Pastor Jeff's Office Hours:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 In the Beacon this month, we are taking some space to talk about the financial state of OBC. With that in mind, I’m asking and (hopefully) answering these two questions: Why give to the church? Why give now, especially?
1. Giving to the church helps us to remember that we are grateful to God for everything we have. Helps us to remember that we are grateful? What do I mean by that? Well, just this: It’s SO supremely easy to forget all the good things we have in life and focus on the bad stuff that’s going on. It’s so easy to take for granted all the good gifts we have been given and to forget to thank the Giver. It’s especially easy to do that in a time of trouble, because we can become focused on the bad things going on around us. Our prayers can focus on asking God for protection and help, and its right to ask God for those things. When we attend worship and the plates are passed, it’s like we are being asked to remember our gratitude to God for all good things— especially for the forgiveness and promise of eternal life He has given through Jesus. When we prepare our offering before worship, bring it with us to church, put it in the plate as it comes to us, it focuses our minds on what we are doing—and makes us consider why we are doing it! We are doing it because we are thankful to God for all the good things He provides and for Jesus Christ His Son who loves us and went to the cross for us. This is really good for us, especially in a time of trouble like this one, because when we remember how faithful God has been in the past—giving us so much and helping us make it through tough times to get where we are today—then we can gain hope and peace even now!
2. When we give to the church, we are really giving to the Lord. The Church is the Body of Christ. So when we give to support our local church, we aren’t just giving to the building, or to the congregation, or to the leadership, or even to support certain ministries—we are giving to the Lord. So another reason we are giving is because we want to honor Jesus and we want to be part of what He is doing in the world!
3. Some Good News: God is blessing the ministry we ARE still able to do! Of course, like everyone else, the ministry of the church is disrupted by this pandemic and the shutdowns because of it. We scrambled to turn the small live stream that we were doing into a full-blown online service and to make it as uplifting, comforting and God-honoring as possible! We still tweak it weekly. Of course, this situation is less than ideal. We’d much prefer to be meeting together in person and everyone would rather that none of this had ever happened. However, God has been blessing our online worship services. If you have not taken a look at the Ogunquit Baptist Church YouTube page, I encourage you to go and do so and to be encouraged by what you see. Our videos are reaching beyond our congregation. Let me just give you the top three worship service videos and numbers of views. (And by the way, as I understand it, a “view” on YouTube is only given when someone watches a significant portion of the video.) Here they are: Our June 21st video now has 250 views; June 7th has 352 views; and May 31st now has 522 views! Praise God! Let’s pray this trend will continue when we come back together in person!
4. When we give to OBC, we can make a real difference, right now. Jim Hackendorf, our church treasurer, has written an article for this newsletter letting you know the numbers on how the church is doing financially. Like most organizations in Ogunquit, the church relies on the summer months to get us across the finish line budget-wise for the year. Of course, this year since we have remained closed because of the pandemic, we have not had the benefit of increased summer attendance and giving from our summer visitors. Now of course, the Bible plainly says that each should give according to what they have. Many people are suffering financially right now, and many businesses are down significantly from most years. Let’s continue to pray for them! So I say all this simply to let everyone know how the church is doing compared to our budget during this time: we would greatly appreciate any gifts that the Lord leads you to give. And in all of this, as in all things, we continue to trust the Lord, knowing that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!