What does $17 for 2017 mean?
Dear Friends of the Church,
The plan for our church giving is to continue developing a culture of tithing. God gives us 100% of what we have. In a church where all the people return 10% of their income to God, there is enough to do all God calls us to do. When we begin to reach this goal, there will not be anything that God and this group of Christians will not be able to do together. So, this is our vision for the future giving of our church here at Cumberland.
However, some people did not grow up in an understanding of tithing. Sometimes, even when we want to give to God, it may take a while to get our finances in order to do that. And, some people might say, if I cannot tithe, I will wait until I can. Others ask, even if I cannot tithe, can I work toward tithing a bit at a time? Of course, you can. It is with this in mind, that we developed $17 for 2017. We hoped to provide tangible steps and guidance toward developing a tithing church.
Just in case it was not clear what "$17 for 2017" means, here is what we meant to say.
We need everyone to give what they planned to give to the church in 2016 for 2017. We hope you can continue this giving and add a little more for 2017.
In order to not have a repeated shortfall of giving to meet expenses, and to keep us from drawing down all our reserves for operating in 2017, we need about $70,000 increase in giving.
This is a lot of money, but it is more achievable than you might think.
We have 80 families or individuals who pledged to give to our church for 2016.
If these 80 families added just $17 per week to their giving, the deficit would be met by them alone.
But more than 80 families or individuals give to our church each year, and there should be with 330 members. Our Financial Secretary, Sandi Darden, is the only one who knows what everyone gives and she only gives us group totals, in order to know the above facts. This is to protect everyone's privacy in giving.
So, there are people who do not pledge, but give each year, who could give $17 a week. We hope you will consider this.
There are people who have never given to our church before who could give $17 a week too. We hope you will consider this.
There are new people in our congregation who understand their need to give and could give $17 a week too. We hope you will consider this.
There are people who love our church, are still members though they live out of town, and could give $17 per week too. We hope you will consider this.
And if $17 a week is too challenging, then would you consider $17 a month? This would be a great addition to your current giving, or to a start at giving regularly.
And if your financial situation is so severe that giving just seems impossible, then prayerfully consider $17 for the year as a symbolic gift of your desire to give more, when you are able.
Jesus knew how much money and possessions meant to us, because he spoke more about this than any other subject. How we use all of our money is a spiritual understanding that develops in time. Our money goes where our heart goes. God works through the church to do his work, in honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is why believers give to the church and why the church's work is so important.
Tomorrow is Commitment Sunday. We encourage you to prayerfully consider your giving for 2017. We need everyone's support to do what we are called to do. Some of us can do a lot more. For people who tithe, we need you to consider digging a little deeper. For people who need to continue working toward the tithe, we need you to consider how much more you can do this year. For people who cannot seem to give, we hope you can offer a symbolic gift until your finances improve. Parents need to teach our children to give.
We are being honest with you about our needs. There is full disclosure in our newsletter every week. There are many people who are concerned about our financial situation. The session understands our situation and has plans whether we receive less or whether we receive more than in 2016. We must be good stewards of all that people give so that our witness in Marshall will continue for many years to come.
We know this is a challenge for our church, but we have so many good and positive programs, ministries, worship and service opportunities, and ways of caring that need to go forward. We have a top-notch staff. There are many positive trends in participation and attendance. We hope you are seeing them. Our building is freshly renovated. We do not want to go backwards now. We love our church and we only want the best for it. We love God and we owe him so much. We are moving toward a culture of tithing in this church, and we want everyone to join us. The challenge before us is achievable with God's help and your sacrifice. Please come ready for Commitment Sunday, December 4, 2016. We will receive Estimate Cards at each worship service.
Note: If you cannot be here tomorrow or will not be ready to submit your Estimate Card, then please do so as soon as possible. Our website has a link and a page that allows you to submit your Estimate for 2017 online.