“No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed:
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way
the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 16: 16b-17
Each of us is called to worship God with our entire life, including our time, talents, and resources. Sharing those resources is an important way to worship the Giver of all good things. Each year, we have the opportunity to make or renew our commitment to one another and the mission of St. Andrew’s by making a financial commitment (pledge). We pledge to be good stewards of His gifts, taking great care in how we manage and track the resources entrusted to us.
The St. Andrew’s Annual Stewardship/Pledge Campaign asks for your financial support for the programs and ministries of the church for the coming year. Whether or not you have pledged or given money to St. Andrew’s in the past, now is a good time to think about the meaning of giving in general and why and how much to give to St. Andrew’s.
What is a pledge? A pledge is a financial commitment to your church. It is not a binding contract. Circumstances change – and pledges may be revised up or down depending on your situation.
Why pledge? God’s call for us is to share the gospel with grateful hearts, and the church can only plan future ministries by operating on a budget. By making a pledge (financial commitment) to St. Andrew’s, we can generate a reasonable budget based on these pledges. Your pledge is the primary basis for what we can accomplish as a church, and makes it possible for your church to create a budget for our staffing, ministries, programs and outreach for the coming year.
How much should I pledge? As we seek God`s will each year in our campaign, we cannot help but reflect upon the phrase “in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” Just as everyone has a different financial situation, the amount of your pledge is an individual decision which is unique to reflect your own life situation and sense of commitment to the church. We seek pledges from 100% of our parishioners. Pledges of any amount are welcome and necessary for us to continue to spread the Gospel through our ministries. Please know that all pledges are kept extremely confidential here at St. Andrew’s.
You may be interested in knowing what other people are doing. Contrary to the low national average of pledgers, at St. Andrew’s approximately 78 of our 140 member households turned in a pledge card for 2020. Those who didn’t pledge may make contributions at various times, often into the plate that is passed at worship services. As you think about how much money to give to St. Andrew’s, I suggest four things to consider:
- The Practical: In order to fund our budget for 2020, we need an average pledge of $2,300 from 100 households. This is approximately $6.40 per day or $45 per week.
- 2) The Bible:There is no clear mandate in Scripture about how much to pledge. Through the centuries, many people have looked to references about “tithing” as a guide. A tithe is simply 10% of something. In the book of Deuteronomy for example, the Israelites were to “tithe” or set aside a tenth of their yearly harvest for a festival and to support orphans, the poor and the Temple priests. In the New Testament, each of the Gospels records Jesus speaking about money and giving. In fact, Jesus talks about money more than any other subject except for the Kingdom of God! You may be familiar with some of the parables about money including the rich young man who is challenged to give up his wealth and walks away from Jesus, or the story about Zacchaeus, the tax collector who promises to give half of his money to the poor. The thread through Jesus’ teaching is clear: people who show generosity and giving are expressing God’s love and concern for the world.
- Theological:The triumph of Christian theology is the claim of God as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The essence of the Trinity is agape – the complete giving of self without condition. The Father gives of himself to the Son and the Holy Spirit, who in turn give back to the Father and each other. The Godhead is an eternal process of giving that pours beyond itself and into the Creation and the world. As each human is made in the image of God, we too, in our essence are made for giving. Giving is the very core of our image, our DNA, and we are most human and most acting out of our divine image when we give – give of our time, our talents and our money. In other words, by giving, we are doing what we are made for. It frees us, gives us joy and reveals our true identity; however, from an early age, our giving impulse is curbed and even destroyed through fear and a barrage of societal messages that say happiness comes through consumption and accumulation of material goods. Giving is counter-cultural and can be scary and difficult, but with practice and purpose, it becomes a thing of freedom and joy.
- Your Priorities: Each person has a unique financial situation, so there can be no set amount of giving that is right for everyone. Jesus commends the poor widow who put her two pennies in the Temple treasury. Even though it was only two pennies, it was all she had and Jesus says that her contribution was greater than all of the others, including the contributions of those who made a show of dropping gold coins into the pot. As you consider your financial support for St. Andrew’s, you need to ask yourself what St. Andrew’s means to you. Is it important to you, either spiritually, socially or historically? Do the ministries, programs and presence of St. Andrew’s make your life better in some way? Do you think St. Andrew’s is a benefit to the community and to those beyond our town borders? How much money do you spend on other aspects of your life, such as coffee, a health club membership, vacations, magazines or your cell phone? Can you imagine $5 or $10 per day going to St. Andrew’s? Some people are able to give a few dollars each week. There are others who give on average as much as $50 per day. The question is not about how much but whether your giving is in alignment with the rest of your life – spiritual, material and social.
St. Andrew’s is blessed with a generous and giving congregation. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on the ways you make your giving decisions and priorities. And remember, Giving is about “Building Upon The Foundation.”
Yours in Christ,