Stepping Up and Stepping Out


Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is easy to believe what we see. It is easy for us to have faith in God when we have always done things the same way with seemingly successful results.   It reminds me of the old saying, “If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got.” Thus, when we are challenged to try something new or enhance what we have been doing, reluctance and fear can keep us from moving forward. As a result, not only do we get the same results, we limit ourselves (e.g., spiritual growth) and our trust in God’s ability to help us when we stay in our comfort zone.

The members of Wanda UMC in Roxana, have experienced God’s faithfulness. God has blessed the church and the members on many fronts. However, the tables were recently turned and we had an opportunity to demonstrate our faith in God by participating in what Herb Miller calls a spiritual growth, worship experience. According to Miller, this worship experience is part of Consecration Sunday, which is based on the philosophy of the “need of the giver to give” for his or her own spiritual development rather than on the “need of the church to receive.” Along those lines, Wanda UMC members’ stewardship was challenged.  More specifically, we were asked to step out on faith to increase our individual giving. 
With  Consecration Sunday as the foundation, members of the Consecration Team piqued our interest through “It’s Coming” signs posted throughout the church, the Heritage House (houses administrative offices, Sunday school classes, and group meetings), and in weekly church bulletins. A letter was mailed to each member reminding (or informing) them about Consecration Sunday. Weeks leading to Consecration Sunday, during worship services, Team members shared their giving testimonies and/or encouraged members to attend Consecration Sunday and make reservations for a catered luncheon. A week before the big day, members were introduced to the “Grow One Step” concept and were asked to be in prayer about their stewardship to God.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, our Consecration Sunday service went on without a hitch. The Rev. Phil Gardner was the guest speaker. Rev. Gardner, a retired United Methodist pastor and a member of the Council on Finance and Administration, challenged Wanda members to be “Good Stewards for Jesus Christ.”   He preached about the three legs of stewardship and how they should guide our giving.   At the conclusion of the service, members completed a pledge card. After the service, a wonderful buffet luncheon was held in the Church’s fellowship hall. Based on the great response to give for our own spiritual development, we look forward to stepping out of our comfort zone by enhancing our current ministries and establishing new ones as we strive to be the Church God has called us to be. It is a testament to our belief in God and our stewardship to Him.