Pastor's Ponderings

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Financial Leadership

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In January 2015 I enrolled in the Financial Leadership Academy sponsored by the Mid Atlantic United Methodist Foundation. This was two-year experience in which sixty or so clergy met six times to cover many topics related to the financial health and the well-being of both churches and pastors.  We studied best practices of churches as well as other non-profits with a keynote speaker as well as small group time with a trained facilitator. My peer group (pictured) involved pastors with large church experience across three annual conferences. Each time we met we worked out an action plan to put what we were learning into practice and learn from one another.

 

I learned how to do a better job managing my own personal finances. I also learned a theology of money and how generosity is tied to Christian discipleship. I learned how to make more sense out of a balance sheet and financial statement. It was great to learn from other pastors and hear about the creative and worthwhile things that are being done. We held the final session last month and I have a certificate of completion suitable for framing!

One thing in particular I want to lift up to the folks at Calvary/Centennial Memorial Cooperative Parish. By making a simple addition to your will, you can leave a lasting legacy to your church. You can easily leave your church a gift that will assure that others will be able to benefit from the ministry of the congregation that has been so dear to you. And, here’s something that may be even easier than adding a few words to your will. You can add the church as a beneficiary to an existing pension plan or life insurance policy so that a portion can go to your church or other charities you choose. I will be making such a change to my policies and would encourage you to think about doing it also.

See you in church,

Rev. Steve

What Will It Be Like on the Day After the Election?

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What Will It Be Like on the Day After the Election?

Two weeks ago, your pastoral staff was involved in a lively discussion and busy exercise. We were trying to decide if we had anything of further value to add into the discussion of the current presidential election. This has been an unusual election in many respects. The two most highly unfavorable candidates in history, the moral issues and qualifications of each candidate, the bitterness and acrimony that has been shown and the coarse and troubling language that has been present are all matters of serious concern to everyone with a conscience and a love for this country. And so, there are many things we as followers of Christ would find objectionable and troubling.

There are some Christian leaders who quite willingly and often use their pulpit and pastoral office to offer their opinions and counsel with regard to candidates, parties and policies. I do not. I have a call to preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, counsel the sick, teach the faith and order the life of the congregation. There has certainly been plenty said about the merits and limitations of each candidate and I decided there was nothing more to be gained at this moment by adding my own words or the words that the pastoral staff we might collectively put together.

What I do wish to offer is an invitation to pray. There is an old gospel song that has the words, “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now.” Amen. This is a time for all of us to pray for our nation, our leaders, our fellow citizens as we move towards a more perfect future which is better and brighter than the current day.

I would also offer the words that Sharon Cole sent me that she found came from the author and pastor Max Lucado:
"I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God's perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won't on November 9, 2016. "The LORD can control a king's mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases" (Proverbs 21:1)."

Amen and amen. I will be on my knees as the nation goes to the voting booths. May God be with us all.

See you in church.

Rev Steve

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