Autumn 2018

To the Good Shepherd Family and Friends,
 
Grace and Greetings to you in the name of our savior Jesus Christ.
 
As the season of Autumn approaches we are turning our thoughts to the stewardship of our church for next year. Let me say first “Thank You” for your generosity and your witness! While we struggle financially at times, I believe that we are on a good trajectory to continue to take care of our property and support ongoing and equip new ministry opportunities.     
 
As we consider our giving for next year, I wanted to share some 
observations that have emerged in my study of stewardship and giving to the church. While there are some 2,000 verses about money and wealth, there are over 100 verses about generosity and the generous life. We are called to a life of generosity. Scripture says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 
 
Our reading should also lead us to two conclusions: that generosity is expressed in two significant ways in the Bible. First is the spontaneous and immediate response to a need. “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11.
 
The second understanding of the life of generosity is the act of “intentional” generosity which can be understood as a “tithe” or “volitional offering”. Intentional generosity is planned giving, not necessarily to a perceived immediate need, but to future needs of God’s kingdom.
 
“But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, 6  and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.Deuteronomy 12:5-6 (ESV)
 
The financial stewardship we practice is both the response to immediate need and the volitional, planned response to future needs. I know this church to be generous. I have seen it and celebrate it. That generosity will be called upon again and again. However, the volitional act of giving, the tithe is always more difficult to embrace as we don’t see the immediate needs or we don’t necessarily see the ongoing needs of the church, such as utilities, office expenses, and salaries.     
 
Generosity reflects our state of discipleship, our spiritual health as it were. When we are confident and faithful in our discipleship, generosity is a natural response and a sign of spiritual health. Look at the graph below. It is from Church Law and Tax.com, a web based financial consulting firm that assists church with financial stewardship. They collect data on giving from all kinds of people.
 
This graph shows by generation, how important Christians find generosity to be in their life and practice of faith. Generosity is crucial to our spiritual health!
Generosity Graph
Financial stewardship is always both intentional, volitional generosity and spontaneous generosity in response to need. In either case, generosity, the response to God’s blessing and love for us is a key indicator of our spiritual health.
 
As we consider our giving for next year, let me urge all of us to the life of generosity and not just in finances, but also in time, talents, presence and service as outward signs of spiritual growth and discipleship. God has blessed us abundantly, even in times of need. I pray our response will be thanksgiving and generosity in order to reflect those blessings to others.
 
In all things, I pray for you all and our church.
 
Blessings and grace to you,
   
McPherson Signature  
Pastor Brian