(2 Corinthians 9:6)
October 1, 2017
October is our annual season of giving, the time of year when we ask that you prayerfully consider how much to pledge to support the church’s mission and ministries in the coming year. Your pledge will help us create a budget for 2018 that supports a living wage for our pastors and staff, provides vibrant Sunday worship, uplifts our children’s spiritual formation, sustains our ministries of hospitality and of racial and economic justice, and provides a place of sanctuary, refuge, and community for everyone.
Churches sometimes treat the financial life of a congregation as separate from its spiritual life, and as inferior to it. We are taught in our culture that money and income are deeply private matters, and we tend to feel embarrassment when the subject is raised, as if asking for money were distasteful—a necessary evil.
But Jesus talks more about money and possessions than any other subject but the Kingdom of God. Again and again, he calls his listeners’ attention to the use of money. Why is that? Because there is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we handle money. When Jesus talks about money and stewardship, he is almost always talking about the intimate connection between how a person handles financial matters and that person’s relationship with God. In the Bible, all stewardship, including financial stewardship, is an intensely spiritual matter, and it lies close to the heart of a disciple’s relationship with Jesus. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21).
In our daily lives we tend to view money as a scarce resource, something there is never enough of. Our consumer-capitalist culture encourages this mindset of scarcity, so that we will buy and amass more and more stuff.
But our God is not a God of scarcity. Our God is a God of abundance, the source and owner of all that is in our care. The truth is, we have all that we need and more! When we are invited to give, we are invited to offer ourselves, our possessions, talents, and gifts, to the One who gave them to us in the first place. Stewardship and giving, in short, are about more than the budget—in fact, they’re not really about the budget at all. They’re about the generous disposition of our hearts, and about managing the abundance that God has made ours. When we give generously, we offer ourselves in praise, remembering that all we have and all that we are belong to God. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (1 Corinthians, 10:26).
Far from being about “paying the bills,” then, stewardship is an opportunity to grow in our relationship to God through the use of the time, talents, and treasure that God has entrusted to us. Our capacity to give thanks and praise is tied to our capacity to be generous. Stewardship, in other words, is all about discipleship—and generous giving is one of the basic acts of discipleship. At heart, it’s about where we place our trust. It is an attitude, a way of life, an act of faith.
We invite you to pray for guidance on what to pledge in 2018. If you have belonged to Hope Central Church for years, you know that we are deeply grateful for your support in the past, and we ask you to consider increasing your pledge by 10% over last year, or to move to the next level of giving, as shown on the enclosed “2018 Giving Chart.” If you are new to Hope Central or have not pledged before, we invite you to look at this chart and consider making a foundation, stewardship, or leadership pledge. Our hope and prayer is to gradually, year by year, build a communion of tithers, giving 10% of our income to the church. We trust that you will give what the Spirit calls you to give!
When you are ready, please fill out the enclosed 2018 pledge card and bring it to church on Sunday, October 22 and put it in the offering plate during the Parade of Pledges. If you prefer, you can mail it to the office in the return envelope provided.
Our annual pledge is one way we support each other as we live out our faith and live into our mission. We give so that we can see the divine more clearly, so that we can deepen our spiritual practices, so that we can discern and grow into God’s claim on us.
In all of this, we are truly blessed!
In Peace and Love,
Your 2017 Stewardship Team
Laura Ruth Jarrett, Courtney Jones, Sari Mauro, Ben Perkins, Nina Swift, Ash Temin, Bob Thomas, and Suzanne Wolk
2018 Giving Chart. Please bring your completed pledge card to church on Sunday, 10/22, for our annual Parade of Pledges (or return it by mail to the office). We ask you to consider the following levels of pledging, and to increase your pledge over last year’s amount by moving to the next level of giving.
|Annual Income||Foundation Pledge||Stewardship Pledge||Leadership Pledge|
|1% – 2% of income||3% – 4% of income||5% – 10% of income|
|$25,000||$250 – $500||$750 – $1,000||$1,250 – $2,500|
|$50,000||$500 – $1,000||$1,000 – $2,000||$2,500 – $5,000|
|$75,000||$750 – $1,500||$2,250 – $3,000||$3,750, $7,500|
|$100,000||$1,000 – $2,000||$3,000 – $4,000||$5,000 – $10,000|
|$150,000||$1,500 – $3,000||$4,500 – $6,000||$7,500 – $15,000|
|$200,000||$2,000 – $4,000||$6,000 – $8,000||$10,000 – $20,000|
|$300,000||$3,000 – $6,000||$9,000 – $12,000||$15,000 – $30,000|
|Foundation Support||Stewardship Support||Leadership Support|
|Is suggested for an individual or family who values Hope Central Church and attends worship on special occasions.||Is suggested for an individual or family who is actively involved in the life of Hope Central Church through worship and ministries.||Is suggested for an individual or family who is committed to the faithful growth of the life and work of Hope Central Church.|
Here is how many households pledged to Hope Central, and the amounts pledged, for fiscal year 2017:
Our annual operating income is made up of pledges, plate, special gifts, and rental income. The figures above are pledge income for FY 2017. The average pledge in 2017 was $2,721.