Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving a Little Extra

I almost brought this up a year ago, but I chose the cowardly act of silence. Now I am gathering up my courage, and I will dare to ask the question: "Is it possible for a district in the Missouri Conference to pay 100% of its conference apportionments?" Perhaps I should be bolder. Is it possible that Pony Express District churches could pay their conference apportionments in full in 2010?

Before answering, here are some facts. Our district completed 2009 with contributions equaling 95.1% of what we were apportioned as a group. Seventy-nine of our 92 churches paid 100%. Thanks to the commitment of our churches, we came very close to hitting that 100% mark last year!

Of the 13 that did not contribute all that was asked of them, only two gave nothing. (Both of those either have or will soon have given something in 2010). Nine of those who did not make 100% have allowed it to become habitual. Those nine have missed on anywhere from 4 to 18 consecutive years. Quite honestly, though, almost all of them have extenuating circumstances that tend to impoverish them as congregations.

Read more of Giving a Little Extra

--Steve Cox
They Laughed

"They laughed at him. They knew she was dead." (Luke 8:53-The Message)

We were in the middle of a conversation about the difficulties of being the Church in today's society. I asked those who were gathered for this annual review of church life to discuss the barriers that stand in the way of effectively leading members to a deeper and richer relationship with Christ. As usual, their answers included lack of commitment, too many other priorities, too many things to do and too little time to do them, people whose lives are going so well that they don't feel they need God, and other similar ideas. I then invited them to think about what one spiritual practice (prayer and worship, fasting, study, participating in Holy Communion, generous giving, Christian service, etc.) would have the greatest power to transform their members if their congregation practiced it with great consistency and intentionality.

After some small group conversations, I asked who had chosen prayer. A few hands went up.

I asked who had chosen fasting. No hands…then laughter…then a few side comments about how ridiculous it would be for Methodists, lovers of the fellowship meal, to consider fasting.

--Steve Cox

God Is Still In Control!
Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer
United Methodist Communications

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