Our church recently (in November 2010) handed out envelopes in a worship service about Generosity. Included in the envelopes were everything you would need for your journey – instructions, cash, suggestions, a Bible Study and a prayer.
Everyone was asked to read the information and get started right away. We planned to gather again in 5 weeks, on Sunday, December 12 at 11:30am in the Fellowship Hall to celebrate and report our progress. The money was attached to the packet - $5. This was God’s money. Everyone was asked to intentionally treat it as such. There was only ONE string attached for you to receive God’s money: You had to tell us your story! Whether in words, in a song, in a painting, or a video, however you creatively decided to communicate your experience, we wanted to hear about your Living A Better Story experience!
Remember – This was God’s money.
How this worked:
1) People were asked to take the next three days and allow for time to reflect and meditate on this scripture and let God speak to them. The goal of this experience was not to see how many ideas they could think of, but how they could discern God’s direction for them and their resources over the next 5 weeks.
2) During the next three days – they were asked to PRAY and ask God for creativity on how they should multiply His money and invest it in His kingdom and people.
3) TELL us their story along the way. During this 5 week experience, we asked them to please tell us how it’s going. They could submit their thoughts, feelings, and experiences by emailing Megan Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) – who would then publish their thoughts on the church blog (http://www.stpaulsumc-mh.blogspot.com/).
** If you haven't submitted your story yet, please do! We're always open to hearing more! Don’t forget to include the amount of God’s money you originally received, the way you chose to multiply God’s money, where or with whom you invested God’s money, and how you felt about the experience.
KEY To This Experience. STOP! Relax. TRUST GOD. Pray and reflect on the scripture and prayer BEFORE you start thinking about a hundred ways to multiply God’s money and where and with whom to invest it. This is not about brainstorming. This is about discernment. Your FOCUS should not be on the money or how much you multiply it, but on the story you and God are writing together.
Need inspiration? Read Matthew 14:14-21. What is the perspective of the disciples? Why did the disciples object when Jesus said to them, “You give them something to eat”? What was Jesus asking them to do? What does this text reveal about Jesus?
Your Story: How do you react when faced with an overwhelming sense of human need? How does it make you feel to realize that God gave you special gifts to contribute to the world’s needs? How can YOU, with all the gifts God gave you, impact the needs of your community or world? What are your greatest gifts? What is God trying to tell you through this story?
Pray. Gracious God, You have promised that You have come to give me life, and to give me life abundantly. And yet, I am often overwhelmed by what I see in the world around me: the poverty, the injustice and the deep sense of need. I confess my own apathy to those around me. Help me to write a different, a better, story for my life – and in turn, the lives of those around me. Fill me with compassion and creativity. Show me how to multiply the resources I have been given. Help me to discern Your leading as I seek to make a difference.
Just a few Ideas…
* Do this as a family – pool your resources!
* Do this individually – advocate for a ministry or outreach your are passionate about!
* Buy materials and make items to sell.
* Create a website or use social media to create awareness and raise money.
* Bake and sell cookies.
* Invest in individuals through micro-lending with http://www.kiva.org/.
* Buy clothes or food for Neighbors, Inc.
* Help someone going through a financial hardship.
* Send/take items to a person suffering grief or loss.
May God bless you as you seek to live a better story!
This experience was adapted from www.belmont.edu/livingabetterstory
They are currently taking this idea and making a foundation around it, so that they can help churches, schools, and organizations continue this movement! We will publish more information about them in January when they have their kick-off!
Here are links to the submitted stories: