To you, O God

we give up the burdens of this day,
trusting your love and mercy.

To you, O God
we surrender ourselves,
trusting you to lead us
in the way of peace in our lives and in
our world through the night
into tomorrow, and forever. Amen

Stretch Your Spiritual Fitness

You may have noticed in the last 5 years or so that there’s been an increased national awareness and focus on fitness, health and nutrition. It started in part with nutrition labels being available to those of us who want to track protein, carbs, sugars, fat (as well as see all the additives that make Kraft macaroni and cheese taste so good). Farmers markets are popping up in every town to promote eating ‘fresh from the garden’ as well as supporting local growers. Daytime talk shows now often have health segments, offer interviews with exercise experts and give healthy recipe alternatives to things like my beloved Kraft Mac. Even the NFL has developed an initiative called ‘play 60’ to encourage parents to inspire their children to be active 60 minutes a day. Now there’s even a wristband to help people track their personal fitness. It’s called a ‘Fitbit’.

Fitbits original ability was simply to count the number of steps one takes in a day. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps which is about 5 miles of walking. This has become, for many, an effective measure of activity as well as a good way to inspire people to get to the gym or walk after dinner to get to their goal.When 10,000 steps have been accomplished, the Fitbit buzzes and flashes as a way of celebrating and congratulating the person arriving at the goal.

Newer Fitbits also have other features like calorie counting, heartrate monitoring, and assessing sleep habits. Fitbits are very comfortable and remain inactive/quiet on your wrist until you tap it, and then you can retrieve whatever information you are interested in knowing. I have a basic Fitbit (and when I wear it), I have found it helpful and a good way of spurring me on to keep moving toward the goal of 10,000 steps. However, I also notice that when I don’t wear my Fitbit, I am much less likely to push myself to the gym (or even walk around the block).

Lately, I’ve been pondering “what if we had a Fitbit to measure our spiritual and fiscal fitness?” What if we had a bracelet that would monitor our faith journey and celebrate each time we intentionally entered into a ‘workout’ of prayer, study or stewardship? What if this “faith-fitbit” would encourage us after we had attended church just 4 weeks in a row? What if the “faith-fitbit” would also remind us how much we are contributing to the annual stewardship of the church versus our other life commitments? I wonder what your “faith-fitbit” would tell you?

Well, there is no faith-fitbit just yet but the Finance and Stewardship committee is working on new technology to offer on-line donations. We are hopeful it will be live in Jan 2016. But the question still stands, what if we had a device that we wore all day like the fitbit to alert us, remind us and spur us in to stretch, reach and increase the level of our fiscal and spiritual activity? What if we a had a personal, private but positive ‘help’ to remind us of what is important to us and to God? 

For the 2016 stewardship campaign which begins this month, we have developed a fun and playful ‘team competition’ approach to help support, spur on and remind everyone to stretch toward new goals of fiscal and spiritual health.

We will be grouping members by years of membership and see how the teams can compete to STEP UP STEWARDSHIP for 2016.We will unveil the plan and the teams in a few weeks including which team each of us will be on.

Stewardship is spiritual practice that often gets ignored but it doesn’t have to be painful or a drudgery. Just like team sports it can be a great supportive and up-lifting experience! So please start praying and pondering how you want to grow and stretch your spiritual and fiscal fitness so that the church continues to thrive and have a very long life.

Getting in shape for Christ with you,