Generous and Most Merciful God, we ask you to come among us and guide us with your Holy Spirit as we consider how our gifts can best serve your Kingdom as we approach the time where Your house of worship is made new.
Keep us looking to Jesus for guidance on how we can give our gifts so that all may encounter your Grace and Love.
As we approach this time of giving, open our hearts and minds. Make us willing to give our gifts over to you so that you may use them for your purposes.
We seek to create a space so all can fully worship you here. A place where all are welcome. A place where we can say to our neighbors “come and see.” And a place that is filled with ever-welcoming stewards of your Grace.
All we ask is for you to guide us and reveal the joys of generosity. Show us how cooperating with Your Will always brings us the most joy. Lead us to provide gifts for your newest creation, the creation of a House of Worship that is loving from the moment one walks in.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Gift Giver, Amen
Proposed Building Plans
Written by Ashleigh Brelage: Growing up, my family has always been very involved in giving to our church. This has made me realize that giving is bigger than just money. You can give many different types of things, time, talents, and money as well. My family is big on giving time and talents; however, I see the gift of money as something very important as well. Not everyone has time to spare in their busy lives, but everyone can typically give money even if it is only a minuscule amount. This reminds me of a parable where a man gives much of his money, but then, a poor woman gives a small amount is seen as giving much more. This is because the woman gave all she had to give. So, whatever the amount, whatever the type of gift, it is in thinking about others and showing we care that truly matters.
One of the things my siblings and I would do when we were kids was putting the money in the collection basket at church. The small act of just placing the money in the basket helped teach us to give. Another small thing we did was shovel snow at church. This made a huge difference as it allowed people to get into the building easier. Small actions such as donating food during a food drive or bringing in items for a giving tree taught me at a young age the importance of giving time and talents. The small actions of generosity we take can make a big difference. So, even if you are not recognized for what you give, either shoveling snow or giving money, even small things matter. It is a little cliché, but every penny counts.
Written by Gwen Carey: Phil and I made several trips to Alaska, he more than I. He was an avid fly fisherman, the owner of superior rods and reels. He tied his own flies. His favorite spot in Alaska was Talkeetna, and, of course, salmon was the fish to be caught.
One year when no fishing buddy was available to go with him, I went. We stayed in the smallest of the four cabins at Whispering Pines. There were bunk beds, a dresser and a chair—no running water. The showers and other bath needs were a short walk away on a gravel path bordered by wild flowers. We loved it.
While he fished, I read, walked and had coffee and cookies in the main house.
One afternoon, I chanced upon the young lady who cleaned the cabins. She was probably in her mid-30s. I joined her on the bench where she was resting, and she shared her story with me.
While she and her husband were living in California, they shared a dream of moving to Alaska and building a small simple cabin with a room on the second floor, open with lots of light so she could paint. Before they left California, his truck was stolen along with all of his tools.
At the time of our visit, they had a truck and had managed to buy a bit of acreage and were slowly replacing the tools, and they were buying some lumber. They were good people filled with hope.
The day Phil and I left to come home, I placed a check on the dresser in our cabin with a note saying that I wanted to be a part of their dream.
The next year our son Steven went with Phil, and I stayed home. The lady was still there, and she gave Phil a jar of homemade fire weed jelly to bring home to me. It was very sweet of her and such a blessing to me.
Everyone has dreams of doing something special. It is my prayer to be a part of our dream here at Holy Trinity. I hope you, too, will join in that dream.
