First Presbyterian is an anomaly according to the Pew Research study on church growth. Most churches are shrinking. We are growing!
This growth is a gift from the Holy Spirit who unites us in our willingness to follow some simple commands from the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 7:7 says, “The purpose of the spiritual gifts is to build up, inspire, and support the church.”
We seek to use our members’ God given gifts to grow ministries. For instance, we know some of our members have the gift of social justice and compassion. When they asked if they could go to work on behalf of the church to have social justice class we said, “Yes!”
Likewise, when some artists approached and said, “We don’t necessarily feel called to the social justice ministry, but we love sharing God’s beauty in art. Can we do something with our gifts?”
We said, “Yes!” Now we have art rotating on once barren walls in the Gathering Space.
Another group said, we have a passion for teaching children. Can we do something for the kids?
“Yes!” And boom, there was Wednesday Revolution.
Another was for Special Needs families.
Another asked about prisoners.
We said, “Yes!”
Another was for animals.
“Yes!” And we combined the two to form All God’s Creatures.
“Yes,” is how we grow! We say, “yes,” to following Jesus and using our gifts to help connect with others in the Spirit.
These events don’t have to be eternal. I love the one and done type of events and ministry projects that so many of you have; such gifts of teaching an exercise class for older adults, teaching poetry, teaching yoga, doing a woodshed project. Someone said, “Let’s rent a dance floor.” It turns out there is one available to rent in town. So, “Yes! Let’s!” If you have the gift of an idea for the church. “Let’s do it!” We will even help plan it. Who, what, when and where? The answer is “YES!”
I read a story in the book, “Not Your Parent’s Offering Plate!” It was about a professional opera singer who worshiped in a church most Sundays for a decade. She did not sing in the choir or even do a special song for worship. One day a member from the church was at a banquet where the opera singer performed. The church member said, “I had no idea you had such a gift. Why have you never used it at the church?”
The opera singer replied, “I was never asked.”
The opportunity was never offered to the opera singer and likewise the opera singer never freely offered to share her gift. We want you to share your gifts.
I know many of you do not have the gift of singing solos, teaching children or even being on a committee to plan church events.
Yet, I know many of our members have the gift of finan-cial planning and saving. I am asking you to share your gift. Help us say, “Yes,” to more opportunities to grow in minis-try. We are hoping to raise our annual offerings, so we can have an even bigger impact on our community to be a witness to God’s love for all people. You can help us grow with your gift.
Now I don’t want to leave out others who may be on fixed incomes or who give so generously already. You are the reason we have been able to do so much.
For all of us, there are many places we spend and give our money. I am asking you to prayerfully consider giving another $20 a week. It will add up to a big, YES for future growth!
Blessings, Rev. Trey Hegar