At the moment, the Stewardship Committee at Christ Church is a small band of disciples – even now being reconstituted – not knowing exactly what the challenges and obstacles will be found on the road ahead. Like Abraham and Sarah called by God to journey to the land of Canaan even as they were unsure of the way, the Stewardship Committee (and all of us at Christ Church) shall forge forward led by the inspiration and generosity of God. As Abraham and Sarah trusted, even and especially in the face of doubt and bewilderment, they fulfilled God's will. They believed and trusted that God would guide and care for them along the way. (Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1)

 Most of us live with a mind-set and vision focused on achievable goals – a lifestyle for ourselves; a particular job and profession signifying self-esteem, assurance and pride; a comfortable income by which we can live and thrive; family and a community that will embrace us with love, affirmation and assurance.

 We all have a sense of “success,” meaning being able to achieve our goals. As members of Christ Church, we "translate" these hopes for success and achievement by means of numbers. We do so as we tally up end-of-year income by annual pledges, income realized through special gifts and the fulfillment of our HVAC pledges, sizing up the total dollars of the Christ Church Foundation, tallying the number of folks attending worship on a typical Sunday morning, (what is referred to by the wider church as ASA, or average Sunday attendance) as well as numbers of pledging units even as we fret about people who call Christ Church their spiritual home from whom we have record of pledge support or financial giving.

 Our fixation on numbers creates great anxiety, especially due to recent surveys indicating that the vitality (measured by numbers) of most mainline churches is in dramatic decline. Many Episcopal Churches, including Christ Church, are not what they once were. Attendance, measures of financial support and especially a congregation’s connectivity to the mission of the church has dramatically changed. As the title of Clif Christopher's book suggests, Not Your Parents' Offering Plate, measures of “success” and the means to fulfill the mission of the church must be re-formed and made new.  

Christ Church must unleash a new ways of doing and being "church," especially in regards to stewardship (returning a fair portion of our blessings to God and others). We can fret about and feel overwhelmed about all the changes taking place all around us and in us, or we can turn about (the meaning of conversion) to face the future with a newly-forming faith welcoming change.   We are being given a marvelous opportunity to reclaim our roots – grounded in God and Jesus.  The challenge before us at Christ Church is to discern the deep, abiding Grace of God in our call to a new and renewed mission. Can we give up our fascination with numbers, seeking rather the Word and Will of God? Can we wean ourselves of the snazzy, silky, smooth way of doing and being church shaped by culture? Can we, by forging a renewed commitment to prayer, devotion to God as well as discerning the will of God in scripture find our way to the everlasting, never-failing promises of God? I believe we can, and we will by God’s grace.