My best commander in the Army started every email with an acronym: BLUF. It took me a bit to figure out this meant “bottom line up front.” So here is my BLUF: We are going to open talk about giving and stewardship. Our stewardship commitment, our giving, is what allows the work of Saint Peter’s to continue day in and day out. For the next four weeks, we are going to spend a few minutes each
Sunday to openly talk about ongoing stewardship.

For most of my life, the term “Summer Slump” meant the first time I pitched in Little League baseball. The umpire called 24 consecutive balls without calling a single strike. I was hoping for a bit of grace and an expansion of the strike zone. In the faith-based world, the “Summer Slump” is the unofficial part of the church calendar that occurs every July and August. We find ourselves on vacation, taking long weekends with our friends and family, or perhaps completing a project that avoids the recent monsoon season in Arkansas. The summer giving cycle stresses out thousands of church leaders across the country every year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And it certainly doesn’t have to be that way at Saint Peter’s.

The good news is that Saint Peter’s doesn’t have to wait until September to recover from the dip in giving. All it takes is a proactive mentality and willingness to try new things to encourage each of us to keep giving – even if we are not at church or if we’ve never given before.

There is little doubt change is occurring at Saint Peter’s. You only have to look around each time you are here. I’ve been a member for less than a year and the improvements to our building, our grounds, our website, as examples, are evident and present. We have momentum, and we want to see it continue throughout the summer months. When I reflected on what I had to say about Stella & Friends, the title of the only short story I can remember from college popped into my head: “A clean, well-lighted place.” To be honest, I had no recollection of the story itself or the author. So, after visiting the Internet of Things, I discovered the story was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1933. In short, the story revolves around three characters who share common feelings: despair and nothingness. They found their comfort in the diner. It was their clean and well-lit place. What I discovered was Saint Peter’s is just the opposite. It is indeed a clean, well-lighted place. But it offers love, hope, community, and sanctuary to all.

Saint Peter’s is on a firm financial footing, and we can avoid the inevitable slump in 2019 through the power of our numbers, through Stella & Friends. So, this is the point in my few minutes where I make the unabashed and unapologetic ask. Consider a one-time summer gift or consider establishing an additional short-term gift for the next three months (perhaps through auto withdrawal or a pledge).

Stella & Friends is a short campaign – Four Weeks. It is a short-burst of excitement and stewardship. I’m asking you to “expand your strike zone” to ensure Saint Peter’s remains a“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”