The Christmas season gets us thinking about home. As we make our holiday travel plans, many of us wax nostalgic. We remember our family’s Christmas traditions (maybe spiced with gingerbread or peppermint); we may think of presents and pajamas and the happiness of everyone being at home. Whether you’re a Christmas movie junkie or not, there’s something magical to most of us about Christmas, and that magic feels tied to our homes.

In a sense, the Christian season of Advent is about home as well. Advent – which includes weeks leading up to Christmas as well as Christmas itself – is on the one hand a celebration of God’s coming to make a home among us in the person of Jesus Christ:“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message). 

On the other hand, Advent is a time of longing for God to come back and transform this broken world into the home it was supposed to be. Not everyone has magical memories of Christmas: in fact, the outward “cheer” of the season can make the pains of poverty, loss, or relational brokenness even sharper. Advent tempers the cheer of the Western Christmas season by embracing the fact that our world still remains broken: God hasn’t come back to finish his work, even though he’s started it. Just as we live with one foot in the “Already” of God’s Kingdom come to earth and the “Not Yet” of the future resurrection, we use this season both to celebrate God’s coming and to long for him to return and finish his work. Our real “home” is still yet to come.

Recommended Resources

If you’re looking for a personal Advent devotional this year, we highly recommend John Piper’s Good News of Great Joy. It’s a free eBook you can download in a number of formats from Desiring God’s website.

And if you’d like a devotional to walk through with your kids, here are two options we love:

  1. Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski
  2. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

If you'd like to give to the offering online, we have an "Advent offering" category in our giving page.

For this year’s Advent offering, we’re working within the idea of “home.” Because in between our celebration of the past and our longing for the future, our homes are one of the most powerful platforms we have for seeing God’s kingdom grow. We want to focus on making Soma’s “homes” a more hospitable place for visitors; we also bless both our own home of Indianapolis and empower our members to use their homes to serve others.

Our goal this year, between both congregations, is $75,000. Every dollar we get will be split evenly between “home ministry” within Soma’s walls and ministry outside our walls. Below you’ll find a list of where exactly we’ll put our money towards; each entry has either a little bit about the local partner we’d like to help or a description of the project we hope to fund. 

(note: “Wishlist goals” for our projects give the total amount that project ultimately needs, not the amount we plan to give to it from our offering!)

Soma’s Home

1. Soma Downtown facility seed money

As much as we love the facility Soma Downtown is renting, we ultimately want to own a building that we can use for hospitality all through the week. We’ll put part of our money toward a fund we can use as a down payment on a permanent facility when that opportunity presents itself.

Wishlist goal: $10K

2. Soma Midtown: resurfaced parking lot

As unsexy as it sounds, parking lots have a great deal to do with hospitality, and Soma Midtown’s needs to be resurfaced. We’d frankly rather not have visitors (or members!) relive the winter of 2013-14 by navigating a minefield of potholes.

Wishlist goal: $60K

3. Soma Midtown opportunity fund

We’d also like to put some money toward future opportunities for the ever-cozier Soma Midtown. Whether that’s facility expansion, debt retirement, or a down payment for a new space, we want to be ready to make Midtown as hospitable as possible for her congregation.

Wishlist goals: Facility expansion $25K, debt retirement $250K

Our Home in Indy:

1. Local ministry partners

Part of our offering will be given to some of our local ministry partners, according to their needs. You can read more about the six specific partners we’re looking to help below.

Total fund goal: $25K

a. Young Life (Arsenal Tech, Pike, and Broad Ripple high schools)

The vision of Young Life is for every adolescent to meet Jesus Christ and to follow Him. From club and camp to Campaigners and other activities, teenagers will have blast laughing, trying new things, and being with their friends. Leaders are committed to being involved with kids' lives: from supporting them at their sporting events to listening to them talk about what's important to them. The leaders help kids consider the direction of their lives, and they offer hope for their future.

b. Outreach, Inc.

Outreach is a faith-based nonprofit organization that reaches out to homeless young men and women (14-24) with the compassion of Jesus Christ. Their goal is to equip and empower these at-risk young people to achieve stability and life transformation.

c. Life Centers

Life Centers is dedicated to affirming the value of life by providing compassionate care to women facing unplanned pregnancies. Pregnancy centers provide free, confidential services including pregnancy tests, ultrasound exams, one-on-one counseling, and post-abortive support. They also meet the material needs of expecting mothers by providing maternity and baby clothing, diapers, bottles and other baby items. At the heart of their life-saving mission is a passion to show the love of Jesus. They believe that the hope found in Jesus Christ is the greatest hope for those facing pregnancy decisions.

d. LYN House

Love Your Neighbor (LYN) House serves the near eastside by building Christ-centered partnerships with neighbors to alleviate economic, relational, and spiritual poverty. LYN House welcomes local residents living in poverty who have emotional, educational and physical needs. Above all, LYN House desires to be a place that connects neighbors with the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. 

e. Chosen Ministries

Chosen Ministries assists young single parents by providing sustainable solutions that help them thrive as people and as parents. Chosen Ministries comes alongside single parents by teaching life skills, creating a long-term support system, developing beneficial business partners, providing career counseling, and offering financial literacy classes. 

f. Local church planting - North American Mission Board

The North American Mission Board exists to work with churches, associations and state conventions as a missional force to impact North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.

2. Ministry grants for Soma attenders

To help our people be hospitable to others, we’re creating a fund from which Soma members and regular attenders can request grants (up to $1000) with which to bless others. This may be by advocating for an organization you work with; it may be requesting funds for a block party; but we want to help our people help others in the city.

A link to the grant request form can be found here; if you have additional questions about the grants, you can email Phil or Megan.

Total fund goal: $12.5K