New Consecration Sunday
By Jenny McCulloch
Holy Spirit, Charleston
Where do we see God working? It is a question asked regularly at Holy Spirit Evangelical Lutheran Church. Our thinking and prayer life rearranged after studies of Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby; we look for God at work in our lives and the life of our church and follow Him. What a change for us: from suggesting to our Lord that what we think might be a good idea, to our having the faith to believe that He will provide the resources for His desires for us.
Approaching our Stewardship season, our interim pastor, Rev. Dr. Mark Scott suggested Herb Miller’s New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program. Our committee of four read it with enthusiasm and said “Yes!” Our congregation had been making Faith Promises for several years and that was a good bridge for our members to a new way of thinking about giving. We explored our giving as a part of our individual spiritual life and the spiritual life of our church family. Our giving and helping others is one way that we live out our faith. What is God calling us to give? All of our blessings come from our Father- not only our money, but our time and talents as well. We had already taken some leaps of faith in the preparation of our 2019 budget. We increased our benevolences to a tithe, we funded committees and programs according to their needs, and we did not discuss the budget as a part of this campaign. What a difference for us as we moved from giving money to pay our bills to looking at what God is asking us to do.
We followed the program meticulously and in areas that we thought we might see resistance there was none. Our congregation prayed earnestly, listened carefully to the three committee members who gave temple talks (one lady took notes and brought her worksheet back the next Sunday) and Pastor Mark’s “Giving” sermon on Consecration Sunday reminded us about our transformation through faith. His quote from missionary Jim Elliott, “Give the things that you cannot keep, to keep those things that you cannot lose” was a profound reminder of what is important in our lives.
Following our dinner, our committee chairperson reported to our congregation that our estimate of giving for 2019 will be 29.9% higher than 2018. Truly God is working in each heart at Holy Spirit. What a testimony to the strength of faith, hope, peace, and joy in this congregation. The seeds were there, the structure and use of this program helped us to solidify what we already knew in our hearts
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