By now, you will have received a mailing regarding Forward in Faith, our congregation’s initiative to financially support primarily a senior pastor as well as general operations. When people are asked to increase giving to church, the typical response can often be “I already give enough,” “someone else will contribute,” “I have other needs that take priority,” “why can’t the congregation live within its means,” and the list goes on.
We need to take a step back a remind ourselves what membership in a congregation is. A congregation is a gathering of God’s people into a specific unit that we call a family of believers in Jesus. Families are distinguished from one another by their specific cultures. Some families are laid back, some are goal-oriented, some may focus on sports, others focus on education, etc. Hope Lutheran is no different. For example, our congregation’s culture is mission-focused as demonstrated by our financial commitment to special synod and district efforts as well as through the school and preschool as we engage students who may not have a church home in a Christ-centered education. Hope’s culture is also defined by the way we worship, especially congregational singing, how various groups interact (much like sibling interaction), and how we come together in celebrations.
There are occasions when families pull together to focus on addressing needs of either a person in the family or as a group. When a family unifies to work towards a goal, it can realize benefits as a whole that are greater than any benefit one member receives. Being a member of a family means setting self aside to think of others. This is most difficult when we struggle with our own sinful nature that is daily reinforced by a post-modern society that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of a shared reality. From our Christian perspective, we are unified through the work of the Holy Spirit as he transforms us into new creatures that part of a heavenly reality, not part of this enslaved world.
What does this mean for all of us? As a family, we elected to continue the call process for a senior pastor and that means all of us need to contribute. From my perspective, I can offer many reasons why I should be diverting resources to other needs such as college tuition for two children and a wedding in 2019, but what I heard from my congregational family is that a senior pastor is important and my personal family will make sacrifices to support my congregational family. Any sacrifice that is made to meet this commitment pales in comparison to the sacrifice that Jesus has done for us.
The Forward in Faith campaign has started, so it is time to participate. The mailing included commitment cards. Please place commitment cards in the offering basket or drop them off in the church office. If you are accustomed to writing checks, you can either use envelopes for Forward in Faith that are in the narthex or simply write “Forward In Faith” in the memo of the check. You may also use automated giving that is accessible through the Hope website – www.hopelutheran.org, select “Church,” and then “Giving.”
If we truly have the generous heart that the Holy Spirt inspires, we as a family in Christ will be blessed beyond our understanding, and this is a promise from God – “I will return a hundred fold….”
With God, all things are possible.
See you in church!
Outgoing Congregational President