In Touch July 3, 2009
Posted on July 3, 2009 by under Touché,

 “Hey, Shout, Summer Time Blues”  


The apostle Paul urges Timothy to be urgent in season and out of season.  When it comes to our finances and giving, we need to heed Paul’s advice.  The summer is a season of the blues in giving to the church.  Our weekly giving tends to drop through July and August.  We have new financial tools to help us be urgent out of season.In my personal account, through Fidelity bill pay, I can designate a weekly check be cut for the church.  I need not write a check, and while I am vacationing in Michigan I can continue to support the ministry at HRC.  We are looking into other giving tools that will help us all be faithful in season and out.  We had our best giving Sunday of the year the first Sunday of June, and we had our worst giving Sunday of the year the last Sunday of June.  Our hope is that we can have consistent giving throughout the year.  I encourage you to be urgent in your giving in whatever way you choose through the summer months.  We do not want to be shouting the summer time blues at Hopewell.


The deeper issue, though, is that we are in an “out season” with our economy and we are  “in season” with our spending for staff, for planting and for growth. Our plan for these years of living into “The Next 250”  included significant income from our investments through our endowment.  That income is diminishing substantially.  Our plan was also based upon growth in income in our giving through an increase in givers and giving to HRC.  Currently our ‘09 giving stands at -4.7 percent.  These are challenges for us in 2009 that will increase in 2010.  I don’t want to start shouting yet, but I do think we all need to be praying now.  Finances always reflect our faith:  the foundation of giving is spiritual.  When we recognize the grace of God in our lives, our pockets reflect the grace of God in our giving.


When I speak about prayer and giving I am reminded of times that I have seen the dramatic faithfulness of God.  I mentioned that the first Sunday of June was our best giving Sunday of the year.  It was the week after that Sunday that I remembered that I did pray that God would bless our giving that Sunday in a special way.  God did.  The $21,000 + that was given that day shocked me, but the sad thing was I did not even remember or consider that I prayed for that earlier in the week.  It was a couple days later as I was trying to figure out what happened that I remembered–oh yeah Taylor, remember you prayed! 


So my first invitation is not to give, but to pray.  Let God speak to you about how you respond to the challenges in the work of the kingdom through HRC.  I believe when we get the prayer right and our faith in focus that finances will follow.  I will pray that today and trust God for the challenges of tomorrow.


In faith,