Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Christ For The World We Sing"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:25-30 – "I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent." The master was furious. "That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this 'play it safe' who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness." (MSG)
First Presbyterian Church in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, will never be accused of not taking the risk to continue its ministry in the face of financial ruin. They took the talents (money and assets) given to them and, on bended knee with many prayers, risked it all!
You may remember previous devotionals from this series about the congregation's decision to move to a storefront ministry and give their property and church building to a developer who would build a new, affordable church for them. But a developer could not be found, so the congregation decided to sell the property and the church building and continue on with the storefront church.
These decisions did not come lightly. Many were like the Hebrew people who had come out of Egypt with Moses, clamouring to go back to Egypt! But with Presbytery's help, the congregation is working to learn how to move forward and how to use their resources for outreach and worship. This was a huge undertaking and took a toll on many.
These situations are happening to many of our formal, established, old churches. Perhaps yours is one of them. Do you have enough finances to continue each year, or are you living on investments from previous years? How long will they last? What will you do?
The most important answer is to look in the right place. No matter what decision you have to make, ask God what you should do. Although many will have opinions on the solution, only God knows the right answer and the right solution, but you've got to ask, and then listen and listen and listen. Then the big, huge thing: you've got to make the often-difficult change that God might be asking you to do!
First Presbyterian Church has taken the risk of letting go of its building and moving forward into an outreach-based ministry in a storefront environment. The congregation is trying to see this not as an end, but as a beginning. They don't know what the future will bring, but they do know the One who holds the future.
Prayer: Father God, on bended knee, we ask You to hold Your people and Your church in Your hands. We ask You to bring us the answers that we need in today's world to worship and to be Your disciples. Give us the strength that is needed to listen and obey. Amen.