Voices: Stewardship

Karissa Ouren shares her dreams for Lake Harriet and why she gives.

We have been blessed during our stewardship campaign to have church members’ share their story of where they see God in the life of our church, what are their hopes and dreams for our church, why they choose to give, and why others should give.

Karissa Ouren was the first to share her story with us on Oct. 18, and was supportive when stewardship asked if we could also share her story online. Thank you Karissa for sharing your story with us!

Good morning, my name is Karissa Ouren.  I have been a member of Lake Harriet United Methodist Church since I was in sixth grade.  Over the years I have been involved in a variety of ministries and continue to enjoy the fellowship, theology and commitment to serving others that I witness within our community.

Currently, I have been focused on working with children and families at Lake Harriet through Cherub Choir on Wednesday nights and Parents Babies & Jams (PB&J) on Sunday mornings.  Over the past 3 years I have noticed an exciting growth in the number of young families that are attending our church.  Just a few weeks ago we had 13 toddlers and their parents attend our Sunday morning PB&J session – a record setting attendance!!  We sang, moved our bodies, shared God’s word through song and supported families and their young children in a faith filled way.

Another ministry that I have been focused on is my work in Haiti.  For the past 5 ½ years I have been helping to fund and facilitate teaching training seminars for teachers in two communities in Haiti.  This community driven ministry embodies partnership and extreme faith in God’s provisions.  It is a ministry supported by Lake Harriet and is impacting thousands of lives one step at a time.

Finally, I have the pleasure of being involved in the Shout Band, our 11:11am worship band.  This opportunity to lead worship through song is an amazing way to bring God’s word to life.  Worshiping through music offers an intentional conversation with our creator and allows us to pause for a moment and let the spirit move among us.

These three areas of ministry, for me, answer four important questions as I consider my opportunity to pledge in our 2016 Stewardship campaign.

  1. Where do you see God at work in your life/ at Lake Harriet?
  2. What are your hopes/dreams for Lake Harriet ministries?
  3. Why do you give to Lake Harriet?
  4. Why do you think others should give?

Where do I see God at work?

Everywhere!  In our families, in our outreach ministries, in our music.  God is living and breathing in and through the people of Lake Harriet United Methodist Church.  I truly feel like we are the body, working together for the goodness of God.

What are my hopes and dreams for Lake Harriet?

That we would continue to be an authentic people, united in the pursuit of justice, mercy, love and compassion for all just as Jesus taught.  That we continue to welcome all people, regardless of their life story, embracing the diversity they bring to our community.  And not only that we welcome them, but we challenge and support them to find their role in God’s great big body.

Why do I give to Lake Harriet?

I give to Lake Harriet United Methodist for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I give because someone gave before me.  This allowed me to experience community, fellowship, unconditional love and acceptance and be in a safe place to ask hard questions and wrestle with tough answers.  I want that opportunity to continue for all the young toddlers I work with every week in Cherub Choir and PB&J.  I also give because God calls us to give what we have: financially, spiritually, compassionately and through our acts of service to others.

Why should you give?

I challenge you to take a moment and think of three reasons why you continue to be a part of the Lake Harriet United Methodist Church community.  For me, it is our children’s ministries, our music ministries, and my work with Haiti.  These ministries teach me new things about myself, allow me to share my faith with others and connect with a community of real, authentic people doing life in a Christ like way.  Now, think about what your life would be like, if those did not exist, or struggled to exist.  That’s why you should give.

As Ginny Owens says in her song, “I Am,”

There’s a bigger picture you can’t see.
You don’t have to change the world, just trust in me.
‘Cause I am your creator, I am working out my plan,
And through you, I will show them,

I Am the first, I Am the last,
I Am the present and the past,
I Am tomorrow and today,
I Am the only way.

We all have different gifts. We all have different priorities and choices for how we spend our time and money.  Yet, I would encourage you to think about your role in this bigger picture.  No matter what you are able to give, you are still a part of God’s plan in this world and at Lake Harriet.  My challenge to you is to prayerfully consider how to be a steward of the resources you have been given knowing that the ministries of Lake Harriet are making a difference.

Thank you.