Last night we hosted our annual stewardship banquet at Laurel Baptist Church, and it was fantastic! For several years I had treated this annual dinner as an opportunity to receive tithing commitments or enter a capital stewardship campaign, but this year was different. As a staff we approached our banquet in the spirit of gratitude. Our people give so much of their time, energy, and finances to God’s work here in Charlotte that we just wanted to say, “THANKS!” Receiving commitment cards for regular giving or special projects are great and it should be done in light of a particular season of ministry, but this year there was no commitment cards, no pressure, and no obligation toward our people. There are times for that and we will certainly ask our people to commit to certain projects as we continue to grow, but let me share with you a fresh look at our annual banquet in a refined purpose.
1. To thank you for your faithful obedience to Christ in giving.
One of the ways we express thanks is by providing a first-class dinner. We don’t ask our people to do or bring anything. It’s a time for them to take the night “off,” and be served. We cater the dinner through a business in our city that has served our church for several years. Our menu was pork chops, green beans, cowboy potatoes (potatoes with bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing), along with dessert. It’s a small way to say we love you, we appreciate you, and we thank you for your faithful giving.
2. To rejoice in God’s provision for our ministry through giving.
Malachi teaches us that we tithe to the storehouse so that there may be meat for God’s house. We utilize this annual banquet to rejoice together as a church family for God’s provision in our ministry in the previous year. I enjoyed a testimony from one of our men last night on the provision of God. God says He will take care of us as we honor Him in our finances, what more assurance do we need in order to give? We have experienced the provision of God on so many levels, and we must make time to rejoice for all God has done.
3. To prepare for a new year of blessing through faithful giving.
The stewardship banquet is a great way to inform your people on the needs of the church as well as the projects moving forward. I had some things on my heart that I wanted to share with our people last night as we prepare for God’s work in our church. I’m thankful the Lord blessed the preaching of His word as we discern the mind of God for the next step in our ministry.
I appreciate the great people of Laurel Baptist Church. I am thankful for their consistency in giving, their sacrifice in giving, and their heart in giving. The spirit of our banquet last night was tremendous, and I want to say I LOVE YOU and I THANK YOU! Let’s seek God’s face as we discern His mind about the next step of financial giving.
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”