On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 139: Laying the Foundation (3/26/17)
“and the rain came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:27 RSV)
Our churches are dying; the foundations are crumbling, the people are leaving! The rain has come, and the winds are blowing, and the foundation is crumbling. Have you looked around and seen what is happening?
We have lost the basic concept of the Orthodox Church? Are we failing to hear Christ words spoken to the disciples? “ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them all I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19). Are we making Disciples? We work at repairing and maintaining the church building, we make perogies and other foods to sell, we work at festivals and events but do we “make disciples?”
Some of us use the time and talents God has gifted us but do we use them in a manner which God had intended? Have we lost the true purpose of the Church and what God has asked, no, commanded us to do? Doing work as mentioned above in and for the Church is not wrong or bad, it is good; but do we put it as the main priority of the parish?
Our parishes and Diocese are shrinking every year. Our youth are leaving the church and participating elsewhere or even worse, not worshipping God at all. We have let a culture of clericalism and minimalism seep into our parishes and over decades has come to be the standard. We have put our facilities and our needs before the needs of those that are lost. Is that what “being in Communion” is all about? Did we not over the past few weeks talk about at baptism you became a member of the body of Christ and as such you are now a disciple of Christ. And we read above that Christ commands His disciples to go out and make more disciples! The culture of the parishes needs rejuvenation, back to what God intended it to be and what He sent His Son to show us leaving the Holy Spirit to guide us.
We also talked in previous weeks that “being in communion” means that you are sharing your gifts that God has given you with each and every member of the body of Christ and each in return is sharing with you working in synergy with each other and God to reach Theosis. Are we using our gifts to make disciples?
Next week, we will discuss impediments to us following the Great Commission. We will discuss minimalism and clericalism and how it affects stewardship which ultimately affects the Church and the culture of the Church.
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.
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