by Erik Scheier, Stewardship Elder
Joyful giving.These are two words that we don’t normally put together.Joy we tend to associate with receiving.Nice weather, time with friends and family and receiving good news are all things that bring us joy.On the other hand, we associate giving with sacrifice, loss and perhaps anguish.
The Apostle Paul encourages the churches in Corinth to think differently about giving: “The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
We also recognize that everything we have comes to us from God. And we know that God gives not out of obligation but out of love.Our blessings are his joy.Giving through stewardship can be full of joy when we understand it is an opportunityto work with God and allow him to work through us.God has great plans for our church and us, and he wants us to partner with him as Christ’s living body.In fact, it’s not so much that God wants us to be part of his plan, but that we AREthe plan.God in Jesus Christ gives everything, and intends for those who follow his way to give generously for others as he showed us to do.
This stewardship season we ask that you prayerfully ask God, “How can I help?”We come together at Winnetka Presbyterian Church as a community of faith because we believe it is the proper vehicle for fulfilling God’s plan to redeem us and the world through us.Worship, support, education, mission and community outreach are all things we do faithfully and do well.There is a place and a need for each of us to contribute in this community.Thankfully, God has already given us everything that’s needed.All we need to do is lovingly share those gifts, and in so doing, find joy.As Paul continues to the Corinthians, “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11-12).
At WPC we focus on three areas of giving as ways to care for our congregation’s work: participation, invitation and financial commitment.Sharing our time, our welcome and our resources createsthe foundation for a vital and impactful church.During this stewardship season we will examine all the opportunities to give at WPC and the work in Christ’s name we will do with those gifts.Please read through our Stewardship 2016 Brochure that highlights the work we will do and the challenges we will rise to meet.
This year you will notice that the familiar pledge card is renamed an Estimate for Giving.We often hear that members are hesitant to fill out a pledge card because they are afraid that they will not be able to fulfill their pledge for various reasons.By changing the name we hope to convey that this estimate is not an IOU or a binding contract.It’s true that having pledges makes it easier for the church to budget, plan and operate, but there are other, more important reasons to make an estimate.Martin Luther spoke of three conversions: conversion of the heart, conversion of the mind and conversion of the purse.In part, this speaks to our stubborn attachment to our material possessions.But it also underscores the long, arduous journey we take as Christians.When an estimate follows prayer and discussion, we experience personal growth.
This stewardship season, please consider what gifts you can offer joyfully to WPC and embrace the opportunity to partner with God!Thank you for your presence, as a gifted and beloved child of God among us, and for all you do for Winnetka Presbyterian Church in Christ’s name!
Download the entire Stewardship Campaign brochure here.
Download your Estimate of Giving card and mail to WPC, attn. Mike Jin or Dina Price