In this final week of the Future Grace giving campaign, many of you are asking how to think about how to give? How do you discern and come to a decision about your offering and pledge to the facility expansion at Grace?
Let me share with you the process Beth and I will use to come to our decision on giving.
First, we will pray and ask the Lord to guide us in the thinking, discussing, discerning, and deciding process. We believe he will answer our prayer. And we will pray for our congregation as people engage in this process.
Second, we will once again think about the vision, mission, and ministry of Grace Community Church. Do we believe in it? Can we support it? Are we ready to deepen our partnership with you to see the ministry of the gospel extend to more and more people? For us, the answer is “yes.” So, we’re ready to give.
Third, we will look for money. We will assess our financial situation in two ways: we’ll look at savings and surplus, and even ways to generate funds to give in the offering on Sunday; and, we will look at our budget for ways to make a three-year pledge. We’ll look for ways to increase income and decrease expenses to allow us to give regularly to Future Grace. We’ve been thinking about this for a while, so we have already adjusted our budget for the purpose of giving.
Fourth, we will think of an amount that we want to give and that we believe we can give. Initially, this amount will be tested by asking several questions to help us determine if this is what we will give in an offering and pledge. Here are some of the questions we will ask:
Is this amount realistic? We want to give, but we don’t want to make a pledge that we can’t keep. We know that we don’t control all the circumstances of our lives. We may end up being able to give more or less than our pledge for reasons we cannot foresee. But we believe we will help the church by pledging to give what we believe we can actually give.
Does this amount allow us to meet our current commitments? We would not want to commit to give to one cause if it means we can’t keep commitments and obligations that we have already made to other causes.
Will giving this amount cause us to sacrifice things that do not need to be sacrificed? We will not sacrifice our regular giving to Grace that has been a part of our budget for 25 years in order to give to Future Grace. We would not encourage people to sacrifice their real needs or those of their family and children to give to Future Grace.
Does this amount represent real sacrifice? While we do not think we should sacrifice priority responsibilities and commitments to give to Future Grace, we do believe in sacrifice. There are some things that we will do without, give up, and put off in order to free up funds to give. Sacrificing for the sake of the gospel and local church ministry is worth it for us because we believe in these things. We will make sure we build in some sacrifice to our giving amount.
Can we give this amount with joy? We may need to adjust our amount up or down to find the joy in giving. We may need to adjust our attitude about giving in order to find joy. But we believe that giving with joy is good.
Are we unified? If you are single, is your heart peaceful and whole in this decision to give? If you are married, do you and your spouse agree on how to give? Unity in giving is important.
Fifth, after we have tested our amount, we will decide. We do not expect an unmistakable sign from the Lord that will prevent us from having to make a decision. We believe our discipleship will be strengthened by deciding. We will record our amount on the Future Grace pledge card. We will make the financial plan necessary to give. And we will give.
As you have your Household Decision Time this week, I hope that these ideas will be helpful to you. I pray that you have joy and peace in whatever you decide to give. Let’s all pray together for the joy of the Lord to be our strength. Let’s trust him for the future of Grace Community Church and for the many congregations in our city. Let’s pray and work for the glory of the Lord in our city through the church.