Dear NT-NL Leaders:
Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of All Saints which will likely be observed this coming weekend in your worship. Oftentimes we remember those who have died in the previous year. Some congregations give thanks for those who have been baptized also in the past year. A practice I have encouraged and we have modeled at Synod Assembly. A reminder that “the saints” are all those baptized into Christ living and dead who gather together at the feast of Christ.
All Saints is an opportunity for us as leaders to remind ourselves and the assembly that the church is not a building, or a particular gathering of worshippers, but is a body called together by the Holy Spirit and drawn together by the waters of baptism. Our role as the living saints then is to steward the abundance of God for the work of proclaiming and inviting others into this body.
During the fall and particularly in November many congregations will engage in stewardship programs. I pray that you will be intentional in your invitation to those in your community to make a commitment of their time, talent, and treasure to the work the saints are called to be about. Stewardship that is more than an offering commitment but a way of seeing God’s world not through the lens of secular political economy but with the eyes of the baptized who understand all that we “possess” is in fact God’s and is for the proclamation of the gospel.
This fall I have been a part of several conversations with leaders about the stewardship of property. Some are looking towards improvements, expansion, and/or long overdue maintenance. Others are considering or engaged in selling all or a portion of property. In all of these conversations my encouragement to them is that the primary purpose of the church, to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, should be the deciding factor in their decisions. How does this asset contribute to the work of the church as a whole, which includes but is not limited to one institution or congregation.
God has entrusted us both individually and collectively with resources for mission. This includes all that we “possess” including our very lives. As we remember the saints may we work together in mission to steward all that we are and have responsibility for to ensure that in the future the message of the gospel continues to be proclaimed. As synod we provide resources for these conversations and invite you to invite your synod staff to have these conversations. God has blessed us with abundance, may we wisely discern how best to steward that abundance.
In Mission Together,