Pastor’s Ponderings

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great” (Proverbs 18:16).

As a pastor it has been my deliberate choice not to ask for money from the pulpit during a worship service. I believe that at other times and through other means we can address the financial needs and goals of our church and communicate the fiscal responsibility we have as the family of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

I know that one of the underlying reasons I am reluctant to ask for financial contributions from the pulpit stems from when I was a young person and for a period of time, the financial needs of the parish that I attended with my family was addressed from the pulpit on a number of occasions and I remember my father expressing his concerns about the repeated requests for financial support when many other concerns could have been addressed during the message time of the worship service.

Over the years, the Claybanks United Methodist Church has had its times of prosperity and its times of financial stress. The church family of the Claybanks United Methodist Church has continually responded and supported the needs of the church and our church family. Yet, as we begin a new year, make resolutions, and promises, I would be remiss if I did not encourage you and your continued support of the financial needs of our church. Periodically, we as members of the United Methodist Church, are asked to renew our covenant to faithfully participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. As a pastor who is the sheep dog of the

flock, I have the responsibility as a United Methodist pastor to make sure that the flock is well prepared to graze in green pastures. I am using this Pondering to meet one of the requirements that I have been given as a pastor assigned to a Methodist Congregation in that I am to encourage the congregation to be faithful supporters in your giving to our church and to other needs within our community. Scripture communicates to us: “Now he who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in Thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)

As the Financial Committee and Administrative Council assemble in the middle of January, the Claybanks United Methodist Church will set its annual budget for 2023. The Finance Committee and Administrative Council are very diligent in directing finances to meet the ongoing needs of our church and recognizing the resources that we have as a church family. We pray that we can count upon your support as we look at the many different ministries of our church and the needs of our community. It will be the responsibility of your church leadership to communicate those needs on an ongoing basis and request your support through prayers, presents, gifts and service as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the Claybanks United Methodist Church.

May blessings be bountiful for all in 2023. Pastor Gary

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