Guest post written by Dr. Patsy Smith, member of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and Ruling Elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
It is Sunday morning. A reminder on my phone buzzes. Looking at the message I am alerted to “Proclaim Matthew 25!” I will take a moment to remind worshippers in my congregation to support our efforts to become a Matthew 25 church, and by supporting the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on #GivingTuesday (December 3), we are embracing the work of Matthew 25.
Our small church is already doing mission in the community, and Matthew 25 helps us think about it in a way that connects our financial giving as well. Even better, Matthew 25 expresses connection with congregations throughout the denomination. Some call it offering. Some call it mission. It is a way of giving.
Already, we partner with like-minded churches to bring self-help health education to older adults in the community. Aspects of the program include home management of symptoms and home safety. Some call it ministry. Some call it mission. It is a way of giving.
Already, we partner with a food service to provide food goods to people in need. They deliver products to our church, and people from the community come to help meager dollars go further by receiving supplemental groceries. Some call it a food pantry. Some call it mission. It is a way of giving.
Before this year, the previous two summers running, we participated in a summer lunch program each week. Children under the age of 18 who would normally eat at school were able to eat lunch and take home a snack during the summer weeks when school was not in session. Some call it a hand-out. Some call it mission. It is a way of giving.
Did I mention that our church is situated in one of the most vulnerable sections of our city? The social determinants of health in our area include poverty, housing deficits, transportation challenges, and lack of access to affordable, healthy foods. Our support of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) represents our commitment to engage in mission at home in the way we expect the PMA to engage in mission more broadly.
So I will stand in church today and proclaim Matthew 25. I will proclaim that a portion of Presbyterian Mission Special Offerings goes to support the mission fields around our neighbors. Beyond our reach, there is a world where our support can have even greater outcomes. Therefore, I encourage each person to make #GivingTuesday an opportunity to support Presbyterian Mission in the world community.