I was speaking with a church council the other night. This is part of my ministry~to speak with other congregations about our ministry and to try to build relationships among churches, too. Our churches are often silos. We think what we have is ours and that we should control what we do with our buildings and our money and our talents. We forget that we are stewards of what God has given us and we are to share abundantly. God gives us enough, even an abundance, and if we share instead of hoard, we all will have enough. Do you believe that? I do.
I am deviating from how I started this entry, but I’ll continue with this thought and then return to the meeting, because this meeting was inspiring and energizing for me!
I was a Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher before being called to ministry. I was married at the time, and between my now-ex-husband and me we earned pretty close to a 6-figure income. The thing was, I never felt like we had enough. We often seemed to be worried about our finances.
Then we got divorced and I was a student making very little money. And the thing was, I had enough. and I felt like I had enough. I even started giving 10% of my income, little as it was, for offering. Now I am being paid more than as a student, and less than as a teacher, and I still feel that I have enough–most of the time. There are, of course, times I worry about money. And then I remember…I have enough. And I have a lot more than a lot of people. And I share. I still tithe.
And as Tapestry, we are a mission development, and we depend on funds graciously and generously donated from others. And yet we must give offerings, too, to our Synod and to other places we feel called to donate. And we have enough. And we are called to share, too.
So back to the council meeting. They were very generous with me, not in terms of money. We haven’t talked about that (yet!). But they listened. And they encouraged. And they asked questions. And they started to dream with me!
I did my internship at Jacob’s Well in Minneapolis. http://www.jacobs-well.net/ I learned many things there. I learned to dream. I learned that conversations about money follow conversations about vision, not vice versa. I learned that we are always thinking about who ISN’T here yet. I learned to ask, “What if…?”
So I asked some of these questions with this church council. We have some excellent cooks joining us for worship at Tapestry. Some of these cooks need employment. http://www.tapestrymn.org/who-we-are.html We are about community and building relationships. We are located across the street from Best Buy corporate offices. http://www.bestbuy.com/ What if we start a food truck ministry something like Shobi’s Table in St. Paul? http://shobistable.org/ But what if we use a “pay-what-you-can” model? Then we welcome people from different socio-economic strata to sit together. Maybe they’ll even strike up a conversation. Maybe they’ll build some kind of a relationship. I don’t know, but I think God would work in this kind of a ministry.
What do you think? The church council I spoke with was energized by this and by some other ideas! Dreaming. What if…