Oct. 9 - 15, 2006
E-giving Removes Hassles and
For the first time ever, this year I will have no "December
surprise" in my church giving. The "December surprise" is the amount of
money I am behind in my yearly pledge that I have to make up before
the calendar year ends.
Funny how week-to-week as each year sailed by, I would consistently
underestimate my running total of giving. So then every December, on top
of Christmas bills, I would have to drain precious cash to "catch up"
on my commitment to church.
Now my monthly contribution is taken right out of my bank account, thanks
to Simply Giving, the free service offered through Thrivent Financial for
Lutherans. Other denominations have their own versions, but the idea is it
takes the hassle out of giving -- the remembering to take the checkbook to
church every Sunday, and then to write a double check for every Sunday
We have been emphasizing the Simply Giving program in my church, but so
far very few people have signed up. One reason may be that many people are
reluctant to reveal that they "only" give $10 a week. Perhaps they wish
they could give more and don't want the church to know they give that
amount, or perhaps they feel guilty and don't want to admit it to
But in most cases I think it would probably be better for folks to sign up
for an automatic weekly deducation of $10 than to give haphazardly and
inconsistently, as I used to, and get a "December surprise." Families that
struggle to afford $10 a week surely would be overwhelmed with the
realization they were $120 behind in the middle of December.
The automatic giving program also allows members of the church to plan
more easily incremental increases. For example, sign up for an automatic
donation of $10 a week, and next year increase it to $12, and the year
after that, $14. You get the idea.
So the church benefits from regular donations, members benefit with
hassle-free giving, and the best of all for disorganized souls like
myself: No "December surprise!"
--Rob Blezard, Editor and Webmaster
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(c) Copyright 2006 by the Rev. Rob Blezard of the Stewardship of Life
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New this week:
Bible Studies for Group Discussion
Here is a
wonderful way to begin teaching Bible-based stewardship to members of
your congregation. The resource is a compilation of seven studies on
topics ranging from the environment to personal discipleship.
Click here for "Stewardship Bible
Studies for Group Discussion," from
The Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Never Becomes Complacent. Should We?
give, we give to God. And as stewards we are also charged with managing
the money and caring for God's property, but it never belongs to us. So
that day never dawns when we get to give less or get to relax or
Click here for the latest weekly
column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns,
Financial experts cite various reasons for why people are giving less to
churches, including poor giving habits and lack of teaching on
stewardship. Others say people are giving less because they've lost
confidence in how the church handles money. ... Churches can win back
the confidence of givers by becoming better money managers.
Click here for "The Money-Wise
Giving is a Spiritual Discipline
"We are working hard to make it an
exercise in discipleship that will invite our people to venture more
deeply in their faith walk, and NOT play into their sense of guilt or
shame. Sure, we could probably wring out a few extra bucks by making
people feel bad, but that's not going to create any of the 'cheerful
givers' that Paul talks about. "
Click here for this column by SOLI
webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of
SOLI/Update, our free email newsletter.
Click here to subscribe.
Theology of Stewardship.
Growing in stewardship involves four distinct phases, according to this
study guide that provides a biblically based program for a classroom or
workshop series. Can be done on its own or incorporated or adapted for
your own stewardship drive.
Click here for "A Theology of
Stewardship." Good stuff from
Joy Lutheran Church (ELCA), Gurnee,
Ill. This week's
Treasure Chest offering.