Posted: November 05, 2018
By Rick Summy, Senior Pastor
One of the definitions of stewardship is defined as “everything we do after we say we believe.” (I’m Lutheran enough to want to quibble and say that it is everything we do once God claims us, which happens at birth and is sealed in baptism.) Either way, everything we do once we belong to God certainly involves time, talent, and treasure.
Our stewardship theme this year is “Where our hearts are…” It’s grounded in scripture, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We’ve been sharing stories of SOTV ministries that meet needs, change lives, and restore hope both in our congregation and community. That’s where our hearts are. That’s where our mission is. That’s what we are called to continue to support in generous ways. With time. With talent. And, yes, with our treasure.
Has there ever been a more important time for a community of faith that is grounded in grace and love to be active in caring for others in the world around us?
Our generosity helps those right here in our congregation, in our greater community, around the country, and even around the world. Here is just a portion of what one new member recently wrote after she received a follow up note from one of our staff members: “I love worshiping at SOTV and am always touched by the words and music, feel challenged by the sermons and experience growth every Sunday! I look forward to great participation in the life of our church… I pray for you, the staff, our leadership and the congregation, that SOTV remain genuine and healthy in our mission of spiritual growth and serving our community and the world!” We minister in our community in so many ways—Sheridan Story (supporting children in food challenged families by filling a backpack with food each Friday), our support of the Dakota County Emergency Homeless Shelter, our own award-winning food shelf—and that’s just a small sample! Our gifts to the synod support campus and camping ministry, welcoming immigrants, and a new Young Adult Initiative, among many other ministries. And our generosity reaches around the world through our Tanzania ministry, and ELCA initiatives like Young Adults in Global Mission and Lutheran Disaster Relief.
SOTV has always had a passion to reach out and care. For the first time in eight years, our regular tithes and offerings this past year exceeded the prior year. Things are turning in a hopeful direction, but it’s still also true for us what one person shared with her congregation some years ago. “The congregation’s passion to fulfill God’s mission…exceeds its current giving.” We have strong leadership that makes sure our finances are fairly and faithfully spent. Our financial position is strong. But I believe our passion to do more is still stronger.
That’s why we are spending time telling stories and celebrating generosity this year. That’s why we are providing a variety of different ways to give. That’s why we will, once again, on our Stewardship Celebration Weekend, November 10-11, invite you to prayerful consider your Stewardship Lifestyle. We will ask you to respond to God’s love by 1) accepting the challenge to give regularly, and 2) accepting the challenge to increase your commitment to SOTV’s mission by increasing your regular giving one-half to one percent of your income.
May our response grow ever closer to matching our passion to fulfill God’s mission!