Our church is one of the most generous congregations I’ve ever known. We are blessed with members who give passionately of their time, talents, and resources to advance the cause of Christ in our community and throughout the world. As a result, our church has been able to do important work in bringing God’s Kingdom purposes to pass. But can we do more? As we consider how we have been implementing many of the new ministry dreams that have come out of the adoption of our Vision 2020 plan and are contemplating more ministry dreams, we sense that the realization of our vision will require an even stronger expression of generosity.
Some years ago, executives at one of the nation’s largest Mainstream Protestant denominations (not Baptist) put together a committee to purge their liturgy and hymnal of all militaristic language and imagery. Quite a few of the old hymns and readings got cut out, such as “Onward Christian Soldiers.” As you can imagine, the committee caught a lot of flak for their decisions. Some of it was deserved, but some of it was not deserved. After all, none of us is above engaging in the same kind of theological “downsizing” from time to time. There are terms and concepts and images that we do away with when they no longer suit our fancy or serve our purposes. I’m thinking in particular of the word “duty” and all of the images and the concepts that are associated with it.