Stewardship is defined quite simply: “Giving Back to God Through Our Time, Talents and Treasures”. Today, we are expanding on the third piece of the stewardship pie — treasure.
Stewardship in the Scriptures always relates to the management of something that does not belong to us, but to God. Even our talents and special abilities belong to God. We own nothing that was not first given to us. God has entrusted us with aptitudes and abilities, and as good stewards, we must use them for His glory and not our own.
Just the Facts, Ma’am!
Before we talk about the “why’s” and “how’s” of serving, let’s first take a look at where we are today here at St. Peter’s in terms of volunteering. We now have 1,542 active members. Of those members, 565 people are currently participating in some type of volunteering. (this does not include social activities such as 50 Plus) This equates to roughly 37% of all active members serving in some capacity in a ministry at St. Peters. Many of these folks serve on more than one committee, averaging between three and four committees per person.
The flip side of this is that there are 63% of our members who have not yet discerned which ministry or activity fits their interests and talents. We of course recognize that many do other things to serve Christ’s ministry outside of our church walls which is also a valuable part of our stewardship walk.
As of September 2013, we have a total of 105 committees or opportunities to serve. In order to keep this many programs running, we need your help. Read on to learn more about how you can, with God’s guidance, determine how you might be able to get involved here at St. Peter’s.
Discerning Your Gifts
For many of us, we want to serve but we don’t know how. What are my gifts? How can I give back? Stewardship of time and talent is believing that God has created each one of us with unique abilities and attributes – including our personalities, interests, motivations, life experiences, talents and skills, hopes and dreams – which make us who we are. Sometimes the word “talent” can be overwhelming. We think that “talented people” must be extraordinary achievers or have easily identifiable gifts such as musical ability or artistic talent. But we must remember that each one of us was created by God and was given the ability to serve God and each other in some way.
Talents can be as simple as being a good listener, relating well to children or teens, being patient with others, as well as many other less-recognized gifts. As Christians, we recognize that our gifts of talents and skills are meant to be cultivated and shared with others – our family, our friends, our parish community, and the world.
A good first step in recognizing the talents you have been given is discernment through prayer. When we regularly pray about our gifts and how God is calling us to use them, we are more likely to be finding God’s calling for us.
In addition to prayer, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help discern your calling: What energizes me? What are the deep and persistent desires or tugs in my life…tugs that won’t go away and keep returning? What new opportunities are opening up in my life? What doors seem to be closing? What directions or decisions bring me a sense of inner peace?
What Does God Say?
From the beginning, God has empowered people to do His work through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Throughout Scripture, we find examples of God using people to accomplish His work. In Ephesians 4:16, God gives us His blueprint for growth and building up of the church which is that everyone does their part. God wants us to be instruments of His grace to other people in specific ways through the use of the gifts He has given (1 Peter 4:9-11).
Furthermore, Jesus made disciples of the most common, ordinary people. When calling the twelve disciples, Simon Peter and Andrew were “casting a net into the lake” when Jesus said, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:18-19). James and John “were in a boat with their father.” (Matthew 4:21) and Matthew was “sitting at the tax collector’s booth.” (Matthew 9:9). We are all important to God – we can all serve.
Lastly, God sees every ministry as important. The part each person has to do is paralleled to the interdependent working of all the parts of the human body. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’. God emphasizes that all the members of the body of Christ are equally important.
When you spend time volunteering, you feel more connected to Jesus, his teachings and the way of life that he practiced and advocated.
Some of the other benefits of using our time and talents include:
- Make a significant contribution.
Large or small, every contribution is important and significant!
- Make new friends
- Have FUN!
- Learn something new
- Add variety to your life
- Gain new skills
We would like to challenge anyone who has not yet participated in a service role at St. Peter’s to give it a try – pray about it, and think about what interests you and how you can get involved.
Committee chairpersons and current volunteers, we challenge you to invite people to come to your next meeting and see what it’s all about. Encourage others to experience the same joy you have in helping others through our ministries.
Just as you come to St. Peter’s for spiritual fulfillment and fellowship with the word and sacrament, St. Peter’s reaches out to YOU to further your spiritual fulfillment and fellowship through service. Please prayerfully consider how you can be a “disciple in action”!