Adapted from a Moment for Stewardship delivered to the congregation in October 2017 by WPC member Steve Guy.
By Steve Guy
They have asked me to speak to you about stewardship and giving. Yeah, it’s fun when you get that call, right? Why me, Lord? Julia’s done so well speaking this morning, and now I am going to take a crack at it.
When I thought about what I wanted to say to you, some childhood experiences came to mind. I’m a child psychologist, so I know the importance of childhood experiences on where we are as an adult. I remember it was Palm Sunday. They had a conversation about giving in my church, and I remember being very upset about that. I was young, but I still knew it didn’t belong there. It hindered my worship experience that day, but the conversation does belong somewhere. I’ve been on a pastoral nominating committee, I’ve been a Deacon representative to the Session, and I’ve seen the importance of giving to the life of the church, so I hope you’ll tolerate this conversation now.
My other memory that I want to share was when I was a young person. I attended a church called Roselawn Baptist Church. It was in a part of town that was trending down in urban Cincinnati. Our church leaders wanted to build a brand new church in the northern suburbs in Montgomery, Ohio. I can remember we had a capital campaign, and you know every capital campaign has that thermometer where you’re judging, are you going to make the mark? Are you going to hit the number? And we weren’t getting there.
So, there was some question about whether we were going to build this church. A wealthy family in our church stepped up and gave half of the remaining amount to make it happen, and they challenged our church to come up with the rest. I can remember, even as a young person, sitting around the table. My parents were talking about the project. They were excited about the possibility. I remember them getting out their checkbook and looking at their bills and finding ways that they could give more, to make this project happen. And a lot of other people did the same thing. I can remember the great celebration in our church when we hit that number and we built this brand new church. I have always felt very proud to have been a part of that. It’s a powerful thing when you feel pride and ownership in your church.
That church has since blossomed and grown. There’s a school there now. What was, at the time I thought, a very large sanctuary is now the lobby of that church. It’s a thriving church community, and I’ve always been proud to be a part of planting that seed and that my family sacrificed to make it happen.
I feel the same sense of pride and excitement about what we are doing here at Worthington Presbyterian Church. Our church now has an incredible leadership team in place. We are fully staffed. We have old programs being revitalized and new programs growing. I’m not sure if all of you know this, but there were a few families in our church who stepped up and gave additional money to make sure that we had the salaries to make that happen. Our finance committee also arranged for extra money to be available so we could have all our staff in place. Those are temporary commitments that are going away. I challenge you to find ways so that we keep our leadership team in place. Suzanne and I have always tried to spread our giving around to a variety of institutions that have impacted us or that we believe are important charities. We have also found ourselves giving more, directly to Worthington Presbyterian Church. We value this place and what is happening here.
The thing I’m most excited about is our youth program. I have two teenage boys. Youth group for me was an important part of my faith development. A few years ago, we were concerned that our youth group program wasn’t going to engage our children, so much so that we even considered looking around at other churches. Again, I believe early life experiences impact who you are as an adult, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m not worried anymore. I’m excited! There are a lot of wonderful things going on. I encourage any of you to stop by at 6 o’clock on a Sunday night and peek through the windows at Fellowship Hall. It’s a thriving Youth Group. There are a bunch of kids in there having fun and learning about God. Brian and the volunteers are doing a fantastic job with that group. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm that’s growing there. Of course, I’d encourage you to stop by and peek in after you’ve gone to the 5 o’clock New Connections service, which is something else I’m excited about! We’re hoping for more people to come.
We are reaching out to the community in new and powerful ways. Please continue to pray for the youth group, the new worship service and all of our ministers. Worthington Presbyterian Church is growing in incredible ways. There is good work going on all over our church, and I would hope there are things that make you excited and proud. I pray that you will find ways to be generous so that our church can continue to grow for the glory of God.