Blessing through the Ages
What a wonderful start to our pledge drive! After our first week, we have received 58 pledges. Five of those are new from last year and 23 of those are for e-giving.
It is truly a blessing to be at a church where the culture of pledging has been instilled. Some churches do not pledge at all. Andrew Schaeffer told me of an instance in a church where the church members pledge but leave them sealed in their envelopes. The idea is that the pledge is between the individual and God. The problems with this are multiple. Passing a budget on previous receipts is conjecture at best. Financial situations change and the church may end up with less money than it anticipated. As people move away either to another church, out of town or to the church eternal, it becomes difficult to truly forecast each year what kind of ministries the church can responsibly pursue. Large scale ministry takes planning and anticipated funding.
Another difficulty of this is that it lacks any kind of accountability for us as Christians. While we wouldn’t want our giving broadcast to all the world, it is helpful for a handful of people to know what we intend. It is shown that people give more on average when they pledge. When we state that Jesus is Lord, he is Lord of our entire lives including our finances.
Our church culture has also embraced e-giving on a large scale. For 2017, 49.4% of our pledges signed up for e-giving. This is a remarkable achievement! I told this impressive percentage to another pastor this week and he sat up and began asking me all about how we got there. I told him that our business manager (Aimee Hallenbeck) comes during the Sunday school hour and is available to sign people up and answer questions. We also have some kind of incentive for those signing up or renewing their pledge by e-giving (this year we are offering Eileen’s cookies for e-giving).
It is not that we don’t appreciate gifts in the traditional format. Cash and checks are still wonderful ways to give to God! However, e-giving stabilizes the budget because it becomes a constant regardless of attendance. For summer months when traveling picks up, our budget has not missed a beat. Because we have this revenue stream even when attendance is down, we no longer have stressful finance meetings that stretch into the wee hours.
Some of our members appreciate the ease of giving this way. Aimee noted that a woman was hesitant about e-giving and another member came up and told her how easy it was! She remarked that Aimee “really knows what she’s doing!” Another member picked up several cards to take to her Sunday school class! Aimee’s goal is to move us to 55% for 2018. I believe that she’ll get there because our culture is shifting to paying for things this way. I’m sure that at some point, the church struggled over accepting personal checks but now we don’t blink an eye.
If you would like to sign up on our website – either for pledging or e-giving, it is available (along with our impact report) here: https://www.fumcedmond.org/2017-pledge-drive.
On Sunday, we were blessed to hear Rev. Trey Witzel’s sermon as a millennial. This week, we hope you’ll join us for worship as Rev. Don Vaught shares his testimony on stewardship from a Baby Boomer perspective. We ask that you would prayerfully consider what you will pledge to God through your church for the coming year as we celebrate God’s grace in our lives together!
Check out Sam’s Blog here: http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com.
Photo by More Good Foundation via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.