Since Easter, we’ve been reflecting on five practices that are vital in fruitful congregations. This week, we focus on the fifth practice, Extravagant Generosity. Robert Schnase says,
Generosity describes the Christian’s unselfish willingness to give in order to make a positive difference for the purposes of Christ. Congregations that practice Extravagant Generosity provide ministries that address our spiritual need to give in ways that exceed all expectations and extend to unexpected measures. Fruitful congregations thrive because of extraordinary sharing, willing sacrifice, and joyous giving out of love for God and neighbor.
Through the practice of Extravagant Generosity, we offer our resources in a manner that supports the causes that transform life and relieve suffering and that enlarges the soul and sustains the spirit. God uses our giving to reconfigure our interior lives and form us anew.
Later this year, you will be invited to consider extravagant generosity toward God and the Church in relation to your material treasures. During the month of June, we will be conducting a parish-wide initiative that focuses on stewardship of time, talent, service, and witness as we invite you to get involved in one or more of the ministries of this parish. If you are already involved, great! This may be a time for you to consider serving in another way or a different way. If you are not involved, this is a time for you to consider ways you can lend your time and energies to the impact of St. John’s on the community and the world.
Our catechism in The Book of Common Prayer teaches us that, “The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.” That means every member is a minister. Each one discerns the ministry to which he or she is being called by God in a particular time and place. When God calls a person, God also generously provides the resources that are needed to serve in generous ways, working, praying, and giving for the spread of the kingdom.
In the short time I have been at St. John’s, I’ve heard some say, “It is difficult to get people involved.” But I’ve also seen how quickly and generously so many have stepped forward when invited to take an active role in the Church’s life and ministry. I am banking on that observation to be the rule and not the exception in this vibrant parish!
We have distributed brochures with the invitation, “Get Involved.” In the brochures, you will find brief descriptions of many of our committees and ministry groups, along with a response form you may use to indicate your interests. This brochure and response form are also available online.
Take some time during the coming month to read the brochure. If you see a place of service that seems to be calling your name, ask God if it is a ministry in which you can be generous in service to Christ and his Church. If you believe God is calling you to serve in this way, indicate that on the response form and send it in. The vestry’s discernment task force will be in touch.
I’ll see you in Church!