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Dear members and friends of Bear Creek UMC,

Hi!  And thank you for caring about Bear Creek UMC enough to read this letter.   As a pastor for over 25 years, I know that this “time of year” is often a time that church members try to avoid opening any mailings from the church because this is the time of year that dreaded “Stewardship letter” comes out.   “Whatever you do…don’t open that letter!” I get that…I understand that feeling.   But as I pray and continue to learn and grow in my own stewardship and giving some new insights have come to my heart and I’d like to share some of this insight with you!

This year our Stewardship theme is all about Extravagant Generosity.   The theme centers around a quote from Winston Churchill that says:

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

Isn’t that a great quote!?! Let’s face it, we live in a “getting” culture.   A culture that’s all about getting all you can so that “your” lives and the lives of “your” family can be blessed.  The bigger slice we can grab the better, right!? The trouble with this way of living is that all this “getting” creates a culture that is insanely toxic.  All this getting drains the happiness right out of the air we breathe.  Our Christian life-stance teaches the exact opposite of this cultural lie.  Living “life abundantly isn’t about ‘getting’…it’s about “giving.”   When we live our lives out of the basic gift of generosity, we are blessed with a culture that is insanely life-giving.  Our air literally is infused with joy and wholeness.

This year as you pray over your giving pledge to Bear Creek UMC for 2018, take some time to ponder just what culture you want to live in. My “Jesus-shaped” heart knows that God has placed us on this earth to change the culture around us.   By unleashing our God-given gift of Extravagant Generosity upon this world, I believe we can start changing our world. Join me, as we learn to let go of the “getting” culture we live and learn to practice the art of generously.

Changing cultures takes personal discipline. We’ve attached a link showing the giving ladder for a typical church. Take a moment to find where you are on this giving ladder, and in prayer consider taking one step toward a more generous lifestyle. May your gift inspire our church (and the word) to share, to give in the generous spirit of Jesus!

In closing, I want to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your gift of Extravagant Generosity with the Bear Creek UMC family this past year.  Your generous sharing of your presence, prayers, and gifts continue to inspire me to work harder to be a better pastor for you and the world.

Enclosed is some important information about giving and your faith pledge card for 2018.  This year we are offering three ways of getting this pledge back to us:
(1) You can pledge electronically,
(2) You can mail your paper pledge card to the church, or
(3) You can bring your pledge card to the church and place it in the offering plate.

Our celebration Sunday will be November 19th.   Come celebrate with us!  Come be a part of the movement of Extravagant Generosity!

Your Pastor,
Rev. Brook R. McBride