Attention All Stakeholders
That’s what you are, stakeholders.
Definition: denoting a type of organization in which all the members are seen as having interest in its success. It also implies ownership or responsibility in the success of the mission of the organization. In our case, we are all participants in and responsible for the successful implementation of the mission of Saint Patrick’s: to be Monday through Saturday followers of Jesus who worship together on Sundays. It takes a lot of intentionality, implementation and hard work to make this community of love-spreading difference-making a reality. If we’re to take seriously Jesus’ call to change the world for his Name’s sake, that is, to bring the love of Jesus to people in positive, practical and transformative ways, we must first practice that love in our own lives and in the life of our community. This is the meaning at the heart of one of our mantras here at St. Pat’s: “First we were loved. Now we love.” First, we have to really accept the fact of our belovedness. We must soak in our intrinsic value as one of God’s own beloved creations, and that we are all worthy of love and belonging. Then, we can go out and put our creed into our deed. Brene Brown wrote that we cannot give away what we don’t already have to give. We cannot love as we have been loved unless we first have experienced the love we seek to share. We cannot put our creed into our deed unless we first know what it is to live out what we believe in positive, practical and transformative ways in our own lives.
This is where Paul’s letter to the Corinthians comes in. Together we are studying a two-thousand-year-old community’s struggle to live out their own creed, their own beliefs, in positive, practical and transformative ways. They struggle and fail. They overcome fractures. They wrestle with what it means to be followers of Jesus in the real world. There is much to learn from our Corinthian brothers and sisters as they struggle. They, too, are stakeholders. Stakeholders in this new way of living. Stakeholders, investing everything they’ve got into a bourgeoning new, counter-cultural community. What does it mean for us to put it all on the line for the mission of our little outpost of love, our beachhead for the Kingdom here in Thousand Oaks, the Conejo Valley and beyond? Are we willing to trade in all our poker chips, put all our eggs in the Jesus basket, and step out in faith and trust?
This Sunday begins our 2019 Pledge Campaign for Mission and Ministry here at Saint Patrick’s. This is the time when we dream big. It is the time when we dedicate our financial support to the cause of Christ working in and through this community of love. It is also the opportunity to stretch ourselves, financially and faithfully, as we prayerfully determine what this community means to us and how we will support its work. We are at a turning point in the vibrant life and long history of this place, and it is up to us to commit ourselves fully to its success and lean into God’s vision for Saint Patrick’s. We’re all of us stakeholders in the success of this place and its mission.
There’s hard work ahead, fellow stakeholders, but together with God, we can do hard things.
See you Sunday.