“Use your hands for good hard work, then give generously to others in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)
“Who do you suppose it is?” quickly has become the burning question of our congregation.
Exactly who is the anonymous member challenging all of us to greater generosity in the sharing of our treasure with the Lord?
From now until Sunday, Nov. 12, this member will match your Sunday tithes and offerings dollar for dollar up to $12,500. That means every $1 becomes $2 when you place your gifts in one of the “Double Your Blessing” envelopes enclosed with this newsletter and available in the pews.
This stewardship challenge comes at a much-needed time. Our operating budget has been running in the red for most of this year. Like your household, expenses here in God’s house are up, too, and we need to ensure that our mission and ministry to the community remain as strong as ever.
Earlier this year, the Finance Committee sharpened its pencils and found some cost-savings for some of our bigger-ticket expenses.
For example, the team has shaved several thousand dollars off the cost of our insurance premiums, which total in the neighborhood of $10,000 a year. A new copier recently installed in the church office comes with lower lease payments while not sacrificing the features we need to produce Sunday bulletins and PresbyUpbeats. And for the time being, our part-time office manager position remains unfilled in part to save payroll costs. Volunteers are helping fill in the clerical and administrative gaps.
But candidly, cost-cutting alone won’t be enough — if we want to continue passing on the faith to our children and grandchildren on Wednesday Church Nights. If we want to continue reaching out to the community in loving care of bodies, souls, and spirits. If we want Sunday morning worship to continue being a safe place for friends, neighbors, and strangers to celebrate life’s joys and to find support and encouragement in life’s trials and challenges.
Over nearly 40 years of service in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, I’ve never seen an organization thrive and grow by cutting back. And I don’t expect that’s changed.
Which perhaps brings the real challenge of our “Double Your Blessing” campaign: How is God through the Spirit calling you to greater financial support of our congregation? How might the Lord take your financial offerings — not just during this campaign but also in the months ahead — and multiply them to the glory of God? How might others, through your generosity, experience the glory of God in their midst?
Those are the real questions that I’d invite you to ask in prayer. They’re far better, more faithful questions to ask than wondering and speculating about the identity of our generous donor.
If you’d like to “think out loud” and pray with another about your support of our church — or just want to talk about faith and belief in general or particular, feel free to stop by Aztec Parlor in downtown Waukon on Wednesday afternoons.
Using an open house format that allows you to come and go as your schedule allows, “Wednesday Soul Searching” meets from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The coffee is on me, and I’d love to visit with you about whatever is on your heart and mind.
If you are engaging with the “Faith at Home” encouragements in the Sunday bulletins, these gatherings provide opportunities to “think out loud” and listen for God’s response through the voices of others.
In that same spirit, “Sunday Soul Searching” meets on the first Sunday of each month at 11 a.m. in the Chapel. Recent and interested confirmands, parents, sponsors, and other members of the congregation are welcome.
Like “Wednesday Soul Searching,” the Sunday group will gather around the question, “How is it with your soul?”
Again, that’s a far better and more faith question.
In Christ, Pastor Grant