I confess that we get People magazine, and every week on the transitions page where they list births, weddings and deaths, there is a section where someone famous tells why they give to some worthwhile cause. I have yet to see a church listed, but that isn’t the point.
It got me thinking about why I give to the church. As I said in a sermon last week, I don’t want anyone to give out of GUILT or to “meet the church budget,” although that is certainly important.
I give because I believe in the church; I give because the church is there for all the transitions in life.
As a pastor I get to visit with families in the hospital when a new baby is born, we get to celebrate baptisms and confirmations and weddings, and yes, we “celebrate” and offer thanksgiving to God for the life of a loved one in the funeral service. I believe in the church because we provide for folks’ material and spiritual needs—inside and outside the church. I believe in the church because I believe in Jesus and you can’t be a Christian by yourself.
This week we will mail out stewardship packets that will include a brief letter, a short brochure and pledge cards. Stewardship Dedication Sunday is November 18th. We all say our church covenant when we join the church, and one line says, “We covenant to give cheerfully.”
This is a generous congregation, but we do have members that for whatever reason have not adopted giving as one of their spiritual disciplines. As a result, this year we have had to re-evaluate our ministry and reduce some of the ministry and mission initiatives that we have done in the past.
One solution is to continue to grow the congregation, but another is to keep our current members aware of the importance of stewardship . . . which funds ministry.
This week when your packet arrives ask yourself “Why should I give to the church?” I am going to keep looking at that transition page in PEOPLE and hopefully, one day someone will say the church is the reason why they give.
In gratitude for your commitment,
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” –2 Corinthians 9:7