Don’t toss aside the most recent mailing from Faith Lutheran Church. Pray over it. Our theme this year for Commitment Sunday, treatment November 22nd is, “Excel in the Grace of Giving.” Where are you on climbing to the top?
I am not so naïve to believe that what I write changes peoples’ behavior, or even gets read. So I’ll keep this short.
However, maybe, just maybe the words from the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit will CHANGE your behavior and heart as it did for the church at Corinth.
The church of Corinth was NOT a model congregation, in fact at times they were downright dysfunctional. Paul wrote to them as if he were parenting a teenager.
Now, I am not inferring that we are dysfunctional, not at all! In fact, we are excelling in many ways. We have a strong and friendly fellowship of sinners. Meaning that we know that we are in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. We have strong Life Groups, we are growing in the Word and prayer thanks to Barbara Marlin. We definitely excel in compassion, when you are told of a need you respond most generously. Our worship experience on a week to week basis is solid. We have a growing youth and family ministry, thanks to Pastor Tim. However, many of these things could disappear – overnight IF we do not EXCEL in our giving.
Paul uses the Macedonian churches as an example to the church of Corinth. “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.”
Did you hear that? “They even gave beyond their ability.” This year, we are going to need to give beyond our ability, and trust in God’s economy. And I believe that we can!
The two year Kingdom Dream Project of raising special funds to provide two years of salary for Pastor Tim Balfanz, a Youth and Family Minister, has ended. It is now time that his salary now comes directly out of the church budget. In order to have a reliable IT/Electronics system that is slightly below or equal to other offices we need to make a major investment (see informational article in Voice). Wayne Smith and Leen Intveld have invested their time and expertise to propose a realistic strategy. We too, have two powerful new outreach ministries to fund, our deaf interpreter and Right Now Media that helps in raising disciples for Christ. Staff have not had increases for about ten years.
I promised to wrap this up…there are three areas that we as a congregation really need to grow in – it is our giving, inviting, and leadership.
IF you are not TITHING (giving 10% of your income) NOW is the time! Churches smaller than us, have larger operating budgets. We need to increase our budget by $100,000 (most of which is Pastor Tim’s salary), per our Treasurer Corey Bogen’s research. Let me again rely on the words of Paul and what he said a few years ago to a church in Corinth:
“But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV
May God CHANGE our hearts – by giving yourself to the Lord and His will. When you fill out your Commitment Card, remember to EXCEL in this GRACE OF GIVING!