Sometimes I think the word “missional” should be a verb. By that I mean for me the essence of living a missional life means to act. It means taking my thoughts and feelings about how God wants me to live and putting them into action. For instance, I know from scripture that Jesus wants me to help meet the needs of the poor. And I can feel that the elimination of poverty is a worthy cause. But if that is where it ends, then I’ve fallen short. It is in the act of doing that I live a missional life.
It seems in our busy, self-indulgent, debt-ridden society, often our good intentions end up being just that – intentions. Tomorrow becomes the day that we will take action. But tomorrow turns into today…
If we want to be sure to do something, we need to plan for it. A Gift Plan can help us turn our good intentions into acts of generosity. As we start into a new year, I want to encourage you and your family to develop a gift plan. If this is your first time doing this, start out by focusing on what you can do in 2008. An annual gift plan simply outlines what, how and to whom you and your family will give of your time, talents and treasure.
Step One: What?
Sit down with your family and talk through what each of you is passionate about. Consider all the possibilities such as:
• Evangelism • Poverty relief • Missions – local and international
• Youth ministries • Leadership development • Children, women, family issues
• Church planting • Camping ministries • The homeless
• Recovery programs
Listen to your children and hear where their interests lie. This is a great way to get them involved in giving. Pray together about each of the causes that you’ve identified. Ask God to direct you as you seek to determine how best you can make an impact in these areas. Ask God to challenge you as you seek to determine what time, talent and treasure you will commit this year.
Step Two: How?
Now that you’ve identified the needs you would like to address in your 2008 gift plan, it’s time to determine how you can make an impact. Consider each of they ways you can give:
• Time – can I make an impact in this area by giving my time? How much time each week or each month can I give?
• Talent – do I have skills and abilities that I can use to make an impact?
• Treasure – will the gift of money or other financial resources make an impact? How much can we commit to giving this year?
• Any combination of the above
Step Three: Who and Where?
Now it’s time to figure out where to give. One of the wonderful things about the body of Christ is that we can accomplish more together than each of us can on our own. Take some time to identify organizations through which you can give.
Start with your local church. Find out what your church is doing in the areas of need you have identified as a family. Consider your neighbourhood and your community. How can you minister to the people close to you by meeting their needs?
Find out what The Free Methodist Church in Canada is doing in each of these areas. Visit our website at www.fmc-canada.org and check out each of the ministry areas including:
• Global Ministries • Growth Ministries • Leadership Development
• Stewardship Ministries • Student Ministries
Also look at the Giving Streams information under Administration to find out about ways to give to the ongoing work across Canada and around the world.
You will also see a link on our home page to Affiliated Ministries. Take a look here and find out more about ministries such as:
• International Child Care Ministries • Clergy Care Network
• The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada • World Relief
Through our local churches, our national initiatives and our affiliated ministries, The Free Methodist Church in Canada can help your family find the best ways to give. And if God is leading you to meet a need outside of what the FMCIC is doing, there are many wonderful para-church organizations through which you can give.
Make today the day you turn your good intentions into action. Make “missional” a verb as you write the story of your life each day.
Joanne Bell is the Stewardship Development Director for The Free Methodist Church in Canada. To find out more you can visit the website www.generoussteward.org or contact Joanne by email [email protected]