For some months I have been in conversation with our Department of Social Concerns in regard to our monthly “Second Offering,” the offering we receive following Communion each first Sunday and continue to encourage participation in throughout the month. Because of my growing belief that support of meaningful programs and ministries is often a more effective use of your offerings than direct financial assistance to individuals I have asked that they endorse a new schedule for these offerings. They have done so and in November our Church Council joined with them in endorsing the new schedule.
Currently we are receiving the Fellowship Fund offering eight times a year and a denominational offering four times a year. We are going to shift to four Fellowship Fund offerings and eight other offerings. The new schedule will be:
- January: Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering
- February: Fellowship Fund
- March: America For Christ Offering (Home Missions and Regional Ministries)
- April: Alliance of Baptists “Bridges of Hope” Offering
- May: LABC Scholarship Fund
- June: Fellowship Fund
- July: One Great Hour of Sharing (National and International Redevelopment Efforts and Emergency Relief)
- August: LABC Scholarship Fund
- September: Fellowship Fund
- October: World Mission Offering (International Ministries American Baptist Churches USA)
- November: LABC Hunger Task Force for Thanksgiving and Adopt A Family Ministries
- December: Fellowship Fund
I trust that this new schedule will help us fulfill the responsibilities we have to our neighbors, both those we know well and those we will never meet. I have confidence that it will. In part, this confidence comes from the fact that I implemented a change in philosophy in regard to the use of the Fellowship Fund in September, greatly decreasing the amount of direct financial assistance to individuals we had been doing. This enabled us to play a role in supporting the International Refugee Committee, the program that helped meet the needs of the Congolese families that have been worshipping with us, to help some local college students go on a mission trip to Haiti, to participate in the support of both Rainbow Acres in Arizona and the Hopital Bon Samaritan in Limbe, Haiti as well as to help some individuals with medicine and housing.
To be a entrusted to be a good steward of your benevolence giving is both a high honor and a demanding task. I trust that our shared efforts will make an enduring difference for good in the lives of others.