Sometimes unexpected circumstances force us to change our plans and adjust our schedules in order to recognize we are not always the ones in “complete” control of our lives. Yet given such a reality, the words of the prophet Jeremiah are surely encouraging and the source of great comfort: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (29:11). These are the words that lift my spirits on a regular basis, and especially this past week.
For the last several months the Stewardship Committee (under the capable leadership of Mark and Katie Paschall) has been planning the schedule and preparing the informational materials for our 2015 Stewardship Campaign traditionally shaping the focus and guiding our congregation’s worship and communication during the month of October. Last month the committee set this Sunday, October 12 as the Kick-Off Sunday for Stewardship Season with Dedication Sunday set for Sunday, November 9. Once again this year our theme for Stewardship will be “FIRST: Giving God our Best” based on Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Back in February earlier this year I accepted an invitation from my former church in Lumberton to preach this Sunday, October 12 on that congregation’s Scottish Heritage and Homecoming Sunday. And while I knew I would be away on Stewardship Kick-Off Sunday here in Belmont, I had hoped to prepare a brief Minute for Stewardship to be shared as a video clip before Worship as a sign of my support for all we have been doing the last few years, and especially as 2015 marks the first year we will be consolidating our Capital Fund and General Fund budgets and ask you to make “one financial pledge” to the church instead of two (which has been the case for the last 8 years) with regard to our “Lift High the Cross” and “Lead On, O King Eternal” capital campaigns.
Yet this past week has prompted me to delay Kick-Off Sunday to October 19 given the sudden death of individuals connected with our congregation and impacting directly our Stewardship Leadership Team, especially the Paschall family in the death of Katie’s brother, Bruce Walton, on Monday and then Richard Rankin’s death on Tuesday. We will continue to hold Dedication Sunday on November 9, but the mailing of our 2015 Stewardship materials will be delayed to the week of October 12 and our first Minute for Stewardship will be October 19 when I will be here and able to join my sermon with the thoughts and information shared by our Stewardship Committee.
Please pray for all of those facing the sad news of the loss of loved ones this past week. As we delay Stewardship, please also pray for our church and seek God’s guidance concerning your financial commitment for next year.
God's grace and peace to you!