The following is a picture of SNL, our weekly time for fun, fellowship, and faith-development for 7-12th graders. It’s over in the Student Center across the pond during Creekwood+, 3:30-5:30pm every Sunday evening.
What’s your first reaction?
Was your first reaction: “There’s only 4 kids there?”
Mine was. So was Pastor Katrina’s.
Since re-emerging from the COVID fog, SNL has typically averaged around 10-15 students. Rick Adler and Jen Waldrop faithfully show up to play with and mentor young men and women, and the hope is that we’ll not only reach our pre-COVID average of 25 but surpass it, as we inspire more students to know they are loved, they can serve, and that this is a community where you can be yourself, make meaningful friendships, and ask the hard questions that enhance your faith.
But there were only 4…
Katrina told us this story in our staff meeting a few weeks ago; of her disappointment and wondering if the night would be a bust. But then she realized that 3 of the 4 students in this picture are nearly brand new and have found Creekwood and CSM to be a welcoming community. Then, when they started playing this game (whatever it is) they started working as a team, making up new rules, and coming out of their shells. The more she got to know the new 3 she realized they probably wouldn’t have connected like they did – if there were more than 4 people there.
Sometimes God works in mysterious ways.
As the afternoon progressed, there was a time of cookie baking, and one of the new young men, Ryan, took the servant leadership role. Not only was he excited about baking (and eating), but he carefully parsed out the cookies onto individual plates and made sure that each student and adult present had what they needed, based off of what he had.
Our first reaction tends to center around quantity, but what the Bible is most concerned with is quality. I think of the story known as “The Widow’s Mite” in Luke 21:1-4 where the rich people make a big showy display of all the disposable income they throw into the money box, while a widow who probably struggles to put food on the table drops her two precious coins sacrificially into the box.
I wonder how many times before someone had said to her, “It’s just two coins, what difference can that make?”
To that woman, it made a huge difference. To the 4 kids and 3 adults, it was a great night. To those who are thinking that you have nothing significant or splashy to offer – remember, it’s about quality vs. quantity. It’s about what being sacrificial with what you have, instead of discounting what you have. It’s about knowing that when we all offer up the quality God gives us, the quantity naturally follows.
I’m really excited to say that many of y’all have taken this message to heart already in our stewardship/pledge campaign. So far, as of February 17, our Stewardship numbers for 2022 look like this:
- 125 pledges given for a total of $738,192.16
- 53% of our estimated budget has been pledged
- 18 people pledged financially to Creekwood who had not done so before
- Average pledge is up from $5,625.58 in 2021 to $5,905.54 for 2022
- 36% of pledgers chose to increase their pledge since the last time they pledged – either in 2020 or 2021
(these numbers have increased/improved as of 2/22, but I had to write this early and only had time to add this line)
That’s a great showing of generosity, and I’d love to call everyone who hasn’t pledged yet to consider a quality offering out of what you have – remembering that quality is between God and you, not judged by us. You can pledge online, and if you need help here is a short video to guide you through. Let’s see if we can break our all time high of number of pledges received by getting up to 150 this year!
Remember, we celebrate the quality of participation first, before the quantity. All throughout the prophets, the Bible says things like “God desires your hearts not burnt offerings.” Pledging is all about quality, and year over year the quantity comes.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, whether 4 people with $4 dollars or 4,000 people with $4,000 dollars each, God can use it, if your faith allows you to see what God is already up to.
PS – go hang with the youth on Sunday afternoon. 5/6th meet in the Pre-Teen Center at the same time, and there are musical activities and other fun times for students K-6 as well in the main church building.