Below is the audio and text from Bill Rusher’s Stewardship article originally published in the Fall 2015 quarterly Explorer.
Because of my line of work, I am more aware of and interested in the details of the infrastructure at church. That can range from planning for the Sanctuary lighting in connection with the Rejoice & Give Thanks capital campaign to replacing a burned out light bulb in the courtyard. We have a great church, and it is my pleasure to be a part of the ongoing maintenance and improvement of our facility. But is that really why I’m here?
When I can manage to sit still and let things settle for a few minutes, the images that drift into my mind aren’t so much the nuts and bolts of church, they are scenes. I see my wife reading a Bible story to her second grade Sunday School class. I see my daughter’s baptism (and mine) in the Chapel, my sister’s wedding in the Sanctuary, and my mom’s 80th birthday party in the Fellowship Hall. I remember one of our pastors sitting beside my father’s bed and talking about whatever came into my Dad’s mind when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s.
I treasure the stolen glances that come from being in the building doing odd jobs at odd hours. I see a concert rehearsal, the flower committee at work, communion being set up, and the halls being decorated for Vacation Bible School.
When I have time to reflect on missions I have helped with, I can see the beaming camper across the lunch table at Camp Alkulana and the veteran in Asheville who said he left the war but the war never left him. I remember the look on the face of the battered mom in Greenville, SC when we handed her the keys to her house. I think of early morning waves goodbye along the road out from Farmington, ME.
As much as the glass, steel, brick, and wire do for me, they are not why I am here. It’s the feeling of the church and memories I have made and will make here. It is the moments that change me when I wasn’t looking to be changed, the moments that save me — not all at once, and not on any schedule.
What is our responsibility as a congregation to ensure the baptisms, weddings, pastor visits, concerts, and mission trips can continue to enrich our lives? We need to nurture the building, the staff, and all of the committees and boards so they can nurture each inspired individual. It boils down to being convinced that having the infrastructure in place is the means through which the work of God can and will happen. I am convinced of this. I think you will be convinced too if only you can sit still for a few minutes and pull up a few of your own scenes in your mind. Please remember your scenes, as I will remember mine, when it’s time to make our stewardship commitments to the church this fall.
Bill Rusher, Chair
Laura Thorne, ex officio