Voices: Stewardship

From Drew Hensel, our Stewardship Committee Chair:

Thank you again for your support over the past four weeks listening to each of the spotlight speakers and considering what you can do to support the church through your talents, gifts, and service.

The stewardship team looks forward to sharing what we have received pledge commitments in 2016 for. We hope to balance the budget in 2016 and increase our pledged gifts by 15%.

If you don’t know who I am yet, I’m Drew Hensel and I am leading our Stewardship Team this year. If you don’t know my wife Krista, please get to know her as she will light up your life as she has mine for the past 11 years we’ve been married.

Krista and I have been members of Lake Harriet for nine years, and we joined quickly after moving to Minneapolis from Evanston, IL, in mid-July 2006. After moving to Minneapolis and beginning our search for a new church home, we had only visited a few Sundays when our neighbors, and long-time Lake Harriet church members, Ardith and Ralph Wilson, informed us that if we were thinking of joining we should go get our picture taken in the church directory, since pictures are only taken every five to ten years. Hook, line, and sinker…after getting our photo taken there was no way we could now not join! Really though, Ardith and Ralph simply helped us rip the band-aid off. There was no confusion and we were ready to join when the next new member class came up, and we joined with the Tycasts in early November 2006.

Krista and I soon became involved in many church committees, teams, and helping to fulfill volunteer needs. Like many of us, we do find from time to time we need to better coordinate what each is doing so we don’t suddenly find ourselves needing to both or individually be in two places at once. We’ve found this coordination to be even more important since Blake and Leslie, our 2 ½ year old Twins, were born in February 2013.

When I was asked by Pastor Melanie and the Finance Committee this Summer to lead the Stewardship Team, I gave it some serious thought, as I already had quite a bit going on personally and professionally (as we all do), both in the life of the church and with work and family. I ultimately decided that this role and team was too important not to have as we entered into our stewardship pledge campaign. Thankfully Grace Harkness, Joe Green, Tim Whittle, and Katie Froehlich decided they’d join me on this journey too.

I continue to also serve as Head Counter as part of Finance, which I’ve done for the past four years, yet am also interested in sharing this responsibility if there is anyone who may be willing!

Over the past four years as Head Counter I’ve learned first-hand how important it is to the daily operations of our church and each of our ministries that not only do we continue to receive pledges for our church to operate and ministries to thrive during the stewardship campaign, but fulfilling our pledge commitments and having them counted, received, and entered in a timely manner is what will continue to happen all year long after today’s celebration.

Celebration Sunday

Today is truly a celebration, and I have faith and have been praying that we have each listened, prayed, and asked difficult questions of ourselves and our families over the past four weeks during the campaign to determine what we can each give to the church in 2016.

It is a celebration of turning our fears and concerns of how we are each faithfully able to give more; wrestling with the decision to make the commitment to give above and beyond we have previously, and placing the outcome of our each deciding to give more in God’s hands- both in terms of what it means for our own financial well-being, and what in turn God will enable our church to thrive, grow, and reach for through our commitment.

Thank you for joining me to celebrate each of us making this commitment today and over the past four weeks to support the church financially throughout 2016, and in preparing for the journey we have ahead of us in pursuing the dreams of each of our ministries.

I also want to answer the questions that Stewardship has asked our outstanding Spotlight speakers over the past 4 weeks.

Where do you see God at work in your life/ at Lake Harriet?
In my life and at Lake Harriet I see God most clearly when something unexpected or unexplained happens, both good and bad. Many of us have experienced loss of a parent, which if the loss is with a parent you have a close relationship with, as I had with my dad, will be difficult no matter the parent’s age.

My father’s unexpected passing last year was heart wrenching and difficult for my entire family, most so for my mother who had known my father since 6th grade growing up in Enid, Oklahoma, had dated throughout high school and college, and were married for over 43 years.  It is a journey that none of us had an opportunity to prepare for, yet we’ve found through God’s grace, guidance, and patience a way to help us walk together on this journey and to begin to heal.

 What are your hopes/dreams for Lake Harriet ministries?
I pray and dream for Lake Harriet to continue to be the ‘top destination’ on my family’s list for where we choose to spend time in our community.  This includes serving the church through volunteering, on committees and teams, regularly attending worship, and of course attending the annual musical, church picnic, and as Blake and Leslie get a bit older…Wednesday Night Dinner.

 Why do you give to Lake Harriet?
How can my family not? We have been so blessed to have found Lake Harriet when first moving to the Twin Cities, which we’ve grown spiritually through and increased our faith, and has supported us and so many others during difficult times. Lake Harriet provides stability and hope to so many in our community, which requires our gifts to be able to continue and grow in serving others.

Why do you think others should give?
We all benefit from having Lake Harriet as a thriving church in our community, and its ministries and facilities that those before us have given to so generously and we are now grateful for. Each of us must continue to support the church now, so that decades from now our legacy of giving will provide for a future that generations to come will equally appreciate.

I have taken up much of your time over the past four weeks, and I hope that my and our other spotlight speakers helped to address stewardship in a positive and encouraging way. We’ve each shared real-life examples of how God is present here, and we hope that in doing so the Holy Spirit has guided each of us in our decision making towards our commitment to faithfully give.

Thank you,

Drew Hensel