So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that when Jesus says, “Whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in heaven…”(Matthew 16:19) he wasn’t talking about our loose offering here at GSLC.
Loose offering, as defined by PT and the Stewardship Team, is “any offering not connected to a name.” So, just the loose bills and change in the offering plate, that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about loose offering.
And the Stewardship Team came up with the idea to donate certain months worth of loose offering to bless Raleigh, bless our land, and the bless the world.
We started local, donating our March loose offering to Building Independence. Over $1000 was collected and donated to go toward some new outdoor seating for the residents who live there.
In July we decided to donate the loose offering to Lutheran Disaster Response, our national emergency response arm of the ELCA. Little did we know how important those donations would be, especially when the hurricanes raged and blew through August and September, striking Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Over $1000 was collected in July, and we continued with special collections in August and September, bringing our total donation amount to well over $3000. LDR is still on the ground in Puerto Rico, where some residents spent Christmas still without electricity or clean water. Our Middle School youth just boxed up a number of care packages to be sent there this month to continue the relief work.
And then in December we took up loose offerings for two different organizations: ELCA Good Gifts, our global outreach agency that provides livestock and livelihood across the globe to small farmers and craftspeople, and Duke Children’s Hospital Miracle Network.
We originally had planned on just dedicating to one cause, but we were approached by a son of the congregation making a special appeal for Duke Children’s Hospital, and the Stewardship Team saw it as a good opportunity to dedicate Christmas Eve’s loose offering to an organization that specifically blesses children.
In sum total, we were able to donate over $1000 to ELCA Good Gifts and over $2500 for Duke Children’s Hospital.
These small gifts are big blessings in the end. But we can’t stop here…
The Stewardship Team certainly intends to lobby hard to get more loose offering given away this year. There are more blessings to spread around. But along with collecting money, we’re revamping our Outreach Team to get our feet back on the ground in ways we haven’t been in a little while. Our current outreach ministries: Coffeehouse, Memory Cafe, Families Together…they’ll all continue.
But we’ll be seeking to make more relationships, to bless with our hands as well as our pocketbooks, and to provide some faces and names when we share of ourselves with others.
I look forward to 2018 for so many reasons…not the least of which is because we will, as a community, discover how God is blessing us and using us to bless others in brand new ways this year.
We’ve loosed some blessings upon the world in 2017. And we’re about to loose some more. Get ready.