The 2020 “Fish & Loaves” Grant Initiative has ended. Thanks to all who participated!
Article by: Sarah Koontz
Today we are excited to announce a brand new “Fish & Loaves” Grant we received to cultivate new monthly donors for Living by Design Ministries.
The grantmakers desire to help us inspire families to faithfully invest in the mission and vision of our free Bible study ministry, and have offered up to $5,000 in additional funding to help us meet this goal.
I will share the grant details later in the article, but first, I want to share a personal story and issue a challenge for the upcoming year.
Living by Design Ministries has absolutely and completely transformed my family life.
As a writer, I rarely struggle to find words to express myself clearly. But in this instance, I confess that I am at a loss for words sufficient to express the depth of gratitude I feel when I consider all God has done for my family since we started this ministry.
The most impactful aspect for me personally is the preeminent role the Word of God has taken in our home. The Bible is no longer just a book to us, it is our divine handbook for all aspects of earthly life.
It is our compass.
It is our heavenly GPS.
It is our prized possession.
Each member of our household contributes to Living by Design in a unique way. And every single person in my family is vitally important to this ministry.
Even though my daughters are still young, their struggles, stories, and ideas infuse my writing with substance and passion.
This ministry is my family’s mission field; it is also our battlefield.
Dwell in the Word to Combat the Enemy’s Lies
When I release a new study, it is my deepest desire to equip Christian women to raise up the next generation of Bible-believing Christian soldiers.
There is an ongoing spiritual war for the hearts and minds of the next generation. Satan has targeted the family unit, the universal church, and society as a whole.
His lies are pervasive, destructive, and debilitating.
Far too many Christian families are ill-equipped for this battle. It’s almost as though we’ve taken for granted the power we possess.
We’ve left our only offensive weapon, the Absolute Truth of God’s Word, to collect dust on the shelf while attempting to respond to the crisis in our own strength.
The Word of God is a spring of living waters. It is filled with wise instruction, practical truth, and godly perspective.
There is joy, hope, peace, and power waiting for us when we dwell in the Word.
We must make time to study it. We must create space to read it aloud with our families. We must teach our children why the Word of God is their greatest gift and their most powerful weapon.
But we cannot stop there! We must teach them not to be ashamed to tell people about our Lord Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:7-9 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.”
Not only do we want to raise children who are committed to the gospel, but we also want to teach them the importance of contributing to God’s work around the globe.
We do this by modeling a biblical lifestyle, extending God’s love and grace to others, and establishing a family mission to advance the gospel.
Dwell in the Word to Transform Your Family Culture
As women, we have significant influence over the atmosphere of our home and our family priorities.
If we want to raise our children to love the Lord and live by the Word, we must be proactive rather than reactive in our parenting.
When we make Bible study a priority in our lives, it impacts our outlook and transforms our character.
As we learn to walk in obedience to God’s Word, we discover that He does have a plan and a purpose for us. With His divine strength and guidance, we can have an eternal impact on our loved ones.
For my family, the transformation has been gradual. It started with me, but it didn’t stop with me!
God has given me wisdom, insight, and patience. He has equipped me to teach my children how to walk in His ways, rather than follow after the world’s ways.
And it all started with a personal commitment to begin my day with five minutes of Bible study.
Just five minutes was all I could manage at first.
After a few months, I bumped it up to 10-15 minutes. From there, my love for the Word grew, and my desire to dwell in it increased.
And somewhere along the way, my husband and children decided to make God’s Word a priority in their lives as well.
God has graciously given me the ability to understand and apply His Word, and I find deep joy in helping others do the same.
First, my family, and then yours!
Dwell in the Word to Make an Eternal Difference
Friend, if you want God to show up in your life and reshape you into His image, take a step in His direction in 2021.
Here are three things you can do to dwell in the Word and make the gospel message a priority in your family life during the upcoming year.
