By Rev. Leslie Stewart
I say a few prayers during the service that no one gets to hear.
Sometimes the people serving at the altar hear me murmuring.
I say one of those prayers during a high point of the service when the bread, wine and monetary offerings are brought up from the congregation and we all sing the Doxology: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise him all creatures here below!”
As the usher holds up the collection plate, I raise my hand toward it, and this is what I pray:
“Father accept these gifts from your people. Set them apart for your holy use. Bless and multiply them in your name and for your glory.”
And that’s exactly what we’ve done together.
The joy in church planting is that it’s a church we create together. All our ministries, all the impact we’ve made in the community, the sign of hope that we are to the world that Jesus’s love is among them and reaching out to them … that’s what we all do together.
And we have much work to continue in this coming year.
Stewardship is all that we offer to God from the abundance of our lives and from the joyful realization that He is our Source.
It’s by his grace that we have the time, talents, and treasures to sow into his Kingdom.
You may have noticed that after the monetary offerings are blessed, I bow in recognition that these have now been set apart for holy work. The usher bows, too … not to me … but in reverence of the cross behind me. It is at the Lord’s feet that we present these gifts in gratitude and thanksgiving.
Prayers for the future
The extent of our reach and the effectiveness of our ministries next year depend on our offerings, and that’s why I’m making the pledge cards available now so your families can begin to pray about what God is calling you to present as a gift this year.
We have much to be thankful for in this season. We’ve accomplished much but there is still more to do.
I’m praying for you, as I hope you pray for me, as we discern together all that God is calling us to.
I pray you are preparing your heart as we get ready for New Beginnings Sunday on November 10. We’ll present our pledge cards then and have a celebratory brunch to celebrate what God is doing in our midst.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!