Today, I welcome Mike Twedt as a guest blogger on the topic of Stewardship. Mike is a member of the Session of Christ Presbyterian Church and serves on the Relationship With Those Inside the Christian Community Elder Panel with Nancy Jones and Bill Gilchrist.
Each year the congregation of Christ Presbyterian Church sets aside a special time to reflect on our stewardship of the gifts God has given us. In particular we focus time on how our financial commitment answers God’s special call to us. This year we are exploring what God has done through our financial stewardship in the area of mission and service. In worship we are hearing directly from those engaged in that mission. Mike reflects not only on what we are currently doing in the area of mission and service but also how increased financial commitments from our members and friends can empower us to do more.
A Stewardship and Mission Reflection by
Mike Twedt, Elder, Christ Presbyterian Church.
Dear Friends in Christ’s love,
As Christians, we are called upon by God to return some of the gifts he gives us to further his work. One way we can return his gifts is to give money to the Church. Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) needs those monetary gifts to do God’s work.
Fixed costs for our building and salaries for our staff dominate our current Church budget. Our current giving allows only a small amount for missions. We recently, however and through God’s grace, completed a refinance of our mortgage that will reduce one of CPC’s major fixed costs. That, of course, will free up some of our budget to support our community through our mission work. But we, as a congregation, can take this God-given opportunity to so much more!
Exciting work is being done through this congregation. This month, three of the missions we support are providing testimonials to the good work they do: Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM), Oxygen 3, and JAMII International. Increases in your commitment and thus mission spending offer us exciting opportunities to do what God wants us to do. We can help our community – both locally and at large – become more visible and fulfill one of the fundamental functions of a Christian congregation.
We have already heard inspiring testimonials from three members of our congregation who recently spent an “Oxygen 3” weekend. This was a camping experience sponsored by Jill’s House, an organization that provides respite for children with intellectual disabilities and their families. Our mission team described an experience that was personally fulfilling and very productive. Interestingly, although CPC contributed more than $1,500 to Oxygen 3, only $250 of that total was actually from the church budget. That generosity was more or less spontaneous in that funding was not solicited in any official church publication. Some folks asked on their own about contributing, and others contributed as a result of an online fundraising campaign via Facebook. How nice it would have been to have CPC fund the whole $1,500 out of the budget – which we could have done if our church family truly pledged what they can offer instead of waiting to fund a specific activity.
WFCM describes their mission “as an expression of God’s love and an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ … Western Fairfax Christian Ministries provides life-essential support to those needing our assistance.” CPC’s most obvious support of WFCM is probably the monthly collection of food as we celebrate communion as a congregation. Please remember these friends and neighbors in need – in the midst of our comfortable environment – who depend on WFCM for their existence.
JAMII International Outreach Ministries (Jamii means family in Swahili) is dedicated to helping vulnerable Kenyan children – many of whom have lost parents to HIV/AIDS, poverty, violence, and other diseases. Jamii provides these with the spiritual, physical, and emotional guidance needed to grow up to be productive and successful adults. To that end, Jamii provides clothes, shelter, meals, education, and spiritual and psychological guidance to hundreds of children.
To summarize, please keep in mind when you pledge this year that what you give is not simply for our building, our utilities, our staff, and other day to day things – as wonderful and necessary as those are. We have the opportunity to apply the teaching of Jesus in Luke 6:38 as he preached to the great multitude: “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Yours in Christ’s service,
Mike can be reached by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org