Million Dollar Letter – CMN Women
Million Dollar Letter
By Ashley Randleman
Our executive pastor approached me last May to compose a letter that would be used in our church’s loan application process for 4.7 million dollars. Yes, that’s right, million.
I was honored to have been asked to compose such an important letter. Also terrified.
I informed my husband of the project and deadline and he teased me by saying, “Don’t mess it up!” I grinned, as that was exactly what I was saying to myself.
As a lead pastor, Jeremiah had become very accustomed to everything’s-on-the-line, we’re-all-in, there’s-no-turning-back type of decisions and the dollar signs that accompany them.
As for me, the homemaker, mother of four (who homeschools two), writer, and runner – I had not.
I was very much out of my comfort zone.
This wasn’t just journaling or composing a blog post anymore. This had much higher stakes, with real people involved! Not to mention future lives that would be forever changed.
Again, no pressure.
I felt in over my head, but I sat down at my computer to type anyway.
Strangely enough, when I started writing about my favorite person and his calling, anointing, and talent – all the “scary” rubbed off. As I continued to recap the journey of our family moving to Clinton, Iowa, to plant River Church five years ago, the 500+ words flowed right out of me.
Our church had grown from 70 people at Launch to hosting five services – and we just kept running out of room! The loan application letter was purposed for our investors to understand why we wanted to build a new 48,000 square foot building that would seat 1,000.
If I have learned anything in the five short years of this church planting thing, it’s that we need to continually ask ourselves why we do what we do. The answers to our “why?” should convict us and challenge us, regardless of if we are five Sundays in, five services in, five years in, or five locations in.
Our mission at River Church is to “lead people to an authentic, life-changing relationship with Jesus. Because of that, we are going to do as much as we can, for as long as we can, to reach as many people as we can – hence the bigger barn.
Now, our executive pastor could have asked someone else to write that million dollar letter. but for whatever reason, he asked me.
Yes, He asked me.
And because I knew it was something that God was asking me to do, I asked Him to give me the strength to do it.
There was a lot on the line, but when it came right down to it, it was cake. I stayed up late, composed the letter, checked for spelling and grammar errors, sent the email, and then went to bed.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks became months. Then, the news arrived that we had all been praying for – the loan went through!
We rode the emotions that come along with those everything’s-on-the-line, we’re-all-in, there’s-no-turning-back type of decisions. And the grin I had on my face only reflected feeling special to have played a part.
But God does that though. He takes unlikely, ordinary people and invites them into His story to accomplish His divine purposes – even the stay-at-home, mother of four, pastor’s wife who has a desire to be used by God through her writings.
So whatever it is God is asking you to do, remember that Philippians 4:13 says: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” – whether six zeroes are on the line or not.
Ashley Randleman is a pastor’s wife of 11 years and a mother of four (Nathan, Josiah, Lydia, and Titus). She and her husband, Jeremiah, planted River Church in February 2014. Ashley has a heart for the mothers and women in her life and church. She pours into them on a weekly basis from the comfort of her living room carpet over strong coffee and meaningful conversation. She looks forward to Date Night, running, and traveling and blogs about her lessons of life and motherhood at holdingtheplumbline.com.