One of the oddest questions I ever answered during a stewardship meeting was this – “Why are we so worried about how much people give when we are really supported by the denomination?” Now this was a Lutheran church but let me assure you, with the exception of some small mission congregations, the Lutheran denomination does not send money to the local church.
At SFBC we GIVE over $100,000 every year in benevolence to support the work of American Baptist churches around the world and in our own community. We support the denomination directly, Companis, many outreach initiatives to our local communities and four special offerings including the American Baptist Home Mission Society which supports local and national efforts in education, justice and peace-making, refugee resettlement, and work toward the eradication of poverty. In June we take the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, collected with nine other denominations to provide disaster relief in the U.S. and around the world. Next month we take the World Mission Offering that supports our international medical, educational, and justice work – including a focus on help for those caught up in the sex trafficking. In January we offer our gratitude for the women and men who have served us and the world as ministers and missionaries with the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering. All of this great work is made possible because local congregations care enough to send money to take care of those who they may never meet. It is probably no coincidence that this is roughly 10% of ALL income that is received by SFBC.
It is said that you can tell a person’s priorities by looking at their checkbook. I would say the same thing holds true for our church. By looking through the checkbook this morning, the church clearly has