What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is a joyful act for the sake of God’s world and about being grateful, responsible stewards of the gifts we receive from God. Christian stewards, empowered by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves to conscious, purposeful decisions. The tradition of giving back to God and to the church comes from the Biblical practice of “tithing,” which means to give back a tenth of our earnings to God (Numbers 18:26). Stewardship is not simply about money. Stewardship is a fundamental of Christian discipleship. It is about how we live and how we give. At Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church, we see stewardship as more than simply contributing money to the church; it’s also about contributing time and talents, and volunteering for ministry and mission. It’s about reaching out to build relationships from a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity.
The essential goal of the stewardship ministry at Trinity is to help focus our hearts and our lives on the things that really matter. By growing in our faith, helping others, and being good stewards of the abundance that God has given us, we can focus on the richness of being rather than the richness of having. What we give to God in response for all that God has given to us. We give time, talent and treasure in response to the gifts of unconditional love, salvation and grace. Most people find giving their time and talent easy, almost second nature. Giving our treasure seems more difficult for many people.
As part of building our relationship with God, each year we ask you to give a gift of gratitude for God’s blessings. Your annual giving strengthens our church and allows us to be part of a community of faith that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Stewardship is both a Personal and a Holy Act
As members of God’s kingdom we have to recognize that we have a responsibly for our own personal stewardship as well as of the church that has called us to be a welcoming congregation seeking both to know Christ and to make Christ known. Here at Trinity Family of Faith we take our personal and Holy stewardship very seriously knowing that we all live in a world of challenges and opportunities. We see stewardship as a journey, a journey about how we live our lives out faithfully each day as Christians. We invite you to join us on this journey!
Through the stewardship program here at Trinity, we have developed a number of resources to assist members in living out this journey of developing their holy habits of tithing, daily personal prayer and study, Sabbath time and weekly worship. This includes educational programs throughout the year, preaching and worship that focus on stewardship and opportunities to examine your own approaches to personal and Holy stewardship. As a church family we also have our need to be responsible stewards. The church relies on all of its members to share in the support of the costs of our programs of outreach and hospitality.
Trinity Family of Faith as a Steward of its Resources
Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church depends on the voluntary offerings of the congregation to maintain the facilities, pay the staff and carry out the programs of the church. Your contribution, large or small, helps keep us going.
You can review our financial information at any time by viewing our financials page to see the total budget and everything which goes into running our church. In order to responsibly plan for the financial needs of the church for the coming year, we rely on members making a “pledge” of financial support. Every Fall, the Finance Committee develops a budget for the upcoming year for approval. During the budget-making process, the plans and goals for the year are balanced against the expected income. Your pledge is the most important building block of the budget. At Trinity, pledges account for a significant portion of the budgeted operating income. Your pledge is extremely important!
What is a Pledge and why does my pledge mean so much to the Church?
A pledge is your commitment of a certain amount of money to help the church community grow. Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church is our spiritual home, and your pledge helps us extend that welcome to many, many others. Your pledge to Trinity says, “I am a part of this community, and I want to show that this church and its goals are important to me.”
Pledges are most useful when made as year-long commitments, and we encourage you to make your pledge as early as possible, preferably in October or November when the stewardship drive is active. Most people will then fulfill their pledges in installments, every week or every month, throughout the year. When you declare your pledge commitment early, it helps us plan and to allocate for our increasingly diverse and growing range of ministries, both local and global, for the full year.
Many people tell us that they feel deeply rewarded by making a pledge and committing to an intentional program of giving to the church. They say that kind of giving is a sort of spiritual discipline that helps them feel closer to God, and more closely linked to this community, its activities and ministries.
How do I decide how much to pledge?
Your giving is as personal as your prayer, and only you can know what is right for you—at this stage of your journey, in your current financial circumstances, at this point in your overall life plan.
The stewardship team know that the idea of “pledging” may be new to many people in our community. They also know how important this kind of giving is—both to Trinity and to you. We hope that you will feel free to ask any of the members of the stewardship team to speak with you about pledging and the ways in which you might reflect prayerfully on your commitment to Trinity. The important thing is to make a commitment; you’ll find that as the Church grows, you are growing, too.
The Tithe and Proportional Giving
Any regular, intentional giving of a specific amount of money is, in a way, “proportional” giving—the proportion may just be modest and even unconscious. The Bible states a specific obligation to “tithe”—that is, to give a tenth of what you have received from God back to God. One-tenth! Ten percent! The Bible sets the bar very high—maybe too high for most of us to think about at first.
We urge you to begin your commitment to proportional giving with a small step: Promise to give two percent each year, or three. The average pledge to churches nationally is 2.6 percent of income, and maybe that’s a good place to start. Some people here at Trinity do “tithe”—a few even exceed the Biblical “tenth.” The wonderful diversity in our community is reflected, in part, by our diverse attitudes toward (and comfort levels with) annual pledging and proportional giving.
Should I pledge to Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church?
Only you can answer this question. Your pledge is a serious commitment to the parish: a promise that you intend to provide a certain level of financial support in the next year. You might feel that your situation makes it impossible to commit to a specific level of giving. On the other hand, your pledge is vital to the church, because we depend on it to plan for the future.
One way to think about your pledge…
- Write down the amount of your yearly income:
It doesn’t matter whether you use before-tax income or after; you decide. If you don’t know how much your yearly income will be, make a guess. Perhaps start with your prior yearly income. Don’t worry too much about this number. If your circumstances change, you can always adjust the amount of your pledge—down or up!
- Pick a Percentage:
Are you new to the idea of proportional giving? Try using the national average of 2.6%. Or if you have been giving for a while, take last year’s percentage and try adding 1% to it. Or just pick some other percentage.
This is your total yearly pledge. If you want to pay in weekly installments, divide your total pledge number by 52, or if you wish to pay monthly, divide it by 12.
How do you feel about this number?
Is it in proportion to the importance of God in your life?
Is it in proportion to the importance of Trinity Family of Faith Church in your life?
How is it in proportion to the other ways you spend money?
I get it! I want to pledge… What now?
Think. Pray. Stretch. Commit to being a giver.
If you are ready to complete your annual pledge card now or speak to Greg or Jack on the stewardship team. They can help arrange your pledge records and pass on your confidential pledges amount to the finance team. We thank you.