Good News - October 2023

COVER STORY 21 OctOber 2023 Good News • South Florida edition g r d “I think people are thinking more creatively about giving, and they've been exposed to some giving strategies that allow them to be more generous. For instance, giving out of appreciated assets as opposed to giving out of cash, which has tax advantages, puts more money to work, helps the donors and helps the charities,” said Forman. “Through Equip we’ve come alongside the local church to help disciple their people in generosity and develop leadership skills and with Unite, now all of a sudden we have pastors meeting together and they're viewing each other as co laborers in the mission of the gospel as opposed to competitors.” Cooperation is also being cultivated among nonprofits. Lisa May, executive director of Live the Life South Florida, a ministry that strengthens marriages and families through relationship education, said her involvement in a Convene group for nonprofits has provided opportunities to work together with other ministries that serve children and families, such as First Priority and 4KIDS. Boca Raton Community Church Pastor Bill Mitchell, who led a real estate business for 25 years and founded CityLead, facilitates separate Convene groups for CEOs and nonprofits. “It's really an incredible cohort of peers that comes together,” he said. While there is a spiritual element of prayer and devotion, Mitchell said the real genius of Convene is the presentation of an opportunity or challenge. As leaders share with the group, the other participants act as a board of directors giving recommendations to help them make good decisions in a godly way. “We’re all working together with some of the common issues and learning from each other, and it's going fantastic!” Mitchell added. As a pastor, Mitchell has also been involved in Church United, and said he feels NCF South Florida has had the most impact as a connector. “I talk to my friends and colleagues in other parts of the country, and they don’t have this collegiality; everybody kind of stays in their own lane, but we're saying, no, we're here to change the entire community. Maybe I can only do this part and you're doing that part, but let's all lock arms and do it together. And I think NCF is the impetus to put some wind under our wings and make it happen.” Susan Kassing, a current NCFSF Board Member, said she initially became involved after watching her husband John Kassing go through the Lifework Leadership class in 2014. “John would come home and tell me about the speakers and the motivation they left, how God was working in their lives and they were bold in their witness in the workplace and community, and sometimes he would be moved to tears, so I thought, I’ve just got to take this class. He was a living testimony to the power of Lifework.” Disaster response Since she became involved with NCFSF, Kassing said she has also seen a unity that has resulted in a cohesive response to disasters and financial needs, particularly after hurricanes and the recent 100-year flood. Early on Stepelton said, NCFSF established an angel relief fund that was instrumental in helping with hurricane relief in New Orleans that remains ongoing. For example, When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people were suffering from poor health, lost jobs, financial and emotional strain, the relationships developed with NCF givers, Church United, Lifework, and Mission Increase allowed them to hear of and respond to needs both within our community and abroad. In addition, three restaurant owners worked together to provide meals for those in need. After the Surfside condo collapse in 2021, NCF’s Disaster Relief and Crisis Fund was activated and over $100,000 was quickly raised and deployed to relief and recovery efforts for the victims’ families and first responders. Ministry partnerships provided a chaplaincy hub, meals and hydration for first responders as well as on-going trauma counseling for the victims’ families. Creative initiatives NCF South Florida has also inspired individuals to begin new ministries. For example, Former Miami Dolphins All-Pro Linebacker John Offerdahl went through Lifework Leadership in 2004 and served on the board of NCFSF from 2009 -2014. His involvement helped plant the seed for development of the Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine and Music Festival that has raised funds to assist with foster care and family homelessness through the Offerdahl Handoff Foundation and its subsidiary Home Team Advantage Restorative Housing. Lifework Leadership alum and former NCF relationship manager JoAnne Daudt, Esq. founded StrikeForce 421 with other women she met through Lifework Leadership. A community of pledge partners who pool their resources in order to have a greater impact, StrikeForce 421 is a giving circle whose partners believe in radical, life-changing generosity. Last year, StrikeForce 421 reached their God-sized goal of giving away their 1 Millionth Dollar to Christian ministries in South Florida, shining the light of Christ a little brighter in our region. Laurie Farquhar, who is a StrikeForce 421 board member and NCFSF President, said StrikeForce 421 also has an impact on the women personally. “They are experiencing the joy of giving in a whole new way…In some cases they’re volunteering at the ministry, there’s a sense of community, and it’s transformed their lives as well as the ministries they’re benefitting.” The impact of NCF South Florida is immeasurable. Their mission is mobilizing resources by inspiring biblical generosity so that ultimately every person is reached and restored through the love of Christ. Tchividjian illustrated that well when he said, “The wise men of old, at the apex of their God-sized adventure, presented their precious gifts to our Lord Jesus as an act of worship. Generosity is more than making a grant. Generosity is a response to our understanding of God’s greatest gift to us, His Son.” That’s the heart of NCF South Florida. Stephan Tchvidjian and John Offerdahl Lifework Leadership coaches Ed Kobel, President and COO, DeBartolo Development