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Q: What is stewardship? Is it just fundraising?
A: Sacred stewardship is defined as ‘Using the gifts God has given us, to do the work God is calling us to do.’ It includes the careful and responsible management of the resources entrusted to our care, whether those gifts are our own talents and treasures, or the talents and treasures offered in the spirit of generosity by others. During our seasonal pledge drives, you will hear a great deal about money, because we are developing our budget to support our operations based on those pledges. But sacred stewardship is a much larger calling than simply raising funds.
Q: Where do the funds come from that support Second Church?
A: Unlike other denominations that receive funds from a governing hierarchy, Second Church is funded in its entirety by us. Over 70% of our funding comes from our annual pledges, with the balance coming from rent collected from Village School, “loose plate” donations and fund raisers. It all depends on the pledge, though, because we have to meet our daily obligations before we can make any plans at all.
Q: It all depends on the pledge? Why is that so important? Why can’t I just give to the plate each week?
A: Your pledge is your commitment to support Christ’s Church for the next year. All monies given to the church are offered to the glory of God. However, the total yearly amounts received from collection plates account for only a small amount (less than 10%) of what is needed to fund our ministry. Imagine how difficult it would be to run your household budget if you could only plan on receiving 10% of the amount you would need for the year? The Church needs to know your financial commitment to know what it can afford to spend during the upcoming year. By pledging and contributing by check on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, etc) the Church has reliable cash flow to meet its regular obligations, even during the low cash flow months of the year.
Q: I can’t be the only person who wonders, “How much should I pledge?” Are there guidelines?
A: There is no "one size fits all" to determine the level of giving that is right for you and your family. In biblical times, people would tithe 10% of their income. The “modern tithe” sets a goal of 5% of income to your church and 5% to other worthy causes. Since it is likely that most in Second Church are not yet at the 5% goal, you may want to consider
Q: What is proportional giving?
A: Proportional giving is a way of gradually increasing your pledge commitment. First, calculate the percentage of income you gave to Second Church last year, using gross or net income, whichever seems a proper baseline to you. The goal is to increase this each year by one percentage point until you reach the desired goal of giving 5% of yearly income to the church. Just making the initial calculation is sometimes an eye-opener for people!
Q: With a baby, a toddler, a new home, and being early in our careers, we are only able to contribute a small amount to Second Church. We don’t feel our contribution is worth submitting a pledge card—in fact it’s a little embarrassing. We value this church and want to raise our children here, and we know that as our circumstances change, we’ll be able to give more. We know you don’t want us to stay away until we can increase our contributions. What should we do?
A: Definitely do not stay away! The future of Second Church is in the young families and we’re grateful that you consider this your church home. Even if you can only give a very small amount, please calculate what it totals annually and commit to that by submitting a Pledge Card for 2012. It helps us plan in a way that we cannot by just waiting for the weekly offering. And confidentiality is guaranteed.
Q: What happens if I fall behind on my pledge?
A: The church understands that life happens. We ask only that you set a thoughtful, prayerful goal and try to meet it. No one is going to harass you in any way if you do not meet your pledge. Since we use the pledges to plan our total budget and activities, we do hope that you will base your pledge on what you reasonably expect to commit. If you fall behind, we hope you will catch up when you are able. If you exceed your pledge, we are grateful for your generosity. No matter what, we thank you for being part of this faith community.
Q: Are there any tax advantages to gifting stock to the Church?
A: If you hold stock that has increased in value over what you paid for it, gifting the stock to the Church will allow you to avoid paying capital gains tax, while providing you a tax deduction for the value of the stock. This effectively allows you to gift up to 20% more to the Church, as compared to a cash donation! The transfer can be made directly from your brokerage account to the brokerage account of the Church. You can get the transfer information by contacting the Stewardship committee.
Q: I have heard the phrase “planned giving”. What does this mean and how can I use it to help the Church?
A: The biggest difference between “planned” and other types of gifts is that a planned gift provides future benefit to the Church, rather than the immediate benefit provided by a gift of cash or securities. Planned gifts generally come from your accumulated assets, rather than from income. The gift could be made by making a bequest to the Church in your Will or by making a “life income gift.” Life income gifts, such as a gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust, provide you with income for life, after which the church receives the remaining principal. Many people find this helpful to have a reliable income stream during retirement, while benefiting the Church in the future.
Q: I’ve heard a lot of talk about money during the pledge campaign this month. Are we losing sight of why we’re doing this? Second Church isn’t a small business, but a place of worship. Where does God fit in?
A: Talking about money at church makes many people feel uncomfortable. However, doing God’s work through Second Church takes money. The annual Stewardship drive focuses its message on increasing pledges, because to maintain the programs and staff that currently exist and to expand our ministries, it takes money. It is a step of faith for Second Church members and friends to increase their giving—which allows our church to further God’s work.