Last Sunday, several people texted in questions about HopeFirst. Because we didn’t get to all the questions, here are some answers.
Q: Who decided on HopeFirst as an initiative for Grace?
A: In 2015, Pastor Dan was asked to speak at memorial for Jane Aubrey, who had passed away from an accidental drug overdose. That encounter opened his eyes to the problem of addiction in our city, which resulted in the Jane Aubrey House as our Year-end gift. God blessed that initiative, which led to the idea of HopeFirst. Leaders prayed it through, then presented to a wider circle of leaders. Revisions were made based on feedback. Then came more prayer, then a plan. Elders approved that plan, and HopeFirst was a go.
Q: Will HopeFirst be the focus of 2017?
A: HopeFirst will be a part of what we do in 2017, but the gospel will be the focus. Everything we do is to ultimately point to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have just finished a heavy focus on HopeFirst, as we just completed the initial launch. Now, communication will be much less focused, but we will celebrate milestones, and keep you up to date on where we are and what the plan is as houses are built, etc.
Q: If you exceed your goal, what will you do with the extra money?
A: What a great problem that would be! We would continue to give half the money away for building treatment homes for people struggling with addiction, and use the other half to pour into more room for families at Grace.
Q: How much will each house cost and how many residents will occupy each house? Will there be children there?
A: We expect the cost of each house to be around $300,000 and have budgeted another $200,000 for remodel and support for the first three months of operation. These numbers are estimates as the market is unpredictable, but we will release the money for purchase in $500,000 increments. So far, there are no plans for children to be in the homes.
Q: Will the homes be run with a biblical teaching and support?
A: The homes will be managed by Ridge House, which is a faith founded but secular organization. They are a federally funded program, so they cannot require faith-based teaching. However, they are excited to work with Celebrate Recovery to give residents options to go to CR meetings, where Jesus will be proclaimed as the one true hope against addiction. They will also support pastors and leaders entering the homes and talking with residents.
Q: Will we see an itemized list of what the money was used for from HopeFirst? Number of houses, parking lot cost, etc.?
A: We will have this information available for those who wish to see it. There will be a complete accounting for all moneys spent.
Q: Originally you said we needed to raise and pledge $6 million to get the bank construction financing and go ahead with HopeFirst. We are almost 1 million short today yet in this week’s letter Dan said we are just weeks away from our first home purchase. That seems like you are breaking your first promise.
A: Actually, our promise was that we would wait to see what the results were before moving forward with the building. All along, the first priority was that, no matter how much we raised, we would move forward with giving half away, in $500,000 increments, to fight addiction. We are not breaking, but keeping our promise.
Q: What is the estimate of amount needed for HopeFirst from each church member?
A: Great question, but hard to answer. As in Exodus 35, we believe God calls all of us to give according to what we have. Some gave gold, some gave goat hair. God calls all of us to give at different levels, but we believe He calls all of us to give.
Q: For those that come on Monday’s to Celebrate Recovery, is there transportation available?
A: Ridge House will provide that transportation.
Q: How many people will live in each home? Will there be a Host couple that lives there indefinitely?
A: Most houses will be gender specific and there will be House Manager in each home 24/7. Each house will accommodate at least 6 people in recovery in addition to the House Manager. Ridge House also has a staff of counselors and other support roles who will work with the residents as the move toward recovery.
Q: What does the bible say about debt? Would you advise your church to give to HopeFirst if they’re in debt?
A: The bible neither expressly condones or forbids debt. It does say to pay your debts, and forgive your debtors. We certainly wouldn’t want you to go into debt to give to HopeFirst, but if you can manage your monthly debt payments, and give, or give up something you love to give in another way, that would be awesome!
Q: Only one quarter of grace families have contributed to HopeFirst. How are you reaching out to the other three quarters and listening to their concerns?
A: One way is by writing this blog. Another is face to face and phone calls. We are answering everyone who asks! If you have a question, email HopeFirst@gracechurchreno.org and we will do our best to answer you!
Remember that we all on a journey toward Jesus, and we aren’t all in the same place on that journey. One thing’s for sure, generosity moves you closer on that road to who God wants you to be!