Finishing Strong – November 22.
Standing near the finish line of a marathon, there’s a palpable sense of joy as the runners come in one by one. No matter what happened out on the course, there’s a feeling of camaraderie and mutual accomplishment as each participant, whether sprinter or straggler, crosses the line and becomes a part once more of the whole that started out together.
In this third week of our Start to Finish emphasis, in which we’re highlighting our journey together as the people of Wilshire, we look at what it takes to finish strong in our giving — as individuals but also as a congregation.
There’s no denying the significance of both individual and organizational faith as congregations lean toward the finish line of a stewardship drive, said David King, former Wilshire pastoral resident and now director of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
“It’s important that just as you had faith and confidence in what you started, there is a faith and confidence to finish strong,” King said. “That faith and confidence isn’t simply sitting back and waiting for something to happen; it’s an act of faith to get your hands dirty. It’s being faithful to the mission but also being faithful in the work that is required.”
That work — which will get a congregation to the finish line — includes sharing stories and asking and answering questions that connect the past, present and future, said King.
“It’s important to recall what you’ve done to get to this point, and important to have reminders of why you’re doing it: building the mission of the organization,” he said. “It’s important also to recall where God’s story has been in your story and where success has already led you.”
For individuals, stewardship emphases and campaigns are not just about continuing the missional work and legacy of the church, said King.
“We’re not simply developing these gifts to accomplish something for the organization,” he said. “It’s also to encourage and develop individuals and families as givers. It’s part of our personal journey of discipleship. It’s part of our calling to God.”