“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NRSV)
Pastor Derek Hoven shares a mission support story from Salem, Orlando.
As our congregational council prepared our 2016 mission spending plan we were looking back at several years of declines in giving and looking forward with a new hope. Our mission support for the synod was set at 5% of our undesignated giving. After spending time in scripture, prayer, and conversation the council recommended to the congregation an increase in the mission spending plan, including an increase in our mission support to 10%. This increase was a step out in faith as the expected giving for 2016 fell short of the proposed mission spending plan.
The conversation that led to this recommendation and its unanimous approval by the congregation included several key points. One person remembered a time when the congregation had provided mission support at a higher level and found it faithful to get back to what we used to do. Another thought it important that we be challenged as a congregation. Another found power in the move to live out of a mindset of God’s abundance rather than a mindset of scarcity. Another suggested that the congregation’s spending ought to be a model of faithful giving. All of these contributions to the conversation helped us to take this step together.
One of our core values as a congregation is integrity – keeping our commitments. God’s abundant grace has empowered us to keep our mission spending commitments in 2016 and we look forward to where God is taking us in the year to come.