Let us pray: O provider God, who provides us life abundant, let us be abundant in our fruitfulness and in our stewardship of your world. May we see your abundant Grace in our daily lives and respond accordingly with love and joy. Amen.
I once confessed to a Seminary President that I didn't like to talk about money. He looked me in the eye and said, “You need to get over that.” I am getting over that here at Hilltop. I wrote a letter to you in June, spoke to the issues of finances that same week during worship, and devoted a portion of my July 21st sermon to the idea of where we were as it related to stewardship. (The congregation appears to have responded quite favorably here with June and July of 2013, both being above where we were in the same months of 2012.)
Stewardship is more than treasure. I invite us to consider our abundance in terms of time, talent and treasure.
We are prayerfully approaching our stewardship campaign for 2014 differently than in the more recent past. Our campaign will be focused in small gatherings starting in September. Over food we will discuss where our abundance comes from, our vision for the future, and how we see time, talent, and treasure building that bridge to that future. I invite you to pray now for that process and its fruitfulness.
The fundamental question we have to ask ourselves in this exercise is: “Do we focus our stewardship on the church that is, or on the church we prayerfully vision ourselves to be?” I pray the answer to that is obvious. That said:
The expenses built into our 2014 Budget will be matched by a forecasted, historically derived, income.
We will not start 2014 with a “hope hole” in the budget. We will be at the ready with programs, people expenses, and needed capital requirements if our faithfulness produces fruitfulness beyond the forecasted income.
Our Capital Campaign will be temporarily placed “on hold” until we first meet the operational needs of the church, and then we will reactivate the Capital Campaign as “extra mile giving” to accelerate the retirement of the debt.
We plan on six to seven presentations in September starting with the Church Council. This will be a combination of small groups as well as small gatherings. You will receive a letter inviting you to attend one of these in August. I prayerfully ask you to make your attendance at one of these a priority. You will be asked to come to the event prepared if at all possible to make a pledge of your time, talent and treasure that will be made evident through your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to God’s reign.
For now, my daily prayer is for Hilltop to spend the time in what remains of July and all of August, mentally preparing ourselves for an openness to God’s Holy Spirit swinging wide the doors of our hearts, minds and souls and allowing God’s Holy Breath to inspire us to the fruitfulness and abundant life to which God invites us.
Amen, Pastor Dennis