Thursday, January 7, 2010
Last Sunday's sermon was worth $11,000. Well....almost. Actually, nine more dollars was needed to make it to $11,000, but it is close enough for me. Our Conference Asking goal for 2009 was just a shade over $127,000. Conference Askings represent that part of the church's giving commitment which support ministries beyond the local church. For several years the church here has come up short in reaching the goal of 100%, but this year we struggled, gave, and found ourselves about $21,000 short at the end of the year. So, I preached this sermon which ended with an invitation to give to a second offering that would go toward this part of the church's ministry. People got excited and $11,000 showed up in the offering plate. With that kind of response, the Finance Committee made sure we had the rest. It was a great day.
I felt really good about what we had done. I put my sermon away, thinking, "Here is an $11,000 sermon! Don't preach many of them." As I was basking in it all, I saw this article about Rick Warren. He is known as the "Purpose Given Church" guy out in California. It seems his church was having some financial woes as well. He wrote a letter asking for $990,000 from the congregation and got $2.4 million! It took a little of the air out of the ego balloon I was starting to inflate!
But, the truth is still the same whether we are talking about $11,000 or $990,000. God can still be counted on to provide what is needed for His church. Maybe a problem bigger than the economic downturn is the lack of faith which keeps us from ever really asking with expectation in the first place.