Author: Horst, Brent
Date published: April 16, 2012
Due to record offering receipts and under-spending of some internal costs, the St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite congregation had to decide what to do with a good-sized surplus this spring.
Finance committee and church council meetings brought forth a number of suggestions on what to do with the money, including tithing to another charity and putting the rest of the surplus into the church's capital fund. Then suggestions started popping up to give more of the money to other charities and missions until one person finally declared, "We should give it all away."
As we discerned this further, we thought about the baskets of leftovers after Jesus fed the five thousand. There was a miracle in the feeding, but also significance in the leftovers. Why not treat this surplus as leftovers and use it to further help ministries that we support? We also thought it would be great to involve the congregation in a financial decision in a very tangible way.
On March 4, during the regular Sunday morning sharing time, each family unit was invited to come forward, pick up its symbolic $100 worth of Monopoly money and distribute the bills between one or more of 15 baskets. These baskets included the church's capital and reserve funds, and ministries we support in some way, including Mennonite Church Canada; the Benin Bible Institute; Grace Lao Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont.; Mennonite Central Committee; Mennonite Disaster Service and eight other local ministries.
The allocations to the various ministries was something nobody could have predicted and everyone felt it was God's will, directed by the Holy Spirit. After the service people talked positively about the experience and one even asked if the practice could become an annual event.
The congregation feels that its vision to "seek to celebrate and listen to the Living God; empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a welcoming, caring community of faith centered in Jesus Christ; and to demonstrate God's love in our neighbourhoods and the world" was lived out in a very obvious way in this "leftovers" experience.
BY BRENT HORST
ST. JACOBS MENNONITE CHURCH