I had the honor of kicking off our stewardship campaign "Gifts of Grace: Feed, Reach, Welcome" this past Sunday by preaching the first of three services. Each Sunday will focus on one of the concepts of our mission: Feed, Reach and Welcome. While it was an honor to share God's word with you, it may have been one of the most stressful tasks I've had to do, as well. You see, it is never easy to ask people to commit to giving their money.
The Hebrews text we read on Sunday includes the phrase, " let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:24) We are already doing a lot of good deeds at Grace but how during this stewardship campaign might we provoke one another to more love and more good deeds?
My favorite part of Sunday's sermon was the "phone call." During that phone call I highlighted a few of things we are doing at Grace, and later in the sermon I challenged us to think about the next steps. As I started researching all the wonderful things we do, and the people at Grace who are making ministry happen in the community, I felt very proud of us! Additionally, I'm sorry I didn't have time in the sermon to highlight all the works of Grace!
However, we can't stop or just maintain-we must move forward with our deeds and love. One of our next steps has to be preparing for a new pastor in January. Your pledge is always vital, but this year it makes even more of a difference as we say to the new pastor "here is the budget we created, here are the pledges we have collected, please share your vision, and provoke us toward more love and more good deeds!" Without the commitment of the Grace community we cannot move forward; we cannot reach the needs of the congregation, or the needs of the community that surrounds Grace.
On Monday as I was driving home from work, and of course listening to NPR, I thought "is it the fall or spring campaign that supports the Atlanta Community Food Bank?" Lucky for us at Grace we only have one stewardship campaign a year! Tuesday morning, I woke up with an email from WABE that said "One pledge = One Pound of Food; make your donation on Tuesday." Well that was easy enough to provoke me to make a phone call and make an additional pledge. I know the vital work of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and how every pound of food they receive makes the difference in someone's life!
So let's make this easy! I'm inviting you to bring your pledge card on November 6th as we celebrate All Saints' Day during worship. I'm asking you to prayerfully consider how you might pledge to Grace in 2017 with your prayers, presence, gift, service and witness.
At Grace we are very blessed because of a community of faithful witnesses who have paved the way to where we are now at Grace. How might we be a part of that cloud of witnesses through our pledges and faithfulness to the future of Grace?