A Special Thanks
At the church where I served as a summer intern many years ago, I observed a dysfunctional leadership board first-hand. Meetings were tense, and the agenda was dominated by a treasurer who considered the church funds as something to be hoarded. As a result, the treasurer would not give the board complete financial reports, for fear that they would spend the money if they realized the amount on-hand. I have a vivid memory of standing in the office of the lead pastor as he bemoaned the obstacle he was consistently encountering.
Where am I going with this? (I know you must be wondering!)
For the past five years, I have enjoyed the opportunity of working with one of the most gifted leaders I know. Last Thursday, Terry Taber stepped down as the chairman of Pearce’s Official Board. I don’t think I can say how much Terry’s leadership has impacted me, both as a pastor and as a person. Under Terry, our Board meetings have been in marked contrast to those meetings I experienced as an intern. Meetings have been filled with a sense of joy, as we’ve sought ways to be a church that demonstrates lives of Christian generosity in every way possible. Thank you, Terry! (I hope you take the opportunity to express to Terry your appreciation on behalf of the entire Pearce family.)
The new chair of the Official Board is Jim Morton. Pearce has been Jim’s church home his entire life, and I know he has a deep love for this church and a deep passion for its ministry. I encourage you to lift Jim up Jim in prayer as he assumes this area of responsibility.
Also assuming new roles of leadership: Mike Wilson was elected to serve as the vice-chairman of the Board, as well as the chair of the Finance Committee; Bill Christopher will continue to chair the Policy Committee; and Beth Bellinger assumes leadership of the Personnel Committee.
Pearce is blessed to have such gifted and godly leaders!
Stewardship with a Goal, or SWAG as we affectionately refer to it, is a challenge to each of us to free resources for ministry. It’s more than an emphasis on giving; it’s a way of life. It can be considered in this light, “How can I free up resources to facilitate our church’s ministry?” I’m encouraging each of us to give a bit more to help address particular needs at Pearce. I’m hoping that, together, we will be able to free up an additional $200,000 in 2013.
And you have been responding beautifully! As of this past Sunday, we have received a total of $15,373 towards the list of projects approved by our church’s Official Board. Thanks!
If you would like to participate, simply note “SWAG” on your check or offering envelope.
Saturday Evening Update
Saturday evening worship services were launched at Pearce on September 3, 2011. (Although our church held Saturday services in the 1990s, they were discontinued after a few years.) The service presently averages around 60 in attendance, although on the evening before clocks were changed, due to Daylight Savings Time, we had 97 in attendance. Evidently some people wanted to grab an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning!
I continue to receive many positive comments from those who regularly attend this service. People comment on the quiet, reflective nature of the service and the more intimate feel of the Parmerter Chapel setting.
We are going to celebrate the ongoing ministry of the Saturday evening service on April 13, following the worship service with a dinner catered by our own Jim Heeks. This will provide a wonderful time for those who regularly attend the Saturday worship service to build relationships with others.
Tickets for this event are $6 per person ($20 family maximum) and may be purchased before or after the Saturday service on the next three weekends. Tickets must be purchased by Tuesday, April 9.
Tithing: Burden or Opportunity
Many Christians view tithing as an obligation or legalistic requirement which burdens us. Some say, “I’ll tithe if we have money left over at the end of the month.” Others see tithing as an opportunity to share what God has provided for them to further His Kingdom in a variety of ways.
Two weeks ago, I suggested an “assignment” associated with tithing. Did you try it? Did you notice the shift from burden to opportunity as you compare the Old Testament with the New?
The passages from the Old Testament (Leviticus 27:30, 32; Deuteronomy 14:22) are quite specific and use phrases such as “is God’s,” “is holy to God.” At one point it clearly states: “Make an offering of ten percent.” Little room is left for interpretation; the instruction is quite pointed.
But then a shift takes place in the New Testament. Consider 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, as rendered by The Message. There, one notices phrases such as these: “incredibly happy, though desperately poor,” “an outpouring of pure and generous gifts,” “far more than they could afford,” and “totally spontaneous.”
It’s quite a contrast, isn’t it?
Consider also the attitudes expressed by the Christians of the Early Church in Acts 4:32-37. As you seek God’s guidance in your giving, look for ways to move from obligation to opportunity.
Honoring Faithfulness Over the Long Haul
Last week, the funeral for Gertrude Reed was held in Pearce’s sanctuary. Gertrude passed away within a couple of weeks following her 99th birthday. She was, for many years, the oldest member of our church and a beautiful example of a life of faith.
Pastor Harold and I were recently wondering who is now Pearce’s oldest member. We discovered that it is Carl Strobel. Pastor Harold recently visited Carl. I asked him to jot down a few notes about his visit.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting with the eldest member of Pearce Memorial Church. Carl Strobel turned 97 on December 15, 2012, and is a resident of the Livingston County Center for Nursing Care in Mt. Morris. Bob Maier accompanied me on this pastoral visit and we had a delightful time. Carl couldn’t call me by name, but he lit up when I walked into the room and he knew I was a pastor from Pearce Church. I said, “Carl, do you remember me?” And, with a huge smile he said, “Sure, I remember you!” Then Carl gave me a strong handshake. It was a very special time as we visited, read scripture, and prayed with this dear saint who still considers Pearce his home church.
Seeking God’s Healing
This Sunday, March 24, those interested in receiving anointment for healing are invited to meet with the pastoral team in Pearce’s sanctuary, following the 10:30 am worship service. In this brief, informal gathering, we welcome those desiring to be anointed during a time of prayer.