My preacher has been preaching about stewardship the last couple of weeks. Gives a lot of people the Heebie-jeebies when the preacher gets on this subject. It's about money and about your service to the church. Well just so you understand. Only people my age (late 50's) and older know what Heebie-jeebies is, and the same goes for stewardship.
Young adults have a hard time with this word. Lots of "with it" churches uses the words like soul prints or your personal calling. They understand these terms, but stewardship sounds like the work of a bunch of stodgy old deacons. Therein lies the problem.
While we were on the subject of stewardship, my church began talking about their vision. Now I just want to say here that this church will celebrate it 100th birthday in 2014. Kind of long in the tooth to just now be talking about a vision. In reality, the neighborhood has grown tremendously. So, I think my church needs to talk about it's vision. Just got to add that this isn't the first time, my church has looked for a vision.
The problem is when you start talking about vision it always turns to tangible things, like new buildings and such. I hear people say, we just can't attract people to an old church, when so many new churches have popped up around us. Whoa, need to stop right there. Granted, I don't want to go to a run down building either, but our vision can't be based on tangible objects.
Jesus wrote down the vision for the church in "The Great Commission". Quoting from Wikipedia,
some version of the great commission appears in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and in the Book of Acts, which is the second part of Luke-Acts. Details vary from book to book, see Gospel harmony for the attempts to harmonize them. In Matthew, Jesus directs the disciples to baptize people of all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, similar to the Trinitarian formula of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In Luke, Jesus tells the disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness, and promises that they will have divine power. In John, Jesus says the disciples will have the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins and to withhold forgiveness. In Acts, Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will inspire them.
I have to confess, I have only been back to my church for a year now. Was out in the world for a number of years. My church is one of my greatest joys. Stewardship and visions go hand in hand. They have to be found together.
We have all heard the argument that I don't have to go to church to pray to Jesus. I know Jesus is in my heart and that is all that I need. I cannot disagree with that statement, yet that person in my opinion will always feel like something is lacking. You find a lot of people in the church that just come to church and don't participate in anything else. That's OK too, but I feel that person is going to be prone to drift away from the church. You know that "any old reason" excuse. I can speak from personal experience here.
You see the great thing about church is that it allows all the members to contribute their talents. We all have different talents and no talent is greater or less than any other talent, if they are used for Jesus. Not everybody is going out to be missionaries or lead crusades. Lots of people work behind the scenes and may for example, just pick up the church grounds. Remember the church is the house of the Lord. This person that picks up the grounds is just as great in God's eyes as the person that preaches to large congregations. Everyone matters to Jesus.
So, if you worship at home or just go to church and then go home, you are missing out on a blessing.
People at church are people too and sometimes they do or say things for the wrong reason. It happens. But I believe that the people in a church that really contribute to that church don't do it for the wrong reasons. They do it because they feel that God has led them to this work.
Just to tie this all up. When you walk with the Lord and you do it over and over again, the path just gets deeper and better. Jesus is there with you and will carry you on this path when you can't walk it yourself. You will find the people in your church in that path with you. Believers walking with Jesus. I am telling you it don't get any better than that. I remember as a small child a path that led to my grandmother's house from my house. It was only about 50 yards long. My mom would let me go by myself, but told me to stay on the path. It wasn't a straight path but I felt safe on that path. And I know now that my mom watched me all the way. That's how Jesus walks with you. That's why I have committed myself to my church. I get the blessing and it's worth it. And I get to walk with true believers.
One more thought... If you follow the words of Jesus and go out and tell others about him. Good things will happen. A church will grow and maybe need a new building someday to house all the new believers. The most important thing is to pray and plan.
God Bless You
Fitzhugh Fits Me, Does it Fit You
Fitzhugh Baptist Church
PS. Anybody that knows me knows that I talk a lot. Can't help it. I found this video about another church somewhere in this country. It's a great video, and I challenge my church and all other churches to try and be like this church. This should be the goal of all churches. Please watch this video and pray.