Our blog today is written by Loran Sell – and addresses the stewardship of our church, and we think it applies to many of you – Hope you enjoy reading it – Like many congregations this time of year, Holy Cross Lutheran is having a stewardship drive to help determine our next year’s budget. In our congregation several of the church leaders have been asked to give temple talks on stewardship themes. The theme that I’m talking on to assist people in determining the amount to pledge is, ”An Intentional Response to God’s Love.”
You have probably been hearing a lot about finances and pledging from your pastor and church leaders over the past few months. That’s because we are committed to continuing God’s work through the Church and its mission. I know that’s difficult for some of you to hear, but please consider this process as part of our intentional response to God’s love.
As 1st Vice President of your congregation, together with the finance committee, I am responsible for the finances of Holy Cross Lutheran Church including preparing and monitoring the budget. I spent most of my professional career as a mathematics teacher. So, yes, I’m a numbers guy. Yet, I’ve been guilty, as perhaps you have, of just giving the church the same amount month after month, year after year, without stopping to look at the numbers. What does “An Intentional Response to God’s Love” mean to you? _____________. To me, the mathematician, it means examining my personal finances and the financial needs of the church to determine the appropriate amount for me to give to the church. No, I’m not going to share my personal financial situation. I don’t think my wife would appreciate that. But I am going to share some thoughts about financing God’s work through the church.
I want to impress upon you how important it is to pledge your support to your church. Just knowing the number of people pledging gives your leaders confidence that you are supporting them as they continue to lead you in sharing God’s love through the works of your congregation. The pledged dollars allow us to prepare a more accurate projection of the next year’s income which in turn, determines the extent of our outreach.
Remember that stewardship is more than the money that you give to your church. It is about everything that you do in response to God’s love. That includes all the time, talent, and treasures that you contribute to your church and wherever you strive to be a reflection of His love. That’s all important, but at Holy Cross we cannot continue to serve the congregation and our neighbors near and far without solid financial support. We need your gifts to continue doing what we do.
So, what is the right amount to give? That’s not an easy question, and one that only you can answer. It’s between you and God, so maybe you should talk to him about it. As for me, it’s somewhere between where I feel guilty for not giving enough to support God’s work and where it starts to hurt me or my family. I can’t tell you what’s right for you but please be intentional. Think about it. Pray about it, and pledge what your heart is telling you.
What happens at Holy Cross when the pledges are returned?
First: There will be a small team that will open the envelopes and immediately, without looking at them, separate the name portion called, ”I’m in,” from the pledges.
Second: The “I’m in” slips that express support of Holy Cross will go to a team from the Stewardship Committee. They will, without any knowledge of whether or not you have completed a pledge, use the cards to determine how many people are participating and if they need to do any follow up.
Third: The pledges, without names, will go directly to a team from the Finance Committee where they will be used to project the giving for 2020. Hopefully allowing us to present a balance budget in January.
Yes, we are all “Ordinary people called to do extraordinary things” through our ”Intentional response to God’s love.” We can continue God’s work together. Please pledge support to your church today.