Rustlings (November 7, 2016)

On Saturday morning, I made the familiar trek to the YMCA. I hopped on the treadmill and ran a few minutes more than I did the week before. It’s how I increase my stamina. I picked up some weights – just a few pounds more than I lifted the week before. It’s how I increase my strength. If I just do the same thing week after week, year after year, no progress is made.

On Sunday morning, November 20, our church will be called into conference. Our time of worship will provide the framework for voting on our Mission and Ministry Plan, as well as, our Committee on Committees report and voting on our nominated deacons. We will also vote to affirm all new members who have joined our congregation since our last conference. Our church conferences are never boring. They have consistently been a celebration of growth, strength and blessing. So, as we sing, pray and preach, we will integrate the affirmation of our 2017 budget, 2017 leadership, and welcome of a host of new members into the hour.

Our vote on the welcoming of new members will be our commitment to welcoming them into this faith family. It is our way of saying they will be loved, cared for, challenged and comforted as brothers and sisters. Our vote on the Committee on Committees report and deacons will be our commitment to prayerfully support those who have accepted roles of service among us. Our vote on the Mission and Ministry Plan will be our commitment to generously give our money to the continued care of this church’s ministries and ministers. When it comes to welcoming, prayerful support and financial gifts, I want to encourage you to give a little bit more in all these areas than you gave last year. Get to know a few more people; introduce yourself to a new member. Be regularly present in Sunday School, choir rehearsals, mission circles and ministry activities; support those who have volunteered to serve. Increase the amount and frequency of your financial gifts; give just a little bit more than you gave this past year. These small increases in presence, effort and giving are how we continue to grow stronger for the days and years to come.

— Jim