People are leaving the Catholic Church in droves. It’s an exodus that’s beginning to look like a stampede. You already know this from your circle of family and friends, I do from mine. But more than our antidotal experience a simple staggering fact tells the story. Currently one in three Catholics have walked away from the Catholic Church, making “former Catholic” the third largest religious designation in the country (after “Catholic” and “Southern Baptist.”)
In the face of this cataclysmic situation many diocese and parishes are urgently seeking solutions or at least plans of action moving forward. These inevitably include mergers, twining, clusters. But beyond the people directly involved, for whom all of this can be heartbreaking, most everyone else is paying no attention. That’s because many of these churches drifted into irrelevance in their community years ago. Now it’s just a question of who is going to turn out the lights and close the door.
Meanwhile, something is going on here. Amid this drought over the religious landscape, God is showering blessings on this parish. Why would he do that? Whatever reason you want to posit, you can be sure it’s for a reason.
I believe it has to do with a movement. A movement whose moment has arrived, that will include the renewal of parish life. But it’s bigger than that. It’s a movement of the whole Body of Christ, believers reaching across denominational boundaries and beyond ancient conflicts to join hands and really be the Church Christ wants us to be, by doing what he told us to do to begin with…make disciples.
It is the movement of the kingdom of God in our generation and I believe it is picking up momentum currently and it will ultimately triumph. With us or without us.
We can just sit back and watch it, and sink into the same irrelevance as some other churches have. We can watch it or we can join it. I believe God has blessed us in recent years to position us to get involved in the movement of the kingdom of heaven in our generation.
But, God’s willingness to use this parish depends on our willingness to obey him. There is an unmistakable correlation in the Bible between the blessings God gives and the obedience he is given. Over and over he asked his servants for obedience in little things, and then, he turns around and does great big things.
Obedience is desired and required. Blessings occur on the other side of obedience. And right now, I believe he is looking to this congregation for obedience when it comes to our money. Because he knows how money hold our heart, he wants our obedience there right now.
Today our parish is celebrating Stewardship Sunday, and we’re asking for the commitment of our members as well as those who regularly attend here.
We’re asking for your commitment to fund the movement of the kingdom of heaven, by making an investment in this parish church.