“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God's varied grace…”
(1 Peter 4:10)
As the administrator at City Church, I spend much of my time up to my eyeballs in numbers: the number of dollars coming and going out; the number of people who come to worship; the number of volunteers it takes to make church “go” every Sunday.
Talking numbers in a church setting often makes people uncomfortable. We don’t want to talk about money or turnout. It can feel awkward and like we’re focused on the wrong things. But looked at from the right posture, numbers shed healthy light on a community. For us at City Church, they offer concrete examples of God’s faithful provision for His church through its people.
Over the last ten years, our members and attendees have tithed over $3 million to City Church. Because of that generosity, City Church has been able to send almost $800,000 back out into the community to support those working to share the Gospel here in Richmond and all over the world.
We’re also able to use those contributions to keep City Church thriving on a day-to-day level:
- $10 buys a ream of paper so we can print activity sheets for our kids in Children’s Worship.
- $20 gets us two month’s worth of the gluten-free flour used by our communion bread bakers.
- $50 pays our postage for almost an entire quarter.
- $100 takes care of our staff's life insurance premiums for the month.
- $200 helps us provide the much-loved bounce house at our annual Easter event.
- $500 covers almost all costs associated with City Church Basics for the entire year—the class that gathers people into our “official” church family.
Of course, it’s not just about being generous with money; a church needs its members to be generous with themselves. And you are! To a humbling degree!
Every Sunday around 40 people serve on a volunteer team. Here’s what that looks like:
- 1 liturgist
- 1 sound board operator
- 1 deacon of the week
- 1 communion bread baker
- 2 prayer volunteers
- 3-4 facilities team members
- 4 welcome team members
- 4 children’s worship teachers
- 4-6 musicians
- 13 nursery workers (at least)
When you set those numbers next to our average weekly worship attendance of 245, that means over 16 percent of the people in the building on a Sunday are giving of their time and skills in some way. That’s an extraordinary level of commitment, and it doesn’t even include those who serve on ministry teams, in City Groups, and through special projects like Art for Advent or our Lenten devotional.
Look at those numbers, friends! Right there in black and white! Look at how God is growing and caring for His church—and He’s using you to do it!
At this point you might be wondering why I’m sharing all of this with you.
First, we—the leadership and staff of City Church—want to thank you. It can feel like whenever we talk to you about giving of your time, skills, and money, it’s to make an ask. You answer those calls so faithfully, and we are grateful. As Peter tells us in his First Epistle, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace…” We see that in you every day at City Church. Thank you.
Second, we want to encourage you to reflect on the idea of giving—in all of its forms—to the church. What does it look like for you to use your God-given gifts to serve others? Would could it look like?
Those are big questions, but we’re not going to leave you to tackle them on your own. For the rest of June and into July, we’ll be posting weekly installments of a new devotional we’ve put together: Time, Talent, & Treasure. This devotional is made up of short reflections written by City Church members and attendees on what it means to them to give of oneself to the church.
A little heads up about these reflections: don’t expect only warm, fuzzy feelings like those you might've gotten while reading the first half of this post. There’s some of that in there, but you’re also going to read about people who feel uncertain and unequipped. Sometimes they’re just afraid—afraid of doing something wrong or doing something for the wrong reasons…afraid of doing anything at all. But as it often goes with humans, the bearing of one’s vulnerability offers encouragement to the many. It’s our hope that these reflections from people you know and worship with will offer that to you.
As we’ll see in these reflections, giving of oneself is often hard, but it is always good; our God who loves us calls us to it. And in giving our ourselves for one another we remember Jesus, who gave all of Himself for us. When we give of our precious time, of our rich talent, and of our hard-earned treasure, God is forming us into beautiful imitations of His Son—into walking-talking glimmers of His good and varied grace.
(Written by Val Catrow)