Last Wednesday I was given $897, and I’m giving it to RCC to figure out what to do with it.
This money is left over from a job training program I started at my last church called New Life Toys. New Life Toys was a used toy store in a poor Rochester neighborhood that the church adopted. It’s ministry was to prepare people to enter the world of work. Employees received used toys from other churches, fixed them, then sold them in the neighborhood. The last time we ran the toy store the profit was $897. Then Covid came and closed the ministry.
So now we have $897.00. What do we do with it?
I don’t have an agenda for the money, but I do have an agenda and it’s related to our Experiencing God study. I want us to practice hearing from God as a congregation. That’s key to growing this ministry and advancing God’s kingdom in Henrietta.
I can think of several ways we could fumble the ball on this “listening experiment”, as I called it in the message on Sunday. Probably the likeliest way is to not take it seriously. After all, $897 isn’t a huge sum. We could say “let the Elders decide” or “just give it to Open Door Mission.” Those are fine ideas. But are they God’s idea?
What if in 5 years RCC has grown to 300 members and now instead of $897 to play with we have $8900? Or even $89,000? We will want to have learned how to hear from God. Jesus said in the parable of the talents You have been faithful over a little, I will put you in charge of much (Mt. 25:21). It starts with being faithful over a little.
OK, so how do we as a body hear from God? Blackaby discusses this in chapter 10. A key is allowing God’s activity to be expressed among us. We’re doing this during Sunday worship when Nancy invites us to praise God for his working in our lives. We do this in our prayer of thanksgiving around the communion table. You’re doing this, I hope, in your small group. If you’re not expressing God’s activity in your life, you’re saying “My life is boring. God’s not doing anything.” Likewise if a church takes that stance, it’s a boring church.
Another key is being alert to what God is speaking to you. These are the “whispers” and “prompts” I spoke about in the message. They’re not all going to pan out, but when we share them little light bulbs start going off over other peoples’ heads. Sometimes we get flooded with ideas and have to pick one, which calls for group discernment. But I want to encourage people sharing what they feel God is saying to them. That takes humility because we have to leave open the possibility that we might be wrong. It also takes energy because we might be right – and now we’ve got an assignment to follow through on.
One person approached me after service with this idea: use the money to buy bibles for inner-city kids. What do you think?
All ideas will be brought to the Elders.
Remember the third of the “Seven Realities” the author talks about? It’s this: “God invites you to become involved with him in his work.” In later chapters the author Next week we’ll study chapter 4, “Love and God’s Invitation”. , Henry Blackaby, says “God is always at work around you”. : to help us as a congregation get good at hearing God’s will for our ministry.