I myself, probably like you, do not love to talk about money; but it would be ridiculous to pretend that money is not one of, if not the, biggest parts of our life and carries great sway in almost every decision we make in this life. So it shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus talks about money more than any other topic in the New Testament. This truth informs me that we need to talk about money too, because it has enormous power to affect our spiritual lives as we seek to become fuller disciples of Jesus.
So we could say, since money is a discipleship issue and the church is all about making disciples, we should take money very seriously.
That being said, this Sunday will mark a formal occasion for us to intentionally think about, read about and pray about how we use our money and how we use our money for God’s mission and this community. The actual moment in church will just takes a few minutes and everything will remain confidential, but I hope the process leading up to it will include hours of thought, reading, budgeting and praying.
Last weekend, I shared about vision, both individual vision, that each of us should receive from God, and also shared/interconnected vision for this new church, its growth, its thriving, and its sustainability. And though we might forget, money is always a piece (not the whole) of the way we manifest vision in the culture and world we live in.
Furthermore, it is very important for us as a congregation to understand the connection between “planned giving” and our vision. In order for us to move forward with our vision, we need to become more planned and intentional with what we give to Sideris.
In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul talks about the importance of planned giving. He says: “on the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside.” This encourages us to see we are called to plan for how we give.
To fund our vision over this next year, as well as the years to come, we must individually and collectively bring our giving up to a new level. Here are a few snapshots of our financial giving for the calendar year ended 12/31/2016.
- In 2016 our internal giving went up 45% from the previous year! YEAH!
In 2016 our internal giving was 42% of overall budget (Met our goal!!)
In 2017 our internal giving goal is 70% of overall budget
With no increase in our budget, this equates to a $62,000 increase in internal giving on top of last years total.
It will take everyone participating (some at increased levels) to reach this goal
young professionals just starting careers, and many of us paying off debts… and did I mention we live in an very expensive city.
HOW DO I DECIDE WHAT TO PLEDGE AND GIVE?
And finally remember that you need to discern for yourself what God is calling you to give. It is ultimately not a matter between the church and you, but between God and you. To not think hard about it and pray about this issue will negatively affect your relationship with Jesus. So please be sober-minded with these sorts of decisions and allow yourself time and space to read relevant Scriptures, articles, and pray through it alone and with your spouse (if applicable).
As I have grown in this area of my own life, I have found it to be a freeing and joyful experience to give financially to God’s work in a variety of means and ways.
Here are some articles…
2. Is it my money? article on generosity
3. How do I start making a giving plan? article
Again, these articles are to get you thinking and praying through this issue. They are not meant to be prescriptive in their detail or exhaustive in their addressing of the decisions at hand. Just good starting points. Thank you for participating with God and in our community in this way,