Well, the church finances are looking bleak so far this year. People haven’t stepped up and we’re short more than $30,000 for 2007 – after the obvious cuts. The shortfall is almost twice the savings we have in the bank. As pastor, I’ve been struggling to come up with a plan, but I can’t seem to find one. We’d have to get rid of more than one staff person or cut my pay in half or cut 75% of our mission giving or cut all of our program funding to make it work.
The options seem to be to cut back our ministry significantly – which would be a big step backwards – or to trust that our needs for ministry will be met somehow. But where is the line between trust in God and foolishness?
I have prayed and asked people to pray. God has been acting in our church, and I don’t believe that he’s done with us. Still, we have to make a decision before the end of the year. Well, I received a message today.
Johnny was “reading” his children’s Bible this morning, and he came up to a page with a picture of a fish with a coin in its mouth. “What’s this Daddy?” he asked.
It was the story of Jesus and Peter paying the Temple tax. They didn’t have any money so Jesus told Peter, “go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:24-27)
The children’s Bible stated confidently that we can trust God to provide for our needs. The message? If Jesus can provide for monetary needs with a fish, won’t he provide for our church? There are many possible ways for God to provide. There were 199 people in worship on Sunday. Can’t God move them to give? Or provide some other means of support?
Johnny pointing out this story as I was struggling this morning really felt like a message from God. “Don’t worry, Steve. We’ll get through this together.” I look forward to telling you how it works out.
If you read this posting, please pray for Trinity Church. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b