Written by Jennifer Sanderfer: You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:11-15
The above scripture reading from 2 Corinthians was written by Paul to the Corinthian church. In it, Paul talks about how our generosity to ministry and mission will produce thanksgiving to God and that you will be enriched in every way. I know we have all heard someone say, “God is calling me/us to…” I have even said this myself; God is calling me into ministry as a Stephen Minister through a program called Stephen Ministries, which is a grief ministry program. But what does that mean? And what does that have to do with generosity? Let’s answer the second question first…as Paul says in verse 12: “for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.” We don’t participate in ministry for ourselves; we do ministry for God and others. Being generous is to be kind to others, to give of yourself. When you give to the ministry of Holy Trinity, you are not giving your money and time to the church. You are giving to those in need and to the thanksgiving and glorification of God. What does it mean to be called by God? When God calls you into mission or ministry, you are being asked by God to go out and serve. It is indeed an honor and gift to serve God and God’s people. And if you think about it, we all are called by God to serve God’s people. God has called you into ministry, maybe not as a Pastor or Deacon, but you are called to be giving of yourself to help others and do the ministry of God. And we are blessed that you are doing ministry in and through Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Muncie, Indiana! As Paul says in verse 15: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
Written by Becke Bly: In January of 2014, Pastor Tracy asked me if I’d like to help her with a feeding ministry. Since I was retired, I thought, “Why not.” She showed me to the pantry where there was a big tote with all sorts of canned food in it. She asked if I would go through them, sort them, and get them ready for distribution. She also told me that Kristen Dashler would be working with me since Kristen thought people were hungry all year round, not just at Christmas. That was the start of HTLC’s Open Hands Feeding Ministry.
Kristen and I became friends. I really had no idea what I was doing, but Kristen helped me in so many ways. We now have Open Hands down to a science. Every month we give out 40 bags full of non-perishable food to people who are new to our ministry and some people we’ve come to know and love. When our mission is finished every month, I thank God that we’re able to help our community. I have a talk with Him on my way home.
I also thank the Lord for our wonderful, generous church congregation. It wasn’t really until we were on our feet and successful that the congregation noticed and wanted to help. I can honestly say that I am humbled by that generosity. We asked for donations of cereal, canned meat, and peanut butter because those items seemed to be the costliest. Boy, the word went out, and we have contributions of those items monthly. It certainly helps with the grocery bill. Thrivent members contribute monthly with $250 “seed money” gift cards. We’ve also been very thankful for monetary contributions.
Generosity is felt very deeply here at HTLC, especially from the Open Hands Feeding Ministry. I am so very proud to be able to help the needy by giving them food. We don’t ask questions; we just give them bags of food. It is the very generosity of HTLC that makes me want to continue on with this very worthy mission. Thank you so very much.
Written by Dawn-Marie Oberly: Generosity – most people think of generosity in terms of monetary giving. At Holy Trinity, generosity is not ONLY monetary. In my twenty-four years at HTLC I have seen many examples of giving generously of yourselves, from your heart. I’ve seen how you listen when someone needs to share. I’ve seen you decorating the church, preparing the communion elements, lecturing, lay leading, being an acolyte, singing in the choir, changing the paraments and monitoring the sound system. I’ve seen you serve on Church Council, a ministry team or a special committee. I’ve seen you distributing food to the needy, preparing and serving food, quilting, “plarning”, maintaining the building, mulching, weeding and the list goes on.
At Holy Trinity it doesn’t matter if your pledge may or may not be what someone else’s is. What matters is that you were generous in giving of yourself, from your heart. HTLC could not survive without the various ways its members give, be that your time, skills or money. For me, this story is not about the MOST generous person I have known in my life but the MOST people being generous in my life right here at Holy Trinity.
Written by Nancy Carlson: When John and I were just getting started as a family, we had many bills and low salaries. It was a struggle to decide which bill to pay which month. Pastor John gave a sermon on stewardship and confessed that he and Elaine were in the same boat. Then he told us something that changed our whole way of thinking when it came to our church offering. He said he put God first, paid his tithe first, and the rest of the finances seemed to sort themselves out. It was too difficult to believe rationally, but we tried it through faith, and it worked. We wrote that check to Holy Trinity before we paid our mortgage and have done so ever since. Now we don’t write checks. (I do miss putting something in the plate.) We give through Tithely software on the first of the month. It’s not a struggle. It’s a joy. God is good, all the time.
Written by Jaren and Kendra Summers: Jaren and Kendra’s Experience at HTLC We first visited Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in January 2018 of our sophomore year at Ball State University. We had made a list of about six churches to visit, and Holy Trinity was at the top of our list since Jaren was more familiar with Lutheran worship. When we first stepped in the front door, we could not believe how welcoming everyone was. There was so much hospitality and everyone was smiling and introducing themselves. We sat down in a pew and immediately fell in love with the service. We left church feeling refreshed that day and knew we had found something truly wonderful and special. We have attended church at HTLC every available Sunday we have since then. We never visited any of the other churches on our list. We were baptized by Pastor Jerry and then became regular members of the congregation in 2018. We also had Pastor Jerry perform our wedding ceremony last March. These were both pivotal moments in our lives and are events we will never forget.
We have made so many wonderful friends and have been given opportunities we never dreamed of. One such opportunity was being able to travel to Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi, where we really grew in our faith. Everyone was just so welcoming, and over time we became increasingly involved. We both are now leading the college-outreach program, serve on the Worship Committee, volunteer for Children’s Church, and Jaren serves on Council. Many of our happiest moments from our college years, and indeed some of the best memories we will ever have, have come from or have been associated with Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity has had such a massive and profound influence on our lives. After service every Sunday we immediately look forward to the next time we can return.
We cannot get enough of Holy Trinity and its wonderful congregation. It has been a privilege to be members of this congregation, and we look forward to many more years of active involvement. We love this church and this congregation. We have been blessed so much and now understand what a church family truly is. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that we can always count on Holy Trinity to help us when times are bad and to celebrate with us when times are good. Holy Trinity has changed our lives forever, and we will always be grateful for that. We are excited for this building renovation because we know that it will only increase the possibilities for us to reach new people and share God’s love, hope, and healing with the world. It will make our church more welcoming and accessible which will truly enable us to reach more members of our wider community. Holy Trinity is truly special, and we want everyone to be able to experience that.
Written by Sue Donnellan: The definition of generosity includes words like benevolence, charity, kindness, unselfishness, bounty, goodness, honor, self-sacrifice, hospitality, and heart.
I think generosity to me has a lot to do with my heart. If I give, my heart warms me, gives me joy, I want to do more. I think about the blessings I have been given and the generosity of my loving God, and I want so much to give back. Yes, I can show thankfulness by prayer to God, but I know He expects me to follow His example. So what do I do?
First of all, I pray for an open heart that I can show my love to others and can become more Christ-like. I ask help in finding freedom from materialism. I ask to be attentive to His words…to listen. I ask not only to love with words but with actions and in truth.
Now I’m ready to take on the possibilities, but it’s scary sometimes. I’m too tired sometimes. I don’t have the patience sometimes. It’s too much to ask sometimes. It’s tough to push myself, but if I don’t show some self-sacrifice and that love I want to give, then I’ll never move from this point of status-quo. So here I go…. God help me!
I know that generosity is the virtue of being liberal in giving, often as gifts. Generous people give more than money; they can share their time, resources, and skill. Generous people give to see the impossible become possible. Remember the story of a little boy in Matthew 14 who offered Jesus his meager lunch of a few loaves and fish, and Jesus had 5,000 mouths to feed. But gifts in God’s hands can be, and often are divinely multiplied to meet the demands of greater works. My generosity, however meager it might be, can be the beginning of a beautiful new plan.
Another thought. Generosity is more than readily giving away something that I don’t need. It is a self-sacrifice action that can make me feel pain because I have given away some of my true self. I think about God when He sacrificed His only son. God must have felt great pain in doing so, but God’s grace and love for everyone is what grew out of that. He loved us so much that sacrifice fell away.
We will be entering our church’s Capital Funds Campaign soon. We will all be asked to generously give to this exciting dream. What a wonderful opportunity to give with our hearts in order to make this happen. Our monies, our time, our resources, and our skills will be lovingly given to our God and then given back to us for a new future at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. God is Good. All The Time.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 900 W. White River Blvd. Muncie, IN 47303 (765) 282-0619