Well, I think it has to do with what we allow into our lives that can distract us from God. Not all of these things are “bad” in their nature, but they become a problem when we allow them to distract us from looking at, and to God. You know those things I’m talking about; they can be anything from a job, car, or movie, to fantasy football, Xbox Live, a magazine, or even church. The answer is not necessarily to cut these distractions out entirely (in some cases it is), but to realize that they can distract us…and we need to keep them in check.
In the church, the distraction all too often is on the budget’s need to be met more than on our natural need to give out of what God entrusts to us. Think about it; what excites you more? Are you excited by giving to help reach a monetary goal indicated by a thermometer or budget amount? Or are you excited by giving to something which will heal a child, feed a starving family, bring comfort in the midst of sadness, or house a homeless individual? I believe it is the latter. We give when we know that we are making a difference and not just because the need exists. We give because we are moved internally and spiritually to do so.
I was watching a movie not long ago on one of the cable networks. One of the main characters was lost in the forest and a search had begun. Two of the female leads who were part of the search party were discussing the need to pray for a positive outcome of the search. One was a devout believer and the other a skeptic. The skeptic asked, “If God is all knowing, then what is the purpose of prayer? Why do we need to pray for an outcome when God already knows the need and desire?” After a thoughtful moment of reflection, the believer responded, “Oh, I do not pray because I want to change God. I prayer in order to change me.” To say in a similar fashion why we give to the church, “It do not give because the church needs my money. I give because of my need to give.”
This year’s annual stewardship campaign is focusing not on budget numbers and revenue streams, but rather asking all of us to consider what God want’s each of us to give to empower mission and ministry in God’s name in the community and around the world. All of us know money is required to operate the church and its work. What we all need to do is ask ourselves what God is wanting to accomplish through Germantown UMC and how God wants each of us to participate in that mission? If God has a will and a purpose to accomplish through this great church, then God has a will and a purpose of each of us to participate as He has called us. Please begin to pray now, Lord, what do you want to do through me in ministry next year. Commit now to not let money interfere with your walk with God.”
The Rev. Dr. David C. Lewis serves as Executive Director of the WiseHeart Foundation. David has served as the Senior Vice President and Senior Ministry Strategist for Horizons Stewardship Company and as the Chairperson for Stewardship in the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served churches in North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, retiring in 2015. He served for 21 years as the Executive Minister at Bartlett UMC. He has served as President of the denomination’s area Committee on Finance and Administration. He further served as the Chaplain for the City of Bartlett, Tennessee, and was a member of that city’s Bartlett Station Commission.
David is highly committed to mission. He volunteers his time with Crosslink Memphis, Inc. Crosslink Memphis provides free medical supplies and low cost medicines for Christian medical mission teams serving around the world as well as charity clinics domestically. In the non-profit world David has served in leadership positions with the American Heart Association, Bartlett Education Foundation, Memphis Association for Retarded Citizens, Kings Daughters and Sons Foundation, and with Methodist Hospital Systems.
In addition in 2000, David formed two non-profit mission organizations. Seeds Ministries is a medical mission team and general mission support agency, putting short term medical teams together for domestic and foreign mission, and serving as a funding source for related mission work. Crosspoint of India provides funding support for an orphanage and Bible college in Nagpur, India. To this point both organizations are volunteer driven with 100% of funds contributed being passed on to the field ministry itself.
David graduated from Lambuth College and received his Master of Divinity from Duke University. His Doctorate is from St. Paul School of Theology. Emory University awarded him his Certification in Church Business Administration. He is a past Fellow in the National Association of Church Business Administrators as well as a Certified Church Administrator through the General Council on Finance and Administration. He is a member of the United Methodist Association of Church Business Administrators. David lives in Bartlett with his wife, Jan. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.