2020 is behind us, and what an interesting year it was!
In the early days of 2020, the Lord gave me six specific areas to focus our efforts on in the next year.
I drew a chart of these focus areas on the whiteboard in my office and kept it there for the next 12 months. Despite the unexpected nature of our past year, I’m pleased to share that we made major progress in all six of these areas.
Here’s what the Lord had us focus on and the results we achieved:
Build a Community of Writers
In the coming year, we feel the Lord leading us to establish a wider footprint. This past year, I believe the Lord was leading us to create a deeper relationships with a slowly expanding group of writers.
To that end we built Facebook group which now has 184 members.
We also expanded our Arche Year program, and it now includes 213 students.
And we built a close-knit, intimate mentorship and discipleship Cohort with six students. Not just the work, but the friendships and discipleship I see happening in this group fills my heart with joy.
We’re still a long ways away from the $1 million we need for full funding of our facility, but we did get extremely close to the goal the Lord gave us over the past calendar year.
I heard the Lord calling us to raise $200,000, and our total fundraising increased by $197,000! That’s pretty close!
We are now actively recruiting students for our full-time program. As this is the first year of the program, we built all of this from scratch.
We built a secure web-based application platform.
We built an infrastructure for students to learn more about the school and obtain more information, including a Virtual Tour.
In addition to growing Arche Year (our part-time online program) to more than 200 students, we also expanded and improved the curriculum this year. We revised and rewrote the complete curriculum based on feedback, observations, and results from students in the previous year.
We have also written, produced, and distributed over 100 pages of workbook materials for the students in these classes.
We were pleased with last year’s Arche Year cohort, but the program continues to improve and we’re excited to see what this year’s students will produce.
We continue to plug away on our building and have done lots of small jobs. Most importantly, in 2020 we completely replaced the roof and we replaced the subfloors on the first two floors. The space is now ready for build-out for our full-time students.
Thank you to so many volunteers who gave up a tremendous number of hours to help us!
We also met with all of the pertinent city and county officials to ensure that our project is above board and on the right track.
One of our favorite things about this ministry is the vibrant community of individuals who have come alongside of it, contributing their time, talents, and treasure to this mission.
It’s important to us that we serve that community as we do our best to grow it.
Over the past year, we sent out 88 email updates to all of our supporters, as well as countless individual emails, thank you cards, text messages, and prayers.
In addition to the emails, we also served this community on social media (including live prayer calls for the first 40 days of the pandemic), and we held monthly open houses and live online events.
And of course, these were just the big items. We also accomplished hundreds of small tasks and projects, and a few big ones, like the Zanesville Pumpkin Auction.
It’s amazing to see how God works with us and incorporates us into His plans.
Sometimes we want to dream too small and God has to grow our vision. Other times we want to plan according to our agenda, and God graciously reels us back in.
In our case, I think it’s a little bit of both. God, in his providence and foreknowledge, knew not only what we should accomplish, but what we could accomplish, and He dictated these goals accordingly.
He knew of Coronavirus and He set our sights correctly.
There is still so much to do to prepare for our full-time students. As we move into the new year, I asked the Lord what we should be focusing on. I believe His answer was to simply give Him each day, to listen to His voice each morning and accomplish what He puts in front of us.
That’s almost harder. But I know that we can’t possibly plan and orchestrate all of the pieces for this launch. We need His supernatural intervention.
So we will gladly take this one day at a time to follow His lead, trusting that every piece will come together in its proper time.