Stewardship Campaign Invites Us to Consider How We Are Called to Serve

Written by Matt Futhey, Stewardship Chair with Pastor Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

The theme for this year’s stewardship campaign is “Building for Mission: People, Place and Purpose.” We will be emphasizing this theme over the next six weeks as we consider how we, as disciples of Jesus, are called to give of our time, talent and treasure to serve God’s mission.

building for missionThe Stewardship Team decided on the overall theme of “building” because it looks to the future, suggests a work in progress, and calls for action on our part. Further, we chose to focus in three areas: how we build people of faith and a place for worship, fellowship and hospitality, for the purpose of fulfilling God’s mission.

As in the past, the Stewardship Campaign will be launched with a letter to our members the week of Oct. 8 including a Time and Talent Survey and financial pledge card for 2019. On Sunday, Oct. 14, I will give a brief talk before our service on the overall campaign. The next three Sundays, the following members have been invited to share their thoughts in temple talks:

Oct. 21: Tracy Goings will talk about building up people of faith. Tracy has shown great faith in helping wherever she is needed, especially in our learning ministry. She has been asked to give a faith statement on why she volunteers for kids’ activities, and how that has impacted our church as a whole.

Oct. 28: Stu Bell, our Property Team chair, will speak about how volunteers from our congregation have worked to build our place by donating their time and talent to help construct the columbarium in addition to fixing minor issues within the church building.

Nov. 4: Dick Tabb will talk about the importance of knowing and following God’s purpose as we carry out our ministries.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, we’ll hold a “Ministry Fair” during Fellowship Hour at which each ministry team will have a display table illustrating what they do to fulfill God’s mission. We are asking that pledge cards and Time & Talent Surveys be returned by this Sunday. We will have a receptacle for them in the narthex.

Our 2018 fall stewardship campaign will culminate Sunday, Nov. 11, with a catered lunch served by your council. More details to come on that!
At the heart of “stewardship” is the belief that everything we have comes from and belongs to God and we are simply “stewards” appointed to manage these gifts. Please listen to our speakers, read the materials, attend the Ministry Fair and prayerfully consider how God is calling you to invest your time, talent and treasure as, together, we build for God’s Mission.

Church: A Place to Become Closer to God

Written by Rev. Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

Our Synod Bishop John Roth recently sent out an email telling about an article posted by the Pew Research Center entitled “Why Americans Go (and Don’t Go) to Religious Services.”

hands to JesusAccording to the research results, the leading reason adults in the U.S. cite for choosing to attend religious services is “to become closer to God.” That reason was selected by 81% of the church-going respondents, well outstripping the next most selected answers. Roughly two-thirds say they attend religious services to give their children a moral foundation, to become better people, and for comfort in times of trouble or sorrow.

The new survey was conducted online Dec. 4 to 18, 2017, among a nationally representative sample of 4,729 adults on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

Bishop Roth went on to say, “If this Pew research is accurate, it stands to reason that churches are likely to shrink in size if that which church attenders are looking for above anything else (‘to become closer to God’) is not a priority of their congregation.” But then he pointed out that we are not to set our priorities based on people’s desires, but on God’s purposes.

“So,” the Bishop continued, “the first question for those of us who are thinking through the implications of this Pew research is not ‘How do we provide what people say they are looking for?’ The first question is, ‘Where does the goal of people becoming closer to God fit in God’s mission for the church’?”

According to Bishop Roth, the answer is: not only does “becoming closer to God” fit with God’s mission, it also aligns very well with our theology as ELCA Lutherans. He cites 2 Corinthians 5:19 as one of many Biblical texts that reveal God’s desire for us to be close: “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to God’s own self, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”

As Lutheran Christians, we are all about claiming and proclaiming the good news of God’s grace by which we are saved through faith in Christ. When we receive God’s grace, forgiveness and new life in Christ, we are brought close to God. The barrier of sin that separates us is broken.

I love the idea of Christ Lutheran Church being a place where people grow closer to God – of our congregation being a people who help each other grow closer to God. I actually think that does happen here and that’s why we continue to draw new people.

Some good questions to ponder in this regard are:
 What are the specific things we do that strengthen our relationship with God in Christ and how can we do more of those?
 What are the obstacles that tend to separate us from God and how can we help minimize those?
 How do we communicate the message that this is a place where people grow closer to God, so as to draw seekers in?

I plan to think about these things as we set goals and objectives and strategies to help us fulfill God’s mission for this congregation. I would love to hear your thoughts.