Bruce Linger

Friends, this is a personal story, one that I believe shares a secret of my heart and likely your heart. The tale includes love, gratitude, and generosity.

I’m blessed to spend hours each week with our members, staff, and ministers as part of your leadership team and committee programs. I find our time together energizing and uplifting—surely you can agree that we’re fortunate to have terrific people sharing their time and talent.

Some of you may have caught me leaving church one weekday morning or evening with an extra bounce in my step—it is from being surrounded by such a thoughtful congregation. As I pile into my car to head home or downtown to the office, there is a warmth of affection that has overtaken me. The reason I’m smiling rises from your generosity and in giving back of your experience and ideas. So many of us are building a wonderful community. I’m feeling the love—it’s great to be Builder.

But as I run through my feelings in my head, I ask myself could I do more. Together, we’ve built this Church, but what else can I be doing to ensure this love is sustainable for future generations. And that’s when I know that I need to be a Funder as well. I’m going to hold onto these feelings, the secret that I know in my heart is that more than one dimension—it’s being both a Builder and Funder. Funders measure their wealth not by what they have, but by what they share so generously with others. It means impassioned stewardship; an equally critical sustenance to our congregation as our personal involvement.

What, you may ask, are examples of how both Builder and Funder have brought about life? In just the past week here are examples I’ve enjoyed:

  • Hearing how our youth programs are so successful that they are bursting at the seams with young participants—that we’ve become the “go to program” for north shore teens.
  • Talking to parents and teachers at our fall open house for our preschool, A Joyful Noise, and seeing the playground full of children and parents enjoying games and fellowship.
  • Sitting around our library table talking about ways we can improve our Sunday worship experiences for our members, whether it being a better way to greet and welcome, or ensuring the safety of our congregation of friends and neighbors.

The Builder aspect is clearly working—we have terrific people sharing their time and wisdom. But as I’ve realized, these day-to-day activities and our responsibility to the future call us to be Funders. We all crave these feelings of belonging, gratitude, and giving; the secret is twofold: share your time and talents and show your support to your congregation, friends, and community through stewardship. It’s a perfect pair… and as I’ve found, a key to our hearts.