Stewardship & Giving
What Is Stewardship?
We all know deep inside, don’t we, that God really does care about how we spend our lives – how we spend our time, our money and our love. After all, God is the source and owner of everything in this world, and we are just here for a fleeting moment. There is Native American wisdom that supports this idea of humanity’s responsibility for preserving creation in an ongoing way. In the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation, written in the 1200s, it says, "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” The Bible also teaches us that, in our short time on earth, God asks us to care for and protect what belongs to God, to keep it for future generations. We are managers, not owners.
Good stewards believe that God cares about how we spend our time, our gifts, our money, and God cares about how we treat our bodies and other people’s bodies, and our natural world. God cares because all of it is God’s. And yet, God entrusts some of what God owns into our care. It’s all God’s – our bodies, our vocations, our passions, our children, our resources, our minds.
Over the past year or so, many of us have been mapping our faith journeys or contemplating anew how God has worked and is working in our lives. We have explored how we have been drawn to a spiritual life together in church. This type of reflection is also important for stewardship, because it helps us to see the hand of God resting upon our lives. We are created. We are beloved. We are called. And we are claimed. All by God. Thank you, God. Now what do you want me to do with this precious life?
Our Primary Stewardship Resource: Embracing Stewardship: How to Put Stewardship at the Heart of your Congregation’s Life by Charles R. Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy.
Why Commit To Regular Support Of The Church?
In the United Church of Christ, the financial foundation of our churches are the gifts we receive from members and friends. Your estimates of what you can give each year are the most essential part of the overall church budget. Annual gifts make up more than three-quarters of FCCOWT's annual operating income.
Ministry teams build our budget with a focus on fulfilling our mission. Prior to presenting a new budget, the Financial Development Board makes recommendations based on estimates of giving and additional projected income. The Treasurer prepares a budget for review by the congregation. The church budget is then presented in March to the members of the church for final approval. A full financial statement can be requested from the church office.
Why Estimate My Giving?
What If My Financial Situation Changes?
Estimates of Giving enable you to formalize your financial commitment to this church and allow us to anticipate what resources will be available for our ministries and missions.
Forms are available at church or may be submitted online, using the button on the left. Include your personal information and how much you plan to give, either weekly, monthly or yearly for an annual total. Estimate of Giving forms can either be submitted online, placed in the offering plate on any Sunday morning, or mailed to the church office.
How Can I Make My Contributions?
Contributions may be made by check payable to "FCCOWT", dropped in the Sunday offering plate, or mailed or dropped off at the church office. Any member or friend of the church (whether year-round or seasonal) who would like to commit to regular support of the church, offer a special gift, or receive offering envelopes, should not hesitate to contact Financial Secretary David Fielder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-684-8086.
The simplest way is to contribute through Automatic Giving, using electronic funds transfer. This process is a secure and easy way to support the church. Funds received through Automatic Giving are especially valuable, as the church can rely on these recurring contributions to support its work . Enrollment in Automatic Giving can be for one year or for a three-month trial period. Contact Joe Doebler at email@example.com or 508-696-8899.
How Do I Know What To Give?
For all of us, our giving decision invites us to focus on the abundance that comes from God. Giving stretches us to be more aware of what really matters to us and more alive to the blessings that are always surrounding us and our loved ones.
For some, the concept of giving back 10% of what they have received is inconceivable; for others, it’s the least they can do.
One way to determine the annual gift that is right for you is by considering your annual income and then identifying which percentage of that amount might be appropriate as a weekly gift. This approach allows you to consider how your commitment corresponds to your other weekly expenses.
The majority of the Estimates of Gving in our congregation fall within the $1,000-$5,000 range, but we have leadership gifts that range from $5,000 to $20,000. Nearly 80% of our budget income comes from our church families. We leverage the dollars that we have with volunteer hours that allow us to benefit many times over from the gifts that we receive.
Do I Need To Be A Member To Submit an Estimate of Giving?
No. We have many non-member friends who support this church financially. We are grateful for all gifts.
Will I Receive Statements Of My Giving?
All who submit Estimates of Giving will receive quarterly statements, either electronically or via US Mail, depending on the choice made on the form. All other contributors who give more than $250 will receive annual statements via e-mail or US mail.
Planned giving allows individuals and families to respond to the desire or need to "pass it forward." Many who went before us did exactly that. Endowment gifts both large and small from faithful members through wills, trusts, and other charitable instruments, add a wonderful element of financial stability to your church. Appreciating over time, they allow us to stretch toward goals that we might otherwise not have attempted.
To make sound financial plans, one must take into account one’s own needs and those of family, as well as commitments to church and charities. God calls us to be faithful stewards now, but also to support the church’s mission and ministries in the future.
A planned gift or deferred gift, is a gift that is planned for during the donor's lifetime but not actually received by the church or charity until the donor’s death. These can include bequests, life income gifts, and certain life insurance arrangements.
Life income gifts include gift annuities, pooled fund, and charitable remainder trusts. All provide the donor with income for life. Following the donors death, the remaining principal of the gift is paid to the charity designated in the donor's agreement.
We welcome your inquiries concerning Planned Giving Program at First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Appointments can be arranged through the Church Office (508-693-2842) to talk about the many ways you can share your love for this church and help to brighten the lives of generations to come.