Written by Pastor Jay Rudi
At our first confirmation class of the year, we learned that God has created us to be partners, caretakers, and stewards of creation. We learned importantly that we’ve been made for the sake of relationship with God and that God wants to be in relationship with us. It’s the whole reason we’ve been created, for a dynamic and life-giving relationship with the one who formed us and made us.
That message is found in the beginning of the Biblical story, and it tells us why we are here and what our purpose is in life.
It’s the message of our Christian faith.
Now, where do you hear that message? On the news? On social media? On the playground? In the boardroom? Maybe. But probably not.
But you DO hear that life-changing message at Oak Knoll Lutheran Church.
We have a vital and life changing message to tell. And we’re telling it.
The Apostle Paul asks, “how are they to hear if no one tells them?” If we don’t tell the story, if we don’t remind each other who and whose we are, God’s beloved children, then who will?
Faith matters. This church named Oak Knoll matters because it’s an expression of God’s purpose. As a congregation, we are charged with telling the most important story and living it out in community.
It’s a story that shapes us to forgive, even when we don’t feel like forgiving.
It’s a story that shows us that we have a place at God’s table, even when we don’t think we’re worthy.
It’s a story that leads us to be generous with others, so they too can experience the story and be transformed by it.
Churches all around the country are facing challenging times. COVID has changed habits and worship attendance has suffered. Inflation has affected everyone and made life more expensive.
And here at Oak Knoll, many of our generous givers have died in the past few years. We’ve been able to live out and tell God’s story because of those past givers’ faithfulness.
Now it’s our turn to step up to the challenge. In the coming weeks we will share our plans to grow our giving $40,000. If the two hundred giving families at Oak Knoll each gave an additional $200 a year, we’d meet that goal easily. Another way to view this challenge is if each family increased their gifts an additional $3.85 a week we would continue to grow our ministry. If you are able to increase your gift more that would be a blessing. I know that some of you are more able to share out of your abundance than others, and that to whom much is given, more is expected. Can you do more? That will be for you to discern and what you will prioritize.
As you consider your giving for 2024, I am hopeful that you will prioritize our ministry together and recognize how important it is not only for our own faith life but also for those whom our ministry impacts. Growing the fruitfulness of God’s kingdom is why we are here. We’ve done this in the past. And I believe God is calling us to continue that work strongly into the future.
If you do give now, THANK YOU!! You are making a world of difference in the lives of people touched by our ministry. And I trust that you’ve been changed and grown in faith as you’ve lived out your own generosity.
If you haven’t considered giving in the past, I am asking you to do so for the sake of our church community and its ministry.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our work together and your partnership in it.
Peace be with you,
Pastor Jay Rudi