This is just one way we worship and glorify Him in our daily lives.
We don’t do this so people look at us and say, “Wow, look at how godly they are” or “Wow, they’re so woke.” No, we want people to see this and say: “Wow! Look at how God is moving IN that neighborhood.”
That’s the goal: to be used as instruments by God. To be a mere reflection of His unending grace and love, as we worship and enjoy Him as a family and serve our neighborhood. I’m excited to see what else He has in store for us.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Eric Isaac
If you want to keep up with the Bosch family, or are inclined to donate, you can find their GoFundMe page HERE. If you would like to help in other ways, please email us at email@example.com