What does it mean to be “all in”?

For children learning “The Hokey Pokey,” there’s a gradual progression of learning 


 to put your left arm in 

 and then your right arm in 

until you finally get around to 

“put your whole self in.”

When approaching a chilly swimming pool,


we may dip a toe in first, 

then a leg 

until we finally convince ourselves 

that the only way to embrace 

the bracing water is 

to jump “all in.”

Likewise, in the waters of baptism, 


we go “all in” 

to witness that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ 

covers all of us, 

from our toes to the top of our head. 

Nothing is held back 

from our commitment to follow Jesus as Savior.

To be “all in” is to invest yourself fully, 

to give it everything you’ve got, 

to hold nothing back.

What about church, then?

This fall, we’re asking everyone 

who is part of the Wilshire community of faith

—whether you’re a long-time member, new member, 

potential member or part of the “Wilshire Anonymous”—

to get “all in” as we move toward 2020. 

We’ve got a lot of work to do for the kingdom of God, 

and it’s going to take all of us working together 

to make a difference.


Imagine a boat floating down the river with a crew. 


Some people at the front 

are rowing hard. 

Some people in the middle 

have one leg hanging over the side dragging the water.

A few other people in the back 

are rowing urgently 

in the other direction. 

That’s the image we got from our 

Gallup Member Engagement survey. 

And it’s typical of most every church in America today.


Will you commit to be “all in” as we together seek to be a bold witness to the way of Christ in our time?

What are you asking me to do?

To be “all in” means at least four things: 

(1) To be present. We’re better as a community of faith when we’re together. When we gather in worship, in Bible study, in fellowship. Will you commit to be present within the body of Christ as regularly as possible?

(2) To be growing. When Christians sing the old hymn “All to Jesus, I Surrender,” we mean we’re willing to be shaped by the study of God’s word and the Spirit of God moving among us. We mean we’re willing to stay limber in our thinking and listen always for the still, small voice of God. Think about how you might grow in faith between now and 2020.

(3) To be serving. To be “all in” might mean to curl up and hide from all that scares us. When we’re “all in” a storm shelter, we’re tucked away and hunkered down. For the Christian, to be “all in” means we’re ready to put ourselves in action and not hold back. Where will you give yourself in service to others in the next three years?

(4) To be giving. You knew that had to be part of it, right? Scripture rightly teaches that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 


How can we be “all in” if we hold back the financial 

blessings that have come to us from God’s own hand? 

To be present, growing and serving but not giving 

is like dragging your leg over the edge of the canoe 

and wondering why the boat isn’t moving faster.

OK, about that giving part …

Through our Vision 20/20 plan, we created a 

Unified Budget 

that has been a big success. 

But along the way, we’ve forgotten that this exciting funding tool only works if we commit to give regularly and strategically. Our bold goals were based on giving at the same levels we previously gave to the combination of budget, capital campaigns and special offerings—but without capital campaigns or special offerings.


The Unified Budget works when we’re “all in”—in fact, when we’re so “all in” that our generosity overflows to do more good than ever before.

Your money is used with integrity to keep the church running, to feed hungry people in Dallas and around the world, to support missionaries at home and abroad, to teach children and youth, to build beloved community, to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to create transformational ministries. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

When you give to the Unified Budget, 

you do a world of good 

through a single contribution. 

So what am I being asked to do?

We’re asking everyone in the Wilshire community to make a three-year commitment that will begin in the fall of 2017 and run through 2020. Which of these statements best describes what you can do? And it’s OK to check more than one box.

  • I will begin giving a regular offering to the Unified Budget.
  • I will increase my regular giving by a certain percentage or a certain dollar amount every year over the next three years.
  • I will begin tithing or will move toward the tithe incrementally over the next three years. (In case you’re wondering, when we say “tithe,” we’re talking about the biblical ideal of giving 10 percent of your income to the work of the Lord each year.)
  • I will begin giving beyond the tithe.
  • Over the next three years, I will continue my regular giving and make at least one additional gift to a Wilshire cause, such as the Building Reserve Fund, the Missions Plus Fund or the Pathways to Ministry Fund.
  • I will commit to a legacy gift by including Wilshire in my will or by creating a trust or end-of-life plan that allows my generosity to continue into the future.

Do I have to fill out a pledge card?

Nope. We don’t want to know any dollar amounts. And we don’t want your name on a card. That’s between you and God. 


But we would like you to tell us what you intend to do 

to be “all in” between now and 2020. 

Use the “I’m All In” card 

to indicate which of the statements 

best describes your plan, 

and that will be an encouragement to us 

as we tally the ways we’re going to work together 

in the next three years. 


Wilshire member "All In" testimonies: