Giving as an act of worship at the Gathering
The offering collected during the closing worship on Sunday, July 22, will benefit four specific causes. These ministries are an example of our church’s mission domestically and internationally, mission made possible because of the sharing of our collective prayers and resources.
1. New ministries in New Orleans
After the ELCA Youth Gathering is over, there will still be people from the ELCA in New Orleans identifying and growing new communities of faith. The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod is especially interested in serving the population in New Orleans. Your contribution to the offering on Sunday morning will support new ministries here on behalf of the whole church.
2. ELCA Missionary Sponsorship
Tessa Moon Leiseth and her family are about to embark on a new journey serving as missionaries and mentoring young adults in South Africa. These young adults will serve South Africa in areas of education, music and justice ministry among developmentally disabled or marginalized youth as well as congregational ministry.
Many young adults chose to participate in the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, spending a year of volunteer service. Each country has a coordinator – for South Africa – it is the Leiseths. They are able to help the youth with their service and walk alongside the people of South Africa thanks to your financial support. With your gift to ELCA Missionary Sponsorship, you are helping the Leiseths and others make life-giving work of this church possible. www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship
3. 100 Wells Challenge
More than a billion people – one out of seven people in our world today – lack access to safe, clean drinking water. Clean water is one of the most powerful ways to make change in the world. When a family has access to clean, safe water, they no longer have to spend all morning fetching water. They have time for work and school. They earn more money and secure a better future. One water well can open a world of opportunity.
The 100 Wells Challenge supports the water projects of ELCA World Hunger, a ministry of our church that works in 50 countries around the world, including the United States. www.elca.org/100wells
4. ELCA Malaria Campaign
Do you ever complain about those pesky mosquitoes that make your time outside miserable? In some parts of the world, especially in Africa, mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they are deadly. Mosquitoes can carry a disease called malaria, the cause of an estimated 655,000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children.
The good news is that malaria is preventable and curable, and the ELCA is committed to seeing that happen. By working though Lutheran churches in Africa, the ELCA Malaria Campaign provides mosquito nets, insecticides, medication, health care, education and more to help eliminate deaths from this disease—for good. www.elca.org/malaria
Reflections from the Gathering director
Some people say that passing the plate on Sunday morning is an old-fashioned practice. Young people especially, they say, are not motivated to give in that way. Young people don’t relate to cash or checks, they want to use their credit or debit card online; young people want to have a relationship with the person(s) they are helping/supporting with their money; they don’t want an institution to broker their gifts (like most denominations do.) I don’t completely buy those arguments.
I think ELCA young people know the power of focusing their giving through collective action that supports sustainable projects in places where the global Lutheran community is working. I hope, too, that ELCA young people know our church’s core values of mutuality and sustainability when it comes to helping others. I think ELCA youth have learned, while sitting next to people of all generations in their congregation, that our financial gifts leave a legacy of faith for generations to come. I think ELCA young people trust that what they put in the plate will be offered in the spirit of service and generosity, rather than a corporate model run on the principle of the more competition (and duplication) in the marketplace of giving, the better.
Giving is an act of worship, after all, and that is why it is typically a period of time within a worship service. The offering of our gifts should not be likened to the check out process at a SuperMart store, and should not be done with smug self-satisfaction as if I had done God a favor.
Offering our tithes and gifts to God is a simple offering back to God of a small portion of what God has first given us. And we will continue to pass the plate as a meaningful gesture of worship.