A Letter from Fr. Stavros

Stewardship 2019

BRIDGE THE GAP

 Dear Parishioners,

What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? I Corinthians 4:7

Christ is the hope of the world.  The Church He established is the heart of that hope.  Our parish of St. John the Baptist exists to spread that message of hope to the people of Tampa.  Our parish is defined by five core values: Love, Worship, Community, Learning, Service.    Sharing the good news of Christ’s love and the hope that comes from knowing Christ is the most important work we do.  Our parish is thriving in so many ways.  On most Sundays our church is filled to capacity with standing room only.  Our parish loves to worship.  We come together in fellowship both in the parish and greater Tampa Bay area. Our parish loves our community.  We offer several bible studies and Orthodoxy 101 classes year round as well as a daily devotional called “The Prayer Team.”  Our parish loves to learn.  We have dynamic ministries for just about every demographic.  Our parish loves to serve.

Yet, there are still some gaps of who we are and what we are supposed to do.  This year, will you help us BRIDGE THE GAP?

  • The gap between how often we pray, read Scripture and worship and the amount of time we should spend on these things--the Stewardship of your
  • The gap between what the church could offer to the world, and what it currently offers—the Stewardship of your
  • The gap between what you could give and what you do give—the Stewardship of your

There is a gap of understanding that the things we have—our time, our talent, our treasure—are all gifts from God.  Stewardship is not only about money, but about our whole lives and what we are doing with them. And it’s not about what we offer St. John Greek Orthodox Church. It’s about what we offer to Christ.  Because through the Church, we do the work of Christ.

Our goal is to fund our parish 100% on Stewardship.Currently, we fund about $500,000 of our $763,000 budget on Stewardship, leaving the remaining $263,000 to be raised through fundraisers and donations.  We’d like to BRIDGE THE GAP.  We’d like to see our church funded 100% with Stewardship, so that we can eliminate our reliance on fundraisers. We’d like to see our church do more to fill the gaps for people inside our community and in the community at large.  Think about the gaps in your life and in our world, which can be filled by Christ and the Church, and what you can do to help bridge them.

As you prayerfully consider your Stewardship offering for 2019, please consider how you can BRIDGE THE GAP:

Offer your time—Come faithfully to worship each Sunday (and on weekdays when you can.) Pause daily to pray and meditate on Scripture.

Offer your talent—Serve in one of our ministries.  If you have a talent that is not reflected in one of our current ministries, talk to Father Stavros about starting a new ministry that can bring the love of Christ to our parishioners and to those outside of our parish.

Offer your treasure— While the financial offering will look different for each unique family situation, there are four principles that apply for everyone.

  • Make a PLAN for what you want to give this year, and how you can increase that in the years to come.
  • Offer a PERCENTAGEof your income.The biblical standard is 10%. Most of us are giving between 1-2%. Look at your annual income and offer a percentage back to Christ.
  • There should be a PROGRESSIONin our Stewardship from year to year. We should seek to increase our percentage each year. Please consider increasing your pledge for 2019.
  • Most of all, our giving has to be PURPOSEFUL. Our gift first and foremost is to Christ. Secondly, it is our gifts that allow our church community to not only survive, but to thrive.

Why does the Church need to thrive?  Because when the Church thrives, it can help BRIDGE THE GAPin the parish community and also in the greater community.

  • There is a growing gap between the world God wants us to live in and the world in which we find ourselves.
  • There is a growing gap between how Christ taught us to live and how we live.
  • There is a growing gap between hope and despair in the world.

Will you help BRIDGE THE GAP with your Stewardship offering to CHRIST in 2019!

Christ IS the hope of the world.  The Church He established IS the heart of that hope.  As stewards of the Church, YOU hold that hope in your hand.

With love in the Lord,

+Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis           Sandra Pappas                       Pete Trakas

Proistamenos                                      Stewardship Co-Chair            Stewardship Co-Chair

Stewardship Sunday is December 9.  We ask that everyone fill out their pledge form for 2019 and bring it to church on that Sunday or mail it to the church office before December 9.