A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stewardship Reflections - Getting Ready for "Christmas in July"

Over the past two Sundays here at Lancaster First UMC, we have been focusing on how our denominational apportionment money is being used to bring transformation to our community and world in the name of Jesus Christ. The reason for this focus is due to our month long "Christmas in July" special offering which will go toward our apportionments at both the district and conference levels. On Sunday, July 25, during our "Christmas in July" worship celebration, we will be announcing our special offering total. It will be a very special day! Below is the article.
Leading Ideas is a free bi-weekly newsletter offered by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. It is an excellent source of support and ideas. The March 31 edition featured an article by Cynthia Woolever that explores the question, "Why People Give." Here are ten reasons that emerge from a recent U.S. Congregational Survey.
"The most important is gratitude. About half said they give to the congregation because they feel a sense of gratitude for God's love and goodness. (49% said this is a major influence on giving decisions.) More than one in three worshipers say they give to support God's work in the world. Giving out of a sense of duty was the third most important influence. It motivated the giving of about one in three worshipers. The fourth most important influence rests on the church's teaching that the Bible instructs believers to support their congregation. One in four worshipers described this as a major influence. Finally, the last major influence in the top five is a sense of obligation to support the work of their local congregation."

"The remaining five factors rated by worshipers are less important in their motivations for giving. Hearing about specific needs was rated sixth (23%). The seventh most influential factor is a sense of gratitude for help that the worshiper and his or her family receive from their involvement; about one in five worshipers said this was a major influence. Very few worshipers rated the last two factors as major influences on congregational giving the congregation's or leader's urging to give and possible tax benefits

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