Ministry of Christian Giving Sunday
Hello, my name is Pastor Jon Stern. For 35 years I have served in WELS parishes. Most recently, I served our congregation in Flagstaff, Arizona. Four years ago, I was called by the Conference of Presidents to represent the Arizona-California and South Central Districts in the Ministry of Christian Giving. For over 40 years this ministry has been helping our fellow Christians and congregations to “excel in the grace of giving” (2 Corinthians. 8:7).
Christian stewardship is “God’s people, using God’s gifts, to God’s glory.” Our God needs no one and nothing—not you, not me, not our offerings! Yet, in his grace, he enables and empowers his people to be a part of his saving plan to “gossip the gospel” to the ends of the earth. Why? Because “he is not willing that anyone should perish but that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3).
No doubt the angels in heaven “envy” (but there is no sin in heaven) us and the privilege we share in this saving work. The Ministry of Christian Giving for our district is divided into two distinct areas: current and deferred. As the current man I get to share with you the work we do together as brothers and sisters in Christ—from ministerial education to our world mission fields, from the sprouts of new missions in North America to the expanse of our prison ministry in cells all across our land. Yes, “I pray with joy because of our partnership in the gospel” (Philippians 1:5).
On the deferred side Pastor Rich Kogler helps fellow Christians and congre-gations in our districts with such things as estate planning, wills, and setting up endowments. These gifts enable the Lord’s work in a congregation, an area Lutheran high school, or an area of WELS ministry to continue after we’re with Jesus in heaven. Pastor Kogler, too, is happy to preach and present workshops in congregations and to meet with individuals when invited. There is no cost for these services.
The bottom line: it’s not about us; it’s about him; it’s not about who we are; it’s about who he is—the God of free and faithful grace! I am happy to be at Emmanuel today and look forward to meeting many of you. God bless you