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TIME FOR A NEW YEAR DECEMBER 2011
Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent for many of our liturgical churches. It was the first Sunday of the new Christian year. For a great many, however, they are not thinking about the new year, but the old year and how to finish in the black. Treasurers are cranking up numbers, pastors are writing congregational letters and some are even having announcements made in worship to encourage families to give a little extra to finish the year. I have written too many times about how I feel about these "end of the year" panics. I am not a big fan, as you know. What I am a big fan of is using a part of this season more as a beginning than an end. This is the time you should have your stewardship plan for the new year laid out and in place. If not, then spend a bit of time looking forward versus backward and maybe this time next year you will not have to write letters or make announcements.
1. On what Sundays will sermons be delivered specifically on how to overcome the love of material things? I recommend four a year. Date these Sundays now.
2. When will we begin having lay testimonies on Sunday morning on how Christ has worked in that person's life? I recommend every Sunday, but at least 26 times a year for three minutes each.
3. What sort of study will you do during Lent to help your people grow in discipleship and have an understanding of sacrifice? I recommend Enough or Money Matters or Fields of Gold. All are easy studies and can be adapted for worship and classes.