?Pastor Larry had been reading all the news stories about the economic recession and the enormous fiscal stimulus bills moving through Congress. He was particularly intrigued to learn that mayors and governors across America had been showering their congressmen with laundry lists of projects they’d like funded, such as seafood museums and bridges over other bridges and such. It gave him an idea.
The recession had certainly hit Old First Church, Pastor Larry recognized. He was seeing a lot less of Benjamin Franklin and a lot more of Abe Lincoln in the offering plates these days. The reasons were plentiful-Mr. Jackson had lost his job in the layoffs down at the widget plant, crazy Fred lost his job because he yelled at his boss once too often, and Miss Mildred’s major investment in GM (“a sure-fire winner” her former broker had said) had gone south in a big way. Offerings were down, and growth didn’t look likely soon, especially with that fancy new church down the street offering a coffee bar and big movie screens and only eight commandments.
So Pastor Larry sat down at the computer and began to compose his letter to the area congressman, offering his own humble suggestions for ways to stimulate the economy:

Dear Congressman:
Here is our carefully considered proposal for ways to strengthen the economy of our area while helping the valuable non-profit sector of the community. (That would be our church, just to be clear.) We propose you include the following items in the next fiscal stimulus bill that comes before Congress:
• $250,000 to provide financial assistance to struggling construction professionals in this region. (It just so happens this will be the required amount to put a new roof on Old First Church. It’s been leaking pretty bad for awhile.)
• $150,000 to create a pilot project for enhanced telecommunications services in the community. (That will pay the cost of our new steeple, and then we can rent it out to one of those cell phone companies to use as an antenna. My pastor friend Buddy says they get $30,000 a year for letting those guys put an antenna in their steeple.)
• $100,000 to facilitate improved child-care availability and services. (That will be just enough to put some carpet in the nursery, buy some of those nice beds, and then pay salaries for some younger nursery workers. Mrs. Hoover is getting too old to bend over and pick up the kids these days.)
• $50,000 to provide vital funding for training and development of not-for-profit management professionals in the area. (I figure that will be more than enough to pay for me to go to some of those conferences I’ve been reading about, especially the ones in Florida and Hawaii in the winter. And if there’s any money left over, our music director could sure use a little of that training, too-some place where they’ll teach him a few new songs, I hope.)
• $250,000 for enhanced retirement planning and social services for the senior adult population in this community. (That’s just about what it’s going to take to get my retirement fund back to where it was a couple of years ago. Of course, if there’s some money left over, we can use it to restock the supply of blue hair dye we keep on hand for the senior ladies’ Sunday School class. Just in case of an emergency.)
Your friend and voter,
Pastor Larry

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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