Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bishop's Note: May 7, 2015 - DSJ Strategic Goals Continued

Bishop Eric Menees

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7)

This week’s “Bishop’s Note” concludes our examination of the Long Term Strategic Goals of your Bishop, Diocesan Council, and Standing Committee.  Over the past three weeks, we have examined the first three of these goals:

S1: To provide clergy and lay leaders a variety of tools to bring people to -- and
     disciple them in Jesus Christ.
S2: To continuously improve administration, communication, and ministries of
      this Diocese.
S3: To regularly offer training and development opportunities for clergy and lay

The fourth and final goal is clearly audacious, but it is also godly: S4: To fund Diocesan operations while allocating 50% of revenue to ministry and outreach.  To raise giving and cut bureaucracy so as to increase ministry is indeed a godly goal. This goal may seem outrageous on the surface, but the call to live a Christian life is outrageous too.  I began this “Bishop’s Note” with a quotation of Romans 1:7, where St. Paul reminds the people of Rome that first, they are loved by God, and second, they are called to be saints.  Being called to be saints sounds like an outrageous claim, but it is absolutely true.

So, too, the call to live as a diocese in such a way that we dedicate 50% of income to directly support active ministry and outreach - in order to fulfill the first three of the Long Term Strategic Goals - is an outrageous but attainable goal, with God’s help.  Imagine, for a moment, what the diocese would look like if each person began to tithe from what God had given him.  I can guarantee that, the day that happens, ministry and outreach will increase a hundredfold – Christ would be even more greatly glorified here in San Joaquin.

All outrageous goals start with small steps – our short-term goals are those small steps.

Short Term Goals for 2015:

S4[a]: Exceed budgeted revenue by 15% with part of the surplus allocated to
         2016 missions.
S4[b]: All churches in the diocese participate in an audit process in 2015.
S4[c]: Complete training of all church treasurers.
S4[d]: All churches in the diocese shall have met their tithe commitment for 2015.

I pray that you will search the scriptures, speak with the Lord, and talk to your clergy about assisting us in the execution of these outrageous and godly goals.

May the Lord bless and keep you all!

Catechism Questions 106 - 108

106.    What is the inward and spiritual grace set forth in Baptism?
The inward and spiritual grace set forth is a death to sin and a new birth to righteousness, through union with Christ in his death and resurrection. I am born a sinner by nature, separated from God, but in baptism, rightly received, I am made God’s child by grace through faith in Christ. (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 2:12; Galatians 3:27-29)
107.    What is required of you when you come to be baptized?
Repentance, in which I turn away from sin; and faith, in which I turn to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord and embrace the promises that God makes to me in this sacrament. (Acts 2:38)
108.    Why is it appropriate to baptize infants?

Because it is a sign of God’s promise that they are embraced in the covenant community of Christ’s Church. Those who in faith and repentance present infants to be baptized vow to raise them in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, with the expectation that they will one day profess full Christian faith as their own. (Acts 2:39)

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