How often have you had a great idea that you shared with your church committee, your session, or members of your congregation, only to be told, “we don’t have the money” or “that isn’t in the budget.” Too often we focus on raising the money first and then thinking about how we can advance the mission.
It’s true in order to fulfill our mission, we must also ensure that there is money to fund all the worthwhile programs and projects we have envisioned. It’s also true that our mission – our programs and projects – bring people into our communities of faith. They become blessed by a ministry we offer and they begin to envision their own need to give and become generous participants in the ministries of our church.
Kerry Alys Robinson in Imagining Abundance says, “Given the choice of which to act on first, choose mission every single time. Commit to a mission, ensure that everything is being done to be worthy of generosity, recognize and act on the potential at hand, bring energy and passion, joy and innovation to the equation, and see how quickly money follows mission.”
Let me challenge you to an important exercise. Spend some time together as a session, as a Sunday School class, as a pastor, and answer the following questions.
- What is your mission?
- Is it relevant?
- Does it respond to an unmet need?
- Is it urgent?
- Is it clear?
- Is it compelling?
- If we ceased to exist, would it really matter?
Stewardship is about being committed to our mission and to a vision of where we want to go and who we want to be. It’s about living out our mission and vision in all that we do and say.
When you can articulate a passion for your mission and vision, your enthusiasm will be contagious. You will inspire others to live in that same mission and vision to the extent that unrealized potential will be revealed.
You will be able to see an abundance of resources, and no longer will your mission be guided by scarcity. Money will indeed follow mission.
Deborah Rexrode, Associate for Stewardship
Presbytery of the James