Today’s post is a little different. We had our annual voter’s meeting yesterday and I decided I wanted to give a brief presentation after we had elected officers and passed a budget. Our situation is probably not too different from many other congregations in that we have greater expenses and less numbers of people than when those expenses began to grow. I really struggled with this presentation but felt it needed to be addressed. I’ve posted what I presented below.
Today I want to speak about 2 items. The first is finances. The second is need.
- It should be pointed out that our offering projection is optimistic and that means we need to talk about money. The truth is that God’s people always need to talk about money whether they are in want or plenty. My problem is that I don’t want to talk about it. You could add it to the list of rude dinner topics. Politics, religion and money.
- I could also claim noble reasons for not wanting to discuss it. I’m not concerned with money, but with the heart. But doesn’t Jesus say that where our treasure is, our hearts will be? Or that it’s a conflict of interest since clearly the offerings that are given go at least in part to providing my livelyhood. But Paul says a worker is due his wages.
- No, the truth is I don’t want to talk about money for the same reasons I don’t like confronting sin, or broaching the faith with friends who don’t know Jesus. And that’s why we need to talk about it. But not all at once. It is an issue that comes with much confusion and misunderstanding. Just speaking about it today will not be sufficient.
- Instead, my goal is to be more direct in teaching when we have our stewardship services, which happen every seven weeks. I also hope to work through our existing networks and activities to teach the whole counsel of God on discipleship. In other words, I’m not looking to add a program or study on the topic as if it is a separate issue from our whole life in Jesus. God does not call us to divide up our lives, but to live life to the full in His kingdom.
- Need – you’ll note this doesn’t come under finances
- “God so loved the world…” What is this famous quote saying? That God located Himself in His creation in order to redeem the world from sin and death. All throughout the Scriptures God locates Himself with prophets and people, tabernacles and temples, and all of it points to His very coming in Jesus the Christ. After his death and resurrection, at his ascension, Jesus sent his disciples into the world with this life giving message of hope.
- Through the Holy Spirit God has located Himself in each of us, and gathers us together in this location. This building is NOT the church. We could lose it tomorrow and we would have lost nothing that we need. And yet, God has provided this space, this location in the midst of this community. He has placed you where He wants you for the sake of His mission.
- Do we need this property? No. Do we need more people for the sake of this space? No. The truth is we don’t need new people to carry out the ministry of the Gospel, but people need Christ. We have many people in this community with needs that they recognize and the greatest need that they often don’t. God has located us here for a reason, to bear witness to His Son.
- We have some exciting opportunities opening up with the schools down the street. But we have even more opportunities that arise in our everyday lives. We can’t central plan these. So my encouragement to you is to hold fast to Jesus. Be in the Word. Fellowship. Worship. Pray. Our needs have been met in Jesus and we have been called to share our hope with those in need.