The rector’s ulterior motive

It’s been said in hushed tones that the Neighborhood Gatherings this coming week, sponsored by the stewardship committee, will actually be focused on money.

Well, duh.

We’re actually quite excited about the coming week. We hope people will spend some good time with old and new friends at St. Andrews, then give that fellowship some lasting depth by following it with a conversation about something important. Even if that subject is a little bit intimate, even as it challenges our comfort zones a bit.

But is there an ulterior motive here? To promise fellowship but to then talk about money? Doesn’t that seem a little improper, even sneaky?

Well, there is a little bit of an agenda here, and I freely admit it. But the ulterior motive is not what you think.

I don’t want to use “fellowship” as a way to actually talk about stewardship. Quite the opposite: I want to use stewardship as an excuse to deepen our fellowship.

If we are going to grow as a community, both in depth and breadth, we need to be ready to start talking with one another about what’s really going on in our lives. We desperately need the kind of fellowship in which friendships are made and healing begins. Coffee hour is a fine thing, but these intimate conversations are where the deeper stuff happens.

A church filled with folk who are willing to talk about faith, money, and any number of other naughty subjects is a spiritually vital place to be, and indeed is a church that will attract people who are hungry for authentic community.

A church where “we don’t talk about those kinds of things” does not have much of a future.

Let’s deepen our fellowship. This is the fellowship of disciples and apostles, who broke bread together and shared their lives with one another as a way of strengthening thier relationship with God.

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About bernardowens

I'm an Episcopal priest in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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