It’s stewardship time?! Nooooooooo! And that’s just the reaction of the pastor. Yes, May will be stewardship time in the life of FPC. Yes, a significant part of the discussion will involve money (cue another Noooooo!)
Ok, now that we have all of the ‘Noooooo’s’ out of the way, we can get down to business. Stewardship in the church context often means talking about money to pay the church’s bills. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Here at FPC, however, stewardship means something different. We will not be talking about the church budget. We will not be focusing on the need to pay the church’s monthly electric bill or the pastor’s salary. That’s not personal stewardship.
We at FPC focus on giving for you and not to get something from you. That’s why we don’t ask for pledges, or for how much you plan to give to the church. The specifics are between you and God. What we will be talking about is celebrating the joy of giving, and giving to nurture Sabbath life.
Sabbath life is the kind of life that God intends–individuals, communities, and creation living together in diverse and beautiful harmony. It’s what Adam and Eve experienced in the garden. It’s what Jesus made possible in the cross and resurrection and will complete when he returns. We can experience that kind of life when we live, love, and give like Jesus.
As a church body, we try to model this principle. Of all the income that we received in 2012 (including special offerings), just over 10% went directly to supporting mission and not to our operating expenses. We believe that this giving is one reason why, as a congregation, we are so blessed. We will encourage you to think about what God has blessed you with in terms of time, talents and treasure, and to ask yourself, “What is God calling me/us to give back?”
When we experience God’s grace and provision for us, our faith teaches us to respond by returning the first portion of that to God. It’s not a duty. It’s not an obligation that earns a few marks in the good column of God’s heavenly ledger. It’s a spiritual discipline that uncovers the profound truth that giving is the secret to abundant life. We were created to give, and giving empowers us to live life to its fullest.
When you give to God through this community, your giving will support the discovery of Sabbath living through our ministry. You will be supporting the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. We hope you’ll join us in this journey to discover Sabbath living, and may you have a blessed Spring.