Two weeks ago Element's board of directors voted in a specific recipient plan for "Bold As Love," our missional budgeting initiative. We decided to act retroactively, so not only will 60% of all future offerings to Element go back out the door to those in need, we began cutting checks to give away 60% of all we had in the bank, everything we'd saved in about a year of independent ministry.
Each Sunday evening during the announcement time for the next few weeks, I will be highlighting the different recipients of Bold As Love funds designated for our first quarter, and last night I began by profiling a local Nashville mission agency that we have helped out with in different ways since our days as BCC's young adult ministry.
Cottage Cove Urban Ministries is a fantastic ministry to at-risk kids (and their families) in the Wegewoood area of inner city Nashville. Their primary operation is an after-school program that, among lots of other things, helps kids with their homework, teaches them computer skills, offers arts and crafts classes, trains kids in spiritual formation and Bible memorization, mentors and counsels, and basically loves on some awesome kids.
After school is the prime time for trouble for kids in this demographic, and the loving, intentional ministry of Cottage Cove is really working at breaking the cycles of poverty, unemployment, drugs, crime, and gang involvement. They run some great programs (Christmas With Dignity comes to mind) and maintain a regular Sunday morning worship service for the neighborhood, and the tiny staff of 4* includes a family of 3 who have dedicated their lives to this mission.
If you're looking for a place that does a lot of good for the local "least of these" and the glory of God, maybe you could look into some ways to help.
Element has up to this point done several on-site service projects with Cottage Cove -- yard work, playground maintenance, cleaning, painting, working at the Christmas With Dignity store, etc. -- and made some financial contributions, but beginning last week we sent Cottage Cove a check for 25% of everything we had, and for the foreseeable future, 15% of all giving to Element will go to Cottage Cove. We are just so excited about what they do and how they do it.
And I am very proud of the Element community for getting behind this effort to love our neighbors as ourselves with our money as well as our time. I am honored to be a part of a community that hopes to be as bold as love.
* This is staff. Cottage Cove could not do all it does without the steady help of volunteers and occasional interns.