Why I’m raising support to work with Soma

This month makes one year since we started work with Soma Church in Indianapolis. One year of shaping her public voice (Communications), stewarding her Downtown congregational systems, and helping shepherd her Downtown members.

One year – one new website, a rabble of bloggers, a 200-or-so-person congregation, and three-nearly-four community groups later, I’m truly grateful for what I’ve seen and what I’ve been part of in God’s work in this city. This wasn’t our plan when we moved to Indy in 2013, but Allison and I (and our two born Hoosiers) are happy to call this “home” for this part of our lives.

One aspect of our life here that I haven’t blogged about before is that Soma can’t afford to pay me a whole salary. We were able to give this congregation a running start through a lot of external generosity; and even now, our congregation’s lead pastor raises a hefty chunk of his own salary. Our people are generous, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to be paid a full salary.

I’m writing this now because we’re starting our financial year; this will be the only piece I write about raising support, because that’s not the main thing this blog is about. But I wanted to take a moment to invite any interested readers to consider hearing our vision for working with Soma and consider partnering with us in this mission.

So if you keep reading this, you’ll read 1) Why Soma’s worth raising support for; and 2) how you could join our support team, either financially, through prayer, or both.

Why Soma is worth it

For starters, I’ve been in a couple of situations – summer missions, an unpaid internship – where I raised a bit of support, and I swore every time that any job that required fundraising was no rodeo for this cowboy.

So there’s that.

But in Soma, Allison and I have found a church we’re enthusiastic to belong to. I could list a lot of reasons why I love this church, but here are two:

  1. We confess our need for Jesus every Sunday

One of the most foundational truths of Christianity – maybe the bedrock existential reality – can be summarized in the words “I need Jesus.” I need Jesus, the Scriptures tell me, because as the active will of God he holds all my molecules together (Colossians 1:17). I need Jesus because, as the rightful king of the universe, his approval is the only verdict that really matters in time and in eternity (Revelation 1:17-18). I need Jesus, because only in his death and his resurrection am I reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

All Christians know they need Jesus – Soma’s not special there. But every time we get together on Sundays, we walk through a basic liturgical pattern of adoring God, confessing sin, hearing assurance, and (at the end of service) commemorating Jesus’ death for us. Confessing sin in particular – owning my guilt before God, without excuse – is a special act, because it makes me feel afresh my need for Jesus. It makes God’s grace sweeter, like fasting makes a steak that much richer. That liturgical practice is one thing I love.

  1. A great mission in a great city

Soma’s vision is to see the good news of Jesus redeem every aspect of Indianapolis – from individual lives, through families, neighborhoods, and schools, into local businesses. We’re involved in sharing the good news with our neighbors; with supporting a handful of public schools in the city; with helping men recover from addictions and be restored to their families; with cultivating dialogue between racial groups to further unify our city.

There’s a lot of exciting work going on. Some of it has borne fruit already – we’ve baptized people who had major spiritual revitalizations. And some may not bear fruit for years – we’re in process helping a few people find sustainable housing and work. In Soma, we’ve found an enthusiasm to see all these aspects of God’s kingdom grow in the city.

And downtown Indianapolis has both a lot of great things happening, and a lot of needed work. On one hand, there’s been a lot of generally-recognizable good happening in the downtown area over the last several years: economic development, people owning homes and neighborhoods. We live in a neighborhood that’s transitioning from being characterized by drug trafficking and prostitution to one with a stable, healthy population.

But on the other hand, there are still huge physical and spiritual needs in the city. We live down the street from a public school that may not be able to open again next fall; a number of schools in the city are failing, not able to serve their transient populations well. Our part of town has a lot of people who were left behind when the factories left Indianapolis, who have few economic prospects and little hope. And the population that is growing in the city is largely post-churched, loosely tied to a mainline church but with little knowledge of the heart of Christianity. There’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re glad to be part of that through Soma.

What we need

Those things being said, here’s what we need and how you could help.

  1. Prayer

We need people praying for God to work in the city; to guide me, my family, and my church deeper into reconciliation with him, and to make our work bear fruit.

I send out a monthly prayer letter to the people on my prayer team; if you’d like to join it, please email josephrheawrites@gmail.com to let me know and I’ll add you on!

  1. Giving

All told, we’re looking to raise $29,000 for this financial year (and probably the same amount for next). Any money that comes in over what I need in a year will go toward the next. You can email me with any questions you have on this, but the steps are:

  1. Go to our Giving Page and click either “Repeating Gift” or “One-Time Gift”
    1. (if you do “Repeating Gift,” it’ll have you set up an account, which takes an extra step)
  2. Select “Soma Downtown” for the congregation and “Interns and Residents” for the designation – that’s the fund that I get paid out of
  3. For a one-time gift, you’ll put your info in and that’s that; for a repeating gift, you can set it up monthly, annually, or whatever

Lastly, these gifts are tax-deductible; we’ll send a giving receipt to everyone who gave at the beginning of 2017.

Thanks for considering joining us in this season!

Image: painting by Indianapolis artist Kyle Ragsdale

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2 thoughts on “Why I’m raising support to work with Soma

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