It is that time of year! Leaves are changing color and the temperature is going down. Football games fill Friday nights and the gardens have to be cleared of old plants. And. of course, it’s the church’s time to tell me what I have to give in my offering. That once a year “pledge drive” that never seems to end. This year, let’s do something different. To be honest, I don’t think the church ever has ever told anyone what they are supposed to give, at least not in a dollar amount. True, it may have reminded us of what God says is an appropriate offering, a tithe (10%) of our income, but that’s one of the church’s responsibilities. What we give is between us and God, and every year, at the end of September, we are handed a notebook of pictures that tell the story of Flora First Christian Church. It lifts up the fellowship, worship, study and outreach of a congregation in north central Indiana. so in a few days, when you receive the notebook for 2014 budget considerations, remember these things. They are important and worthy to be considered.
Did you know that 21% of children across America are in church on Sunday? One out of 5. Our church is no different. We are currently seeing a shortage of older youth, but a bunch of younger kids are often here on Sunday. Your offerings help pay for lesson materials, outings, fellowship and study materials for these youngsters. And, if they have a great time in Sunday School, they might invite a friend. Maybe next year with efforts across this nation, 22% of young children could be in church.
Church is more than sermons. In fact many feel the sermon is the least important part of Sunday worship. For me, it is important, but other things happen in worship that are more influential. Did you see the video on Sunday about joyful sharing? Or has the choir every sung an anthem that touched your heart? JoAnn and Miriam and the choir add so much to our worship, and you gifts help to make that part of worship extraordinary and inspirational.
Can we get you a fan? Or how about a blanket? Sometimes these offers are given on the same day. One of the biggest points of discussion is the temperature of the church. It costs a lot of money to run the heating and cooling systems of the church. Sometimes we get it right, other times it is too cold or too hot. But the alternatives are not worth considering. We would not think of coming to church and not having cool or warm air coming out of the vents. Likewise we need water and electricity to function. Again, this is one place your offerings to the church go.
Did you hear about the stained glass and the roof? Priceless windows in the sanctuary were damaged by the hail storm of 2012. Our insurance paid to have them repaired. And some of your gifts help pay the premiums on the insurance of the building and parsonage. In the next couple of years, a new roof will be needed over the sanctuary. Sad to say, it will be expensive. I heard the amount of $40,000 tossed around, but it is far too early to tell. However, we need to plan ahead. Your gifts to the Capital Building Fund will ensure we have cash on hand when these repairs are needed. And the property committee thanks you in advance.
Yes, there are other things like salaries, office supplies, snow removal costs, fellowship events and other ministries that your gifts help pay. And all are important. But I think the most important thing we have to keep in mind is, “What would God have us do?” Our church budget has remained about the same for several years. It goes up about 2% this year. Can you help make that financial goal a reality? Maybe increase your giving to Flora First Christian Church by 2% or even 3%. so, if you give $25 a week, make it $26. Or, if you give $100 each week, make it $105. If each of us do our part, 2014 will be a successful giving year for the church. I think that is what god wants. I will consider His request and I hope that you will do the same.