Help STR Equip More Ambassadors - Mentoring Letter December 2014

Challenge Gift Opportunity: Help STR equip even more Christian Ambassadors

December 1, 2014

Sometimes innocuous, seemingly inconsequential things have the power to change the course of history. 

Did you know, for example, that for 150 years Christmas celebrations were banned in New England? And in the mid-17th century, Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas festivities in the British Isles? Violators were arrested, fined, and jailed.

Hard to imagine. Doesn’t sound much like “Peace on earth, goodwill towards men,” does it? In the 19th century, though, three quirks of history turned it all around.  

Do you know why godly leaders banned Christmas for so long? Do you know what apparently incidental events changed everything? I do. I’ll give you a hint: a marriage, a poem, and a carol. And it’s a fascinating tale.

You’ll find the details in Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, as well as pages of intriguing detail on topics from carols to candy canes, from Handel to holly. I want to give the book to you and your family as thanks for your gift this month.  

Your generous gift to STR as 2014 comes to a close will help ensure we end the year strong, able to embrace the opportunities of 2015 with confidence. Each person matters to us. Every gift makes a difference. We know how much we need you. It’s why we’re so grateful for your support, and are happy to send you a token of our appreciation.

But there’s another reason I want to send this book. When you read about the remarkable rehabilitation of Christmas, I think you’ll be challenged. I was. Like I said, sometimes seemingly insignificant things have the power to change the course of history. In this case, a notable couple sets an example (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, here), others follow their lead, the tide turns, and lives are transformed.

At STR, we’ve seen this happen time and again. Many have told us even the small changes they’ve made as ambassadors made a huge difference in their lives. Likewise, we post a blog, record a radio show, mail a mentoring letter, produce a new product—or any of a dozen ordinary tasks we faithfully perform each day doing our job. Later we discover that what seemed like a ripple to us had a tidal wave impact on others. 

And, when leaders offer an example—even a challenge—to those around them, and folks begin to follow, magnificent things can happen. That’s why I’m so excited about a recent development.

Several of our dedicated supporters, all firmly committed to God’s work through STR, have just given $110,000 as a Challenge Gift to inspire every friend of STR to give generously by December 31, with a goal of equaling or exceeding their gift. They are setting the example, and they’re inviting you to follow their lead.

The timing is critical for us, since we’re closing in on the end of 2014. We’re praying God will honor the generosity of our Challenge Gift supporters by multiplying their impact through gifts from friends like you. Their kindness has provided a great start towards our end-of-year goal. But vital ministry hangs in the balance without your help.

Just to give you a glimpse of the possibilities, two years ago, 400 young people attended our first reTHINK Student Apologetics Conference in Southern California. Last year 600 showed up. For reTHINK 2014, nearly 1,100 young people—the majority high school students—packed the venue wall to wall. The atmosphere was electric.

We are committed to raising up the next generation of courageous and confident—but gracious—Christian ambassadors, so we’re planning to take this strategy “on the road.”  We already have interest from churches in five major US cities wanting to host reTHINK conferences.  

For this dream—and a host of others in the planning stage—we need both your prayers and your financial support. Despite mounting opposition, we are committed to helping you and others contend for the faith.

We have big plans for 2015. But there are big obstacles—you know that. If we fall short of our goal this December, we will be hindered. That’s why we’re so thrilled these ministry friends have stepped up with their Challenge Gift.

I encourage you to respond to this challenge. When you do, be sure to ask for Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, and I’ll send it to you as promised. I hope it will become a special part of your family’s holiday celebrations.  

Remember, every dollar you give by December 31 will move us that much closer to meeting the $110,000 Challenge amount. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your partnership and prayers. On behalf of the entire STR team, I wish you a Happy Christmas and a new year filled with all of God’s blessings.

Thankful for you at Christmas,

Gregory Koukl

P.S.  Please send your tax-deductible gift today to help us write more stories—the most important ones—those of confident, courageous, gracious Christians standing for truth in the face of increasing opposition. Thank you!

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Greg Koukl