We Continue to “Tap Dance on the Precipice”

CROPPED CHURCH
In the two years I have been at Good Shepherd UMC I have been urging the church to move out beyond our doors. In fact, my first sermon was about “tap dancing on the precipice.” Many of you recall and mention that sermon to me from time to time. It has been exciting for me to watch Good Shepherd UMC respond to that call and move out into the community.

A part of all of us tap dancing on the precipice is cultivating a generous spirit. For the past three Sundays we have been talking about the impact in your life of cultivating a generous spirit. It may seem counter-intuitive, but extending yourself to help someone else enriches both the giver and the receiver. This should not surprise Christians if we remember that Scripture teaches, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

Just last year at this time I wrote you about how we at Good Shepherd UMC were plowing new ground in ministry in our community and beyond.  (Click here to review) This year we have been cultivating those ministries, which are beginning to sprout and grow. Our work at Harper Elementary is just one example of how God is blessing and expanding our outreach. We welcomed members from Creekwood UMC

2015 Harper Shirt

to join with us at Harper Elementary, and now there are more than 50 mentors and tutors! Then we began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults in September, 2014. Now this fall we have expanded to 10 adults and added another class. I thank God for the friendships we are forming and for the ways that the lives of our students, their parents, and our lives, too, are being enriched.

We had one of the largest groups of volunteers from one church to participate in Project Transformation Denison 

2015 PT Volunteers

this year. Also this summer, in addition to financial support, we sent a large box of first aid and hygiene items to Panama. Good Shepherd UMC is making an impact on the lives of children on a local, regional and global level.


Our demonstration garden on our west side is drawing the attention of area communities. Several of us have encountered people as we are out and about who ask “Are you from the church with the garden?”  These conversations are important in letting others know about our ministries and what Good Shepherd UMC offers.


I am writing today to say thank you for the ways you have given yourself, your gifts, and your prayers to the work of our church as we reach out to people with the good news of Jesus. Without your support our church’s ministries could not happen.

 

This coming Sunday will be Commitment Sunday.  Last Sunday your received a Commitment Card to complete by setting a goal for your giving during the coming year. There are three reasons we ask you to fill out and return a Commitment Card each year. First, it is an opportunity for you to indicate that you accept God’s gracious invitation to become a co-worker in God’s saving work in the world. Secondly, it allows the church to plan accurately for ministries, since we base our ministry budget on the dollar amount our members plan to give. And thirdly, the total amount of giving to the church is an indicator that reveals the degree and the pace that our congregation wants to move into God’s future.

 

I trust that you will pray about what you can pledge for the coming year. I encourage you to move towards giving the biblical tithe, 10% of your income, to the church. For my husband and me, tithing is an important way we try to center our lives around generosity. We find great joy in giving to God’s work, which is bigger and more significant than ourselves.

 

I also know that sometimes tithing is not possible for very valid reasons. I still encourage you to make a pledge, in whatever amount possible, to the church. By filling out a Commitment Card you will continue to cultivate a generous spirit and join in the tap dance. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 214-906-7198 or email me @gsumclucas.org.

 

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we conclude our series on Generosity …..

Bless you,
Diane