Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.—1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Fall is the traditional time for churches to emphasize stewardship. And while that emphasis may not be limited to a discussion of the church’s finances, it is almost always a part of the discussion.
You may recall our annual congregational meeting back in January, where I laid out a rather sobering assessment of our finances. Since then, we have actually had some encouraging developments. So far this year, we have reduced our average monthly loss almost by half, from more than $2,000 to about $1,200. In fact, we actually made a modest “profit” during August.
I’m looking forward to some occasions where I can share this information with you in more detail, but the short version is this: We aren’t out of the woods yet, but we’re in much better shape than I expected us to be. Partly, this is because the leaders of the church are being very careful about every expenditure. But the main reason for our improving situation is your generosity and commitment to carrying out the mission of this church.
In our stewardship conversation, however, I don’t want to limit our discussion to the church’s finances, however, or even to money. Stewardship is about how we all use God’s gifts to accomplish the work God calls us to do. It’s about money, certainly. But it’s also about what we do with our property, our innate abilities, our likes and dislikes, the skills we’ve acquired—everything. It is about everything we have and everything we are, for it all belongs to God—every penny and every second. We are only its managers, or stewards. (Matthew 25:14-30)
For that reason, I hope that you will do some serious, prayerful consideration about how God might be calling you to use your gifts to support the church’s mission.
Maybe you should join the choir, or volunteer to work in the sound room on Sunday morning. Perhaps you should be doing cleanup after the fellowship time, or greeting people before worship. Possibly you should be serving as a Sunday school teacher, or their helper. You might be called to service in an ordained capacity as a deacon or elder. Or something completely different. I don’t know. Maybe you don’t know either. But God does know.
As we begin our stewardship emphasis this fall, I hope you’ll make a commitment to ask God’s guidance in this area. Don’t wait for the nominating committee to call, because if you do, you’ll probably say the first thing that comes to mind. (“No!”) Instead, put some effort into it. Talk with God about it. Remind God about all the other things you’re trying to get done, and ask God to guide you in setting your priorities.
My prayer for each of us is that God will reveal how he wants us to participate in what he is doing in, and through, Desert Hills church.