1 – Commit to DWELL in the Word daily. We have created a free year-long study that will equip and empower you to spend time in the Bible everyday. Just 5-15 minutes a day is all it takes to transform your life completely. There are many ways to complete this study, so figure out what works best for you and enjoy the process of establishing a daily Bible study habit.
2 – Invite your children to read the Bible with you often. Whether they are near or far, young or old, every family can benefit from spending time in the Word together each day. This includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! Read the Word aloud together and discuss its practical impact on your daily lives. If you cannot gather in person, utilize free digital resources like Zoom, Facebook chat, Marco Polo, or Voxer to build connections and strengthen community. If you don’t have family of your own to study with, create a virtual family to encourage and walk alongside.
3 – Choose a Bible-centered ministry to support regularly. The things we choose to invest our hard-earned money in are the things we value most. Studying the Bible is our greatest privilege and something we must never take for granted. Sadly, many around the globe do not have access to the resources they need to study and apply the Bible to their lives. This is the reason why we provide all our Bible study resources free of charge and make them available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. When you invest in a ministry like ours, you are helping families, who could not otherwise afford it, gain access to high-quality Bible study materials without worrying about the cost.
The 2020 “Fish & Loaves” Grant Initiative has ended. Thanks to all who participated!
Your Small Monthly Donation Makes a Big Difference!
The “Fish & Loaves” Grant is inspired by Matthew 14:13-21. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus feeds 5,000+ people with just five loaves and two fish.
Our God is able to take our meager offerings and multiply them to meet the needs of others. And there is no greater joy on this earth than being an active participant in God’s provision for His people.
The grantmakers understand that we have immediate financial needs, and also desire the long-term stability that faithful monthly donors can offer a ministry. For this reason, they have offered up to $5,000 to be used as a 20% match on the first 12 months of any recurring monthly gifts received by December 31, 2020.
- A pledge for $10 a month generates $24 in grant money.
- A pledge for $20 a month generates $48 in grant money.
- A pledge for $30+ a month generates $96 in grant money.
And the best part is that the grant money will be paid at the end of this year!
To maximize this grant opportunity, we are seeking 75 families from our community of 15,000+ who are willing to commit to investing $10, $20, or $30 a month in this ministry through December 2021.
Imagine if each member of your family put a quarter in a jar every time you sat down and read the Bible together in 2021! Every time you study, you would be setting aside money to help others study too.
You will be collecting fish and loaves for Living by Design Ministries, and inviting God to multiply our gifts for His glory and the edification of His people.
What a blessing; what a gift.
Gillian from South Africa writes: At the end of last year, I was struggling a lot in my relationship with God. I was all over the place with no commitment to my quiet time, feeling it was more of a chore on a “to-do-list” than a relationship.
Then I saw the DWELL360 study being advertised on Instagram – at first, I thought 360 days, are you serious?? But I challenged myself to commit to this study, and I don’t regret it for one minute! Without my Bible study time, I’m not equipped to take on the day’s challenges.
During the pandemic, it seems that everything has changed! Families are struggling financially; many are losing jobs and having difficulty paying their bills. When you don’t have sufficient income to support your household, it’s difficult to justify spending money on Bible studies. And yet, the one thing that remains the same is the steadfast Word of God!
I have completed several Living by Design studies this year, and they have helped me learn how to dwell in the Word. They taught me how to draw close to Him and have a real relationship with Him. And then, of course, I have to mention the Saturday SOULfood e-mails! Some days I think God has sent me an email directly from heaven because it speaks to my heart or circumstance.
This ministry has gotten me through the pandemic. It helped me keep my eyes fixed, not on my circumstances, but on the One who reigns over all circumstances! For that, I want to personally thank every person who supports this ministry financially. Thank you for feeding the sheep through your Bible studies and sacrificing to make sure they are available for free. I pray that you will be blessed and God will honor your faithfulness to Him.
Thank you for prayerfully considering participating in this opportunity. We trust that God will guide and direct you as you decide how to respond to the challenge laid forth in today’s article.
Whatever you decide, I hope and pray that you choose to make God’s Word and God’s work a priority in 2021.