Stewardship in 2017

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (James 1:17-18).

Dear Members and Friends of Christ Church,

Over the past year we have experienced much blessing as a congregation. We’ve continued to add new members, and, with the addition of Theo Davis as our Connections Coordinator, many of these individuals and families are connecting to Christ Church, and through Christ Church, to God, in meaningful ways. We’ve also been blessed by our new organ, and the quality of music at both services continues to grow in excellence. We were able to commission Travis Wilson to attend seminary at Duke Divinity School, and have committed to walk with him through the process of ordination. We continue to support and pray for Matt and Madeleine Rucker, who are in their second year of seminary. Through our many volunteers, our capacity for pastoral care continues to grow, and, in many cases, we’ve seen people experience healing – physically, spiritually, and relationally. Our partnership with Lemonade International in Guatemala City continues to develop, and our presence among the most vulnerable in our community is increasing as well. Also, through our participation in the life of our deanery and diocese, we are helping the Anglican Church play its unique part in the flourishing of God’s kingdom throughout the state and region. Finally, I’m so thankful that many of us were able to participate in our parish retreat, during which we were invited into a deeper love relationship with God, and with one another.

As we think and pray about our life together in 2017, there are several pressing items as we continue to grow and develop as a congregation. First, we need to hire a new youth minister. This is a crucial need, and we are currently in the process of interviewing prospective candidates. Second, in the fall of 2015 we had an in-house retreat for married couples. I’m hoping that, in 2017, we will have at least two events to encourage and equip married couples to live well together. Finally, I plan to continue our capacity to engage in meaningful relationships with one another that allow us grow closer to God, and experience a deeper sense of mission for our lives in the world.

Going forward, please begin to pray about how God might be leading you to participate in the life and ministry of Christ Church. In addition to regular worship, we have many opportunities for growth and service: Bible studies, small groups, volunteer ministries on Sunday mornings or during the week, and groups that meet for various outreach opportunities.

Finally, please pray specifically about your level of financial giving. We have several very helpful resources on biblical stewardship that I’d like everyone to have. Last year we distributed CDs with a stewardship teaching by our first bishop, John Guernsey. If you didn’t receive one, please let us know and we’d be happy to give you one. You can also find the teaching on our website here. This year, I’d like to encourage everyone to listen to a sermon on stewardship by Tim Keller entitled “Treasure vs. Money.” I also recommend Bp. John’s “Biblical Stewardship Principles” as well as this Bible study from Tim Keller on stewardship.

Please take time to listen and read. I believe that as we do, we will become more and more aware of God’s goodness and love, and experience the freedom to give, as St. Paul exhorted the Corinthians: “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).

Please take time over the next couple of weeks to think and pray about how God might be calling you to participate in the life and ministry of Christ Church in 2017. Please fill out your 2017 pledge card and prepare to submit it on November 13, which will be “Commitment Sunday” for us. God has been good to us at Christ Church, and as we continue to commit ourselves to him with grateful hearts, I believe that we will see even “greater things than these” (John 14:12).