Where are we headed?
After considerable discussion after Liturgy last Sunday here is what we want to see happen:
Our goal is to develop a parish – by the grace of God and with His blessing – that develops in Christian community; a place where Christ can be found in our support and care for each other. The scripture is clear: In order to love God we must love each other, and in order to love each other, we must love God.
Three things we need to do:
- Increase our outreach. We need to invite our friends and anyone else who is seeking a place to find God. There are a lot of disenfranchised Orthodox Christians in our area. There are other people looking for a simple place of worship that is sound in its teaching and clear in its mission. Invite them to come to church with you.
- Start bible studies with particular attention on learning what the Gospel really says. To this end, Fr. Hans will start leading bi-weekly bible studies in both Ft. Myers and Naples (alternating the cities each week). The Naples study begins on Tuesday, January 12, 7:00pm at the home of Jack and Angela Long. The Fort Myers study is still being arranged. Details will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
These studies are for anyone interested in learning about the bible. Everyone is welcome. A person does not have to be Orthodox or a member of St. Peter’s to attend.
- Build up our stewardship base. A mission qualifies to be a mission when it has at least 25 pledged members. We have 18. We are fortunate in that we have many supporters, but some of our supporters need to become stewards at this stage of our growth.
Stewardship is a private commitment between you and God for the support of his Church. A person does not have to be a regular worshipper to be a steward. We have some people who give who are not regular attendees of St. Peter but who believe in our mission and want to support it. We are very grateful for their support.
For us who attend regularly, establish your stewardship in terms of a percentage of your income. As God prospers you more, return a fixed percentage of your blessing back to Him through support of your parish. This way we grow not as a parish with a mindset of perpetual fundraising (looking to others to take of our own house), but a parish of service and outreach – and one that receives in return a greater measure of blessing from God for our sacrifice.
This is the first time most of us have been involved with a mission parish. In talking to other priests and people who have more experience with mission work however, I discover that we are doing well. It takes a lot of work to establish a mission but we have the right people to make it happen.
Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor, labor in vain (Psalm 127:1)
Our work of building St. Peter’s is ultimately (and fundamentally) the work of God. If we are faithful, He will bless it. We express our faithfulness towards God first by our support of each other and those who God brings to us. As we succeed here, God will bring others to us as well.
What do we need to do?
Invite our friends, take advantage of the bible studies being offered, and offer a stewardship pledge. You may print out a stewardship form here.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Hans Jacobse