Paul would remind us even bad things can be changed into something good (i.e. Death and resurrection)
Our "Spouse Retreat" is not over, but Cheryl and I had to leave to catch our flight.
This morning, Mike Slaughter talked about his focus on stewardship at Ginghamsburg UMC. A few things I loved:
-He isn't afraid to ask for the tithe because he considers it God's tithe, not his. That kind of gumption is, well, why I like Mike's style.
-He constantly talked about how it is our jobs to make disciples, it is Jesus job to grow the church.
-The budget at Ginghamsburg is lopsided towards mission. In his book, Money Matters (that I haven't read yet) he gives numbers. But basically, their operating budget is below what they spend just in Darfur. Do you know any churches like that? Geez man, if every church gave that much to mission, could you imagine how many souls would be won for Christ? Do you kow how the Kingdom of God would grow in faithfulness and care of those without?
Its only fair I mention some things I found difficult:
-I don't like asking for money. Bottom line. I think my fear is rooted in the tying up of my role as pastor with my desire to be liked. Let me throw that out there. The gifts of the Kingdom are greater than what money can achieve, but if the Kingdom of God should move all creation towards liberating the oppressed, its obvious the negation of Money is not the answer, the negation of greed is. And it don't want anyone to think I'm greedy, so I don't talk about money. I know I know, shame on me.
-Mike said people don't give to parking lots. He's right, they need a vision. But how do you appropriately get people to give to parking lots without implying they are giving to something else and you use their money on parking lots? That make sense? If our job is to make disciples of Jesus and Jesus job is to grow the church, can I divert funds to parking lots to facilitate a place to put you new shiney bmw?*
eh.. Low blow on my part.
More later, I'm looking over my notes
*To be sure, there are Christians who don't drive bmw's. And that is certainly not the norm at Ginghamsburg. I went from thinking about how some churches (like Ginghamsburg) try to keep operating costs at a minimum so 1) they can be involved in mission 2) they don't get in hot water financially trying to maintain buildings.
But that thought made me think of the many churches that are not so worried about mission and just getting people in the pews.