Fearless Feasts at Light of the World
This month's post comes from Light of the World in Farmington. Thanks to Grace and Deb for their work on this.
Paths of Engagement Update – December 2011
Light of the World, Farmington, MN
Fearless Feasts: Living Without Fear About Money
In September 2011 we hosted “Fearless Feasts.” During these feasts, a group of eight people gathered at a lay leader’s home for a simple meal. During the meal, there was some time for chitchat, and then the conversation about money began with a scripture from Luke 5:27-39 where people are criticizing Jesus for who he eats with. We chose this passage because just as Jesus’ meal wasn’t politically correct, our meals will weren’t politically correct because we talked about God and money. After the scripture, we gave people a “pared-down” version of the money autobiography and had each person share their money story with one other person. The goal was not only for people to share their stories but also to have people become clear about where they get their ideas about money as well as the implications of those ideas.
The people who went to the Fearless Feasts unanimously said that it was a great experience to come out of isolation and into community to share their stories about money. We had people write down their “Ah Ha” moments from the feasts and we told these stories in worship. Many people’s “Ah Ha” moments were about their need to talk about faith and money with their children. During the month of the feasts, we threw out questions from the Fearless Feasts during the offering time and had people talk about them during worship. Also during this month Deb did a preaching series about moving from living in fear to living in trust. Many of the “Ah Ha”s had to do with series. People are tired of living in fear and not living in trust.
But the fearless feasts are not the end. The “Ah ha” moments moved into a congregation wide campaign called “Do one thing differently.” We had two people write a faith and money story of how they have decided to do one thing differently so that their actions around money match up with their beliefs about money. These stories accompanied our invitation to the campaign. There was also pledge card inviting each person to do one thing differently so that they can align the way they use their money with the values. We cut out paper “ones” so that people could write down the one thing that they are going to do differently. We have been clear that this is not a money pledge, but all the cards that have been mailed in so far have included an increase in giving. Our first quarter fiscal year financial results: We've received $530 more in income than we've spent. This is the first time since becoming financially independent a year ago, that we've broken even!
We found out through the research that Luther did that a lot of our people are living in fear and anxiety. That’s not living and we want people to live! Rejecting fear and learning to live in trust. Rejecting isolation and learning to live in community. We are a four-year old church and we are still establishing our identity and culture. We are becoming a place that talks about things that are uncomfortable, things that matter. If we don’t do that there is a cost! If we don’t talk about these things out loud then we are not living the communal life.