I’ve been a member of Highland Baptist for over 23 years now, nearly half my life, actually. That was a bit sobering for me when I started thinking about what I should say this morning.
When I started coming to Highland, Jim England was the interim minister… for the first time. The motto, so to speak, of Highland, was that it was a “thinking, feeling, healing” community of faith. That really drew me in. Having grown up in the SBC, but then being asked to not attend the SBC of my college years after I came out of the closet, meant that I had some healing to do. I did long for a community of faith where I could be myself, heal, feel,… and possibly think.
Since becoming active at Highland, I’ve been honored to serve as a deacon, on many ministry groups (or committees as they used to be called) and have found this to be my home. Recently I participated in the focus groups that Carol led helping inform her doctoral dissertation about theological trauma. Yet again, I was able to think about why church is still important to me. And to feel and heal with others in the focus groups as I heard their stories.
It is my prayer that others, like you and me, who yearn for that place of community, of acceptance, where we can draw closer to God and learn how we can do God’s work in our daily lives, will find their way into this place, Highland Baptist Church, and journey with us. That is why, we must give monetarily.
The theme for this year’s faithful giving campaign is “Faithful Giving, Today and Tomorrow”.
We must give today so this congregation can maintain, sustain, and grow. I don’t know about you, but just staying in tune with the news creates a huge need for this place for me. Possibly now more than in some years past. And a place for my teenage son, who is finding his way in this world with support and guidance from an amazing youth community.
I love that we at Highland Baptist specifically invest in our children, youth, young adults with amazing full-time pastors, who focus on those groups (and other duties, many other duties).
Back to those sessions with Carol… I suppose we could find a place of community elsewhere really. Work, school, a bowling league, a neighborhood, a civic club, a country club. But in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be doers of the Word that we may struggle to understand, to be part of the work of love… we need a community like this church that fuels us and challenges us to be our best selves, and to serve.
So, I challenge myself, and you, not to be complacent. To give joyfully and generously, not just for today, but for many tomorrows.
Pray with me please:
God, we thank you for this church, the ministers and staff, for this lovely space we can worship and learn how we can be part of the work of love in the world. We thank you that our needs are met. We praise you that we indeed have enough. May we give our money generously and joyfully.