Tag Archives: financial giving

New Connections

New Connections 6 - purple

The congregation I serve, Resurrection Lutheran Church, faces a unique situation this summer. We need to connect to the city sewage and waste system. When the church was constructed ten years ago, the city system did not reach us.  This summer it will and we are required to connect to it.

Sign with worship Times croppedAt the same time our leadership has chosen to connect to community through a new electronic display sign at our entrance and connect to our future by starting a facilities master plan study. These connections are all tangible and vital to our mission together as a congregation. A special New Connections fund drive is underway to raise $80,000 on Sunday, May 12, to cover all three expenses.

But there is a fourth connection that is less tangible: our connection to God’s mission in our world.

God has called Resurrection Lutheran Church to a great mission: to call all people to a vibrant life of faith in Christ. Like other congregations, Resurrection calls each person to consider how they can use their gifts, strengths and resources together to make the mission happen. I am excited that members are already contributing to the planning, financing and implementation of each project listed above

This is not just a financial challenge, but a spiritual challenge as well. Do we believe in a God who has richly blessed us in the past and will guide us into the future? Will we trust God as we each consider our special offering to New Connections? Will we see New Connections as an opportunity to deepen our trust in God especially in financial matters?

The Old Testament prophet Malachi put forth a spiritual challenge to God’s people as they prepared to make their offerings. Many were not bringing a tithe or 10% of their harvest to God’s house. So God through Malachi issued this challenge, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

Making a financial contribution to the mission of our congregation is both a tangible yet spiritual connection. Are we ready to respond?

Lord Jesus, help me connect my checkbook to your mission.

Witnessing to God’s Power

Clif Christopher’s book “Whose Offer Plate is It?” offers challenging insight into what motivates people to give to their local congregation.  In the chapter titled, “Do we really have to compete?”  Clif examines how churches need to consider the competition for people’s charitable giving.   People no longer give automatically to the church.  We are all inundated with opportunities to give to good, meaningful charities and nonprofits.  Clif argues that church member and friends need a convincing case that their money will affect lives in and through their congregation.  He writes,

 

People need to hear our life-changing stories and be helped to understand how their dollars are creating positive change in the lives of people in ways that other institutions could not do.  If we want to argue that we are a great place for people to feed the hungry, then World Vision or Oxfam will beat us every day because they are experts at feeding the underprivileged.  We, however, are the one place whose mission it is to bring people into the life-changing relationships with Jesus Christ. Share with people how this place helps bring the power of the Holy Spirit into broken and grief-stricken lives.  Point out how those who were without direction came to find direction and a new life through the church.  Compete on that field and you will be chosen.  

WE ARE THE ONE PLACE
whose mission is to bring people
into life-changing relationships with
Jesus Christ.
 

The people in our pew (or chair) are asking “Why should I choose the church over World Vision or Oxfam or Boy Scouts or the university or the hospital?”  We must be prepared on a daily basis to boldly answer the question, and if we cannot easily do it, then we must get busy changing our church. 

I am thankful that Resurrection has such stories of personal transformation.  We need to discover ways to share these stories with the wider community.

Jesus said, “You shall be my witnesses” Acts 1:8.

Do you have a story that bears witness to Jesus’ power and love

Lord Jesus, thank you for my congregation that bears witness to your grace and mercy.