Scot Bontrager, Senior Pastor
I have a mantra I shared with the staff when I came to First United Methodist Church Garland:
Not all my ideas are good ideas.
Not all good ideas come from me.
Honestly, I don’t remember if I made this up or borrowed it from someone. Regardless, it still applies.
A few weeks ago, Joey Fisher mentioned that the Finance Committee wanted to do a stewardship campaign to help fund repairs to our building and other facility costs.
The language he wanted to use was investing in our church.
Frankly, I didn’t like it. It felt too … corporate … for my taste.
But I didn’t have another suggestion, so I suggested we think on it and try to come up with a better idea.
In the meantime, I’ve come to be rather fond of the language of investing as relates to our church.
When I think investing, I normally think about my retirement savings.
But investing is so much more than money.
We invest our time in things that are important to us.
We invest ‘sweat equity’ in projects that matter.
Investing in our church is so much more than simply giving cash.
We invest in our church by coming to worship and sharing together in song and word.
We invest in our church by volunteering to cook, or clean, or set the table, for Wednesday WINDOWS.
We invest in our church by helping to clean.
We invest in our church by telling stories in Godly Play with the children.
We invest in our church by just spending time with our sisters and brothers in the faith over a cup of coffee or tea.
And yes, we invest in our church by giving money to support our shared mission together.
Our Finance Committee and Board of Trustees have a heavy responsibility.
Our building is in need of maintenance and repair.
Our insurance bill is much lower than it has been in years past, but is still significant.
Facilities exist to facilitate our mission, and are not inexpensive.
So our Finance Committee is asking for a commitment of $100,000 this summer.
I am personally increasing my weekly giving by $50.00 through the end of the year, designating it to our facilities via the Building Fund.
I pray that everyone will consider what they can do to invest in our facilities as well.
For some of you, this will be an investment of time and elbow grease pushing the carpet cleaner.
For others, this will be a financial contribution.
For everyone, this will be a commitment to pray for the facilities and those who maintain them.
I trust the dividends from these investments will be counted for generations to come.
If you are not currently contributing to the operating expenses of our church, I encourage you to do so.
Every little bit helps.
I know it seems trite to say, “the price of a cup of coffee each day …,” but it is true.
Every little bit helps.
Beyond one-time gifts, what helps most are recurring gifts.
I have my gift set up to automatically charge my credit card twice a month. That works best for me.
For others, weekly, monthly or quarterly gifts are better.
Having pre-configured, automatic giving through direct draft or on a credit card helps us plan better.
Recurring giving levels out the seasonal ups-and-downs that stress our Finance Committee.
Our congregation has a tradition of designating giving to Music Ministries, Student Ministries and other special funds.
In normal times this is wonderful. But designating your gifts restricts what the Finance Committee is able to do when things are exceptionally tight.
As important as youth and music are, we can’t have people in the building to sing and play without first paying our insurance and utilities.
I encourage you to consider making designated gifts only after you’ve given to the general operating budget.
Your gifts, any gifts, are sincerely appreciated, no matter how great or small.
Our ministry in Garland is important. Your contribution to our shared ministry is important.
Thank you for your gifts and tithes!