My Friday tidy office is mysteriously messy on Monday. Here’s what I found today:
1. Note about lunch…because of a gift card!: The note was from my wife, Michelle, saying that she had taken the kids to lunch, and I could meet them there. I attended a special meeting of one of our ministry committees after Sunday School, and I would meet them at the restaurant late. For us going out to eat was a treat. First, yesterday was our anniversary. But Michelle and I had gone out for an anniversary dinner the evening before. We went out again because, second, we got a gift card. It came in the mail last week anonymously, along with a super nice anniversary card. If you sent the card, and you’re reading this, we are so grateful!
2. Stack of Bibles: Our church has a decades-long relationship with a missionary based in the Philly. We have regularly spent time with him doing outreaches of all shapes and sizes. From sidewalk Sunday Schools in some of the toughest neighborhoods of the city to Christmas stocking giveaways at Philly schools. We’ve joined him for casual conversations with students on Philly’s college campuses as well as cleaning at a Philly homeless shelter. Later this summer we’ll join him for a new outreach, working with homeless people in neighboring Camden, NJ. Part of the process is that we’re collecting extra Bibles. I already have a stack on my shelf. But this new stack has been donated in the last week or so. Have an extra Bible that you would be willing to donate?
3. Pile of proposals: In 2009 Faith Church started a strategic planning process, and yesterday we held a special congregational meeting to vote on one element of that planning process. Leading up to that meeting we made proposal packets so people in our congregation could know what we were voting about. Basically we are changing the way we select leaders. My wife and I receive The Week magazine, a generous gift from a relative. One regular column in The Week is “Boring, But Important” and it is usually something that happened in Congress or the Supreme Court. At our congregational meeting we were voting to make rather sweeping changes to our church by-laws. Very boring. Not nearly as flashy as changing something about worship. Our church by-laws and governance stays pretty much behind the scenes, whereas worship is front and center every week. And yet our by-laws, our governance is inestimably important. I told our congregation after the meeting that if I had a do-over six years ago when I became senior pastor, this is the first thing I would encourage.
4. Letter from a Lawyer: After nearly two years, we finally received this letter! It could turn out to be minimal, who knows. One of our long-time members passed away in September 2012, and afterward her lawyer notified us that our church was named as a 10% beneficiary in her will. At the time, I had been at the church ten years and had not encountered that before. The executor of her estate would have to make sure all bills are paid, and then the money would be disbursed. Two years later! Who knew it would take that long??? Late last week we finally got the letter from the lawyer we were waiting for, the form we sign and have notarized saying basically that we agree with everything. Once all the beneficiaries return their signed forms, the executor will make payments. Two years ago when I first received the letter informing us the church was named as a beneficiary, and now as we anticipate payment, I’m reminder of what a wonderful idea this is. That even in her death, this lady wanted to bless the church. I’ve heard stories recently about people like Sting, Simon Cowell and Bill & Melinda Gates who have purposefully written their wills so their kids don’t have trust funds. So these people are using their wealth to make a difference in the world. And they want their kids to learn the value of hard work. Perhaps we should all think about that in regards to our own wills, giving a portion of our estates away to God’s Kingdom.
Now it’s time to clean up!