My musings this month have to do with vision – what does it mean for an organization, a congregation, a church to “have a vision?” You may belong to organizations with mission statements or who have held visioning events in order to cast a vision for their future. In our congregation, it is the session who casts the vision. When our session met on retreat this summer we cast a vision for what we hope and pray for the congregation of this church as we move forward into the future God has for us. Here are some highlights, phrased as a prayer:
We pray for continued outreach to the new residents in our community, offering this congregation as a place where they, too, can worship God in a community of believers.
We pray for a continued hunger to learn and grow in our faith. We are not “there yet” – there is much more to learn and many ways to personally grow in our lives of faith.
We pray for our music ministry, and give thanks for those who faithfully lead and serve. One of the most common compliments I hear from new visitors is about the quality of our music program. It is joy to worship God with hearts, hands and voices.
We pray for the mission partners we support with our funds, our material donations, and our volunteering. Together we ARE the church in the community and in the world. It is a blessing to give a tithe of all otherwise unrestricted gifts to the church to these mission causes.
We pray for the children and youth in our church. We know that a multi-generational church is a healthy church, and we give thanks for the children and youth who are part of our church family and pray that we will be a welcoming place for younger families to worship, to be loved by the older generations and to grow in faith together.
We pray for the stewardship of the property – the green spaces as well as the building – that God has given us to manage and use for God’s glory. We live in a beautiful corner of the world and we are humbled by the blessing of this property.
We pray for the ministry of each member and friend of the congregation – YOU are the church. Some churches have a sign over their exit doors that reads “you are now entering the mission field.” Those signs are a reminder that we gather as a congregation, then disperse to live our lives of faith in the world in which we are planted.
We pray for the opportunity to continue to be a blessing to this community.
This month is the month we solicit pledges for donations for the coming year. We have lost a few larger donors in the past year, and are in need of a few new people to step up and support the church and its ministry. Will that be you?
A few weeks ago we heard the story of Esther, the young Jewish queen of Persia, who was able, by her position, to save her people from annihilation. When she hesitated risking her life for the life of her people, her uncle said to her, “Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14 MSG) This November, I’d like to you consider how you allocate your charitable giving. Maybe you are here for “just such a time as this.”