Bruce Barkhauer’s words in his book Community of Prayer offer insights as we embark on our annual Stewardship Campaign in October:
At various times in the cycle of days we call the church year, we spend some
extra moments in reflection and preparation.
To welcome the Christ child, we have the four weeks of Advent. We sit quietly, not rushing too fast toward the stable, lest we run past the babe cradled in straw and miss the meaning of what “God with us” is all about.
With the hope of Easter, and the meaning of both new and everlasting life on the horizon, we observe a period of reflection about the condition of our souls and of our world and our deep need for a word assuring us that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.
This work is directed toward an event that also requires preparation: The making of a financial commitment to the work and ministry of the church. If we want to be a full partner in the unfolding Realm of God around us, we cannot come to the moment of commitment with our best without being grounded in an understanding of stewardship.
Stewardship is not fundraising – it is a spiritual discipline. It is about responding with our whole being to the generosity of God. Stewardship impacts every aspect of life. How unfortunate for us that we have reduced this rich biblical concept to being simply about money. Perhaps the greatest sin of all is that we have made it about budgets and board reports instead of about a life-giving adventure and an invitation to discover deeper joy in discipleship.
During the Sundays in October, we will explore:
· Creation as a blue print for generosity
· Self-Care and the Gospel as building blocks for Stewardship
· Understanding our relationship with Money
· Generosity as an Agent of Transformation and Pathway to Joy
This will lead us to respond to “God’s Great Generosity” on Sunday, October 28 on Celebration Commitment Sunday. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.