Good morning. My name is Ian Stevens, and I was asked to give a “Minute for Mission” as part of our Stewardship Campaign season. I have to be honest – I do not consider myself much of a public speaker, so I was tempted to say no, thank you. But, it is the support and trust I feel at A&HT that allowed me to say yes. So here goes….
Supporting the church has always been important to me since I was a child. My parents instilled in me a strong sense of the importance of supporting non-profits and causes that are important to me. My father spent most of his life (not just his “working years”) as a professional fundraiser, raising money for the Episcopal church, for public television, for a Public Interest law firm in Philadelphia, and for a whole host of other worthy causes. Of course, my parents taught me to give money to the church every Sunday, and to increase the amount I give every year. When I came to A&HT 14 years ago, I soon learned that supporting the church means more than simply providing financial support. It also means supporting the people and the ministries of the church.
A&HT is a place that works because we all have a role to play (often more than one), and we appreciate that everyone plays their roles to the best of their ability. We care for, trust, and support each other like extended members of a family. It is this support which encourages each of us to reach outside our comfort zone and try something new, whether that is speaking in front of the church, interviewing prospective Ministers of Music, teaching our children about the word of God, or any number of other ministries. Trying something new allows us to grow in many new and unexpected ways, including our faith and understanding of God. Being willing to be vulnerable brings us closer to each other and strengthens the bonds of this church family. It also brings us closer to God because we can see the works of God through our brothers and sisters at A&HT.
As you consider your own role at A&HT, I encourage you to think about those edges of your comfort zone that you will cross this year. How will you stretch yourself, and allow yourself to grow in your faith and commitment to your church family? How will you trust and support your brothers and sisters at A&HT and encourage them to grow? Thank you for the trust and support you have shown me and my family over the years, and thank you for all of the ways you will support A&HT again this year.