A preacher friend tweeted the other day: “Churches spend more time on the spending plan than the funding plan, and then complain about the lack of giving.” Fortunately, I do not believe that describes us.
In the three years we've been together, I have watched Salem be faithful, generous, and sacrificial in your giving. Not every pastor can say that because it is not true of every church; or even any church at all times.
Since coming here as your pastor, I haven't been reluctant to talk about money. Some of you know why: it gives me a fabulous opportunity to brag on God!
In the last few years I’ve tried to look carefully at how/why/when people in the Christian church (and in our culture at large) choose to give. I want to understand why we give (or don’t give) the ways we do so that I can persuasively and helpfully lead us to give – and live – differently.
One of the insights I’ve gained from reading and from experience is this: We often imagine that giving to one cause trades off with giving to another. Certainly that’s possible. Many of us wish to give to more good causes than we can (or believe we can). But in the church that does not happen nearly as often as we are tempted to think. The money for these “competing interests” tends to come from different pockets.
Some people think we shouldn’t give money to international missions (like our upcoming trip to Mexico) because they think that those gifts trade-off with money that should be given to local causes; or vice-versa. But most often, the people who are going to give to one aren’t going to give in the same way to another, so a church makes a mistake if it forfeits the opportunity to one for the sake of the other. The church should do both … because, in many cases, the money comes out of different pockets. The same could be said of domestic mission trips like our upcoming trip to North Carolina and local service projects.
Sure: there will be some people for whom a local church’s aggressive vision for missions will force some tough choices. But that kind of variety also allows people with different passions and priorities to give generously to the projects they believe in most and the needs that touch their hearts.
That’s pragmatic and sterile and not at all touchy-feely; but it remains true nevertheless. And it is one of the reason our vision for missions is as comprehensive as it is.
But there’s another reason, too: Jesus said to do it! In Acts 1:8 Jesus says that his followers are to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Here. There. Everywhere.
Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for giving as you give. Thank you for making my family welcome in your hearts and lives. Thank you for making my being your pastor such a joy.
Pray with me about the legacy we will leave and about the good future that God has for us as we live life together on this side of the Jordan and take possession of the Promised Land.
Once Joshua and the people of God had crossed the Jordan River, had entered the Promised Land, and – in accordance with God’s instructions – had erected the 12 stones as a monument to what God had done, they moved forward. They remembered the past. They laid claim to God’s good future. And they moved forward. What a joy it is to be part of a church committed to moving forward! You are going to hear that language frequently in the season ahead: Moving Forward! Stewardship (our management of the resources God has entrusted to our care for His purposes) is – like the whole of the Chrisan life – a journey. This fall, we will once again be thinking, talking, and praying together about what we believe to be God’s hopes and dreams for this church and our ministry to our neighbors, the nations, and the next generation. Thank you for your faithful, generous, and sacrificial financial support. Your stewardship of God’s riches makes Salem’s life and witness possible! In the spirit of “Moving Forward,” there are several important events on the horizon which we hope you will include in your calendar!
10/31 TRUNK OR TREAT
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so we expect to have a large turn-out for our annual Trunk-or-Treat, from 5-7 on the parking lot behind the Family Life Center. We need volunteers to decorate their cars and fill their trunks with goodies. We need volunteers to help in a number of areas, too: staffing inflatable attractions and carnival games, preparing and serving food, drinks & snacks; and acting as ambassadors. If you can help, please contact the church office!
11/11 VETERANS DAY DINNER
We will suspend our regular Wednesday evening acvies on November 11th in favor of hosting a special Veterans Day Dinner. Additional details about menu, program, and schedule will be forthcoming. Right now, we need your help identifying individuals in our church family who are veterans or spouses of veterans. In addition to publicizing the event and extending generic invitations, we would like to extend personal invitations; but we do not have a comprehensive record of that informaon available to us in the church office or in our heads, so we need your help! If you are a veteran, please contact the church office. If you are the spouse or widow of a veteran, please contact the church office. If you KNOW someone who is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, please contact the church office. Everyone is invited to attend the dinner! The dinner will be free for veterans and their spouses. Details to follow. Please help us gather this important information. The degree to which we know in advance how many will come will have an impact on the quality of the evening. Thank you for your help!
12/28 – 1/1 HOLIDAY MISSION TRIP
We are again looking forward to sending a team up to the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, North Carolina, on our annual Holiday Mission trip. Information packets will be available for the trip soon, so be on the lookout. Begin thinking about your holiday schedule and make plans to join us as we make a difference in Jesus’ name again this Christmas!
Dan has been the Pastor of Salem UMC since June, 2017. He loves preaching, the Atlanta Braves, beach vacations, and precious time with his wife Brenda and their grown sons. Read More . . .