Baptism, Budget and God's Mission
'I do ... and I ask God to help and guide me.'
This year, a number of things changed at St. Paul's. Among them, our budget process and the budget format itself. Because of these changes in process and plans, we haven't had a chance to adjust what we have come to know as our narrative or mission budget yet. In a narrative budget, we show how we use the resources allocated in the line-item budget to carry out God's mission. What we present this year, however, will be a line-item budget. Our line-item budget tells who we are going to pay or which program we intend to run. It communicates the specific uses that we have designated for the money collected in each of our four active funds: current fund, mission support, local mission and building. But, it is always a good idea at this time of year to consider and reflect the purposes of each of these ministries, as well as the importance of being part of a local congregation.
In worship on Sunday, January 8, the Festival of the Baptism of Our Lord, we returned to the covenant God made with us in our baptism, and we took time to reaffirm our promised response to the grace and mercy of God in Christ. There are five promises ... and these I think concisely express what God is doing in the world, and how God has graciously made us part of the ongoing story salvation and redemption. Here are the five baptismal responses ...
1. To live among God's faithful people;
2. To hear God's Word and share in the Sacraments;
3. To proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed;
4. To love all people following the example of Jesus Christ;
5. To strive for peace and justice in all the world.
Do you promise? Do you intend? We are asked, and we respond ... "I do and I ask God to help and guide me." The work of this congregation, and my work as your pastor, can be summed up like this: Everything we do, we do to help and guide each other in living into and out of the promises your made in baptism ... AND to help and guide others into the abundant blessings of grace and mercy we enjoy as members of the body of Christ. Everything. There is not one ministry, one program, one process that is not purposeful, at least by its intention or its design.
So we have a common purpose and that purpose is to proclaim the good new of Jesus Christ in word and deed. And so that purpose, that call to mission, becomes the guiding questions for us to set priorities, to make decisions and to judge the impact that each of our ministries has in the lives of the people of this congregation and in the community we serve.
We have organized our ministries at St. Paul's into ministries that primarily benefit those inside the fellowship of this community and those ministries that benefit those who essentially outside our community. Here's what I mean ...
Ministries for Your Benefit (Within the Fellowship)
Over the course of this year, I encourage you to participate fully in the ministries of this congregation, the ministries that help and guide you in living into and out of the promises of baptism, and the ministries the help and guide others into closer relationship with Jesus. God has blessed us with an abundance of resources and a part to play in God's mission to love, save and bless the world.
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