Last week I wrote: “Next week I will address the threefold fullness of health: grandparent, parent, and child.”
Before I do that, I want to re-refocus briefly on our why.
This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. It is in part a remembrance of Jesus taking on his purpose with a clear focus. Transfiguration is a positive, beautiful transformation. Our own church purpose is transformation. Our vision to be co-creators of new church life is bold, and it is about transformation. As I indicated last week: “Transformation is an intense process and it requires us to stretch. But, a critical element of that transformation, that stretching, has already occurred here: Hilltop is reaching, stretching, beyond itself. That is transformation. Let’s continue that change. Change like that requires rare people.”
Health at every level matters
We are not alone in this adventure. The “conference” is with us. The conference is no longer a disembodied entity in Denver, if it ever was. Too often, churches view the conference as where the Bishop is located and the place where we send money. It is too often viewed as a one way street with everything going to Denver, and nothing coming back. That is not accurate.
I am personally here because Bishop Elaine listened to Hilltop. The same can be said of Pastor Emily: the conference listened. But in ways other than pastoral leadership, the conference is sharing in this adventure. All but $20,000 of the annual costs of this adventure are being paid by the conference. The ability to do this is made possible by the 250+ churches of the conference, located in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. In effect, a sliver of that $65,000+ to be sent to us in 2017 by the Rocky Mountain Conference is from Arvada (Colorado) UMC, LaJunta (Colorado) UMC, Laramie (Wyoming) First UMC, and Park City (Utah) Community Church just to name four. Cantaloupe farmers from Rocky Ford, Colorado are invested in Hilltop and our bold ministry vision.
Last year about half of all the churches in the conference met their financial obligation to the conference. We were not one of them. Our proposed budget for 2017 gets us incrementally closer to that goal, but still falls short. The conference is in the resourcing business. That is what it does: equips people, both laity and clergy, as well as local churches for their transformation missions. It can only do this if the local churches support the conference in its own financial health.
Great gifts, great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities
Health of the parent – Hilltop – and our intentionally planned child matter. In fact, only $21,200 of our 2017 planned spending is about the child, creating her in good health. That is a little under 6% of expenses supported by current congregational giving.
|Threefold Fullness of Health|
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Bible, The Message offers this glimpse at Luke 12:48b: "Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!" We need to respond in a responsible way to the gifts we have been given.
To repeat a mantra we have been offering since January: “We are under-incomed, not over-expensed.” I offer we are not under-led. Your lay leadership at Hilltop is bold, leading to a vision that is bold.
Roberta quoted an unnamed black preacher in the February Newsletter: “God is not a monument, but a movement.” Methodism was called a movement in our early days.
We can recapture the movement spirit by focusing on our transformation purpose. Health beyond Hilltop, at Hilltop and the new life springing from Hilltop must all be factors. Not simply the health of Hilltop as parent. You are at the center of this threefold fullness of health.
Selah, Pastor Dennis