Tuesday, 21 January 2020 13:26 Be the first to comment!

Vision and Money

Vision and money often go together – to do new things often costs money, though not always. It’s easy to be so caught up in the bottom line that we forget to look to see what the money we commit achieves – and sometimes things we commit ourselves to don’t cost as much as we think.

Some examples from 2019 help make the point:

• Susan, our Curate (I hope that she will forgive me for using her as an example): While with us to train and develop her ministry, Susan is already making a significant difference to the ministry of the Team not just in Sunday services, but also what she is doing pastorally and in our Schools. The temptation is to think that she is costing us an arm and a leg, but our only cost as a Team is to pay her working expenses – the rest is paid by the Diocese.

• Jude, our Team Administrator (I hope that she too will forgive): While there is a cost for her services to which we contribute as part of the Team, she is already making a difference contributing to the time Steve has available for visiting and other pastoral work.

• The Boiler: We’ve recently changed from oil to gas boilers because the chimney was beginning to collapse. It would have cost half as much to repair the chimney as to replace the boiler, but the gas boilers will significantly reduce the fuel bill for heating the church. We expect them to pay for themselves in savings in the next few years, while having a projected lifespan of 30+ years. The PCC looked at it and thought it a wise investment.

It does cost money to run the church and to enable new things to happen, but while we have to be good stewards of the money entrusted to us, it is important that we are also able to properly resource what God is calling is to be and do as his people in this community.

Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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