Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"This is a test of what we really believe."

Today's Joyful News on Ministry Congregation is Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church of Augusta, Georgia. The congregation and its pastor were featured on WJBF news. Click here to watch the broadcast. Here is the text:

Augusta, GA—Churches depend on their people to keep the doors open, even when their people may be hurting financially. “All across the nation from a variety of different denominations, I’m hearing from other pastors, and they’re saying our pledging is down for next year, or our giving is down for this year,“ says Dr. Leslie Holmes.

Dr. Holmes, at Augusta’s Reid Memorial Presbyterian says his congregation is digging deep and has pledged to give more next year than they did in 2008. The pastor says he’s seen this trend before. “Frequently you look back, you say, ‘Wow! They actually gave more during tough times than they do in good times.‘ Because people realize this is a test of what I really believe and if God is big enough to take care of me, He’ll take care of me now.“

In tough times, needs of the less fortunate don’t cease, people still get sick, and missions here and abroad continue.

“I think that’s the time you need to give the most if you can, of course. The more you give, the more you get back,“ says Farrah Raeisghasem, of Augusta.

Some who’d like to donate more, say they can’t help but cut back. “Because you’ve been someone who’s donated the prior year, then when they call you back. It’s like I really can’t this year because of the way the economy is. It is what it is. Hopefully, next year everything will be back on track,“ says Elizabeth Boyd of Augusta.

Dr. Holmes challenges his parishioners to look at the big picture. And as the message from the pulpit often goes, there’s a reason for everything. “Frankly we came to the point where we said in the 80s and also in the 70s, Thank God for that recession. People rise above it.“

These interesting times are a test of what we really believe. Thanks to Rev. Holmes for urging his church toward discipleship.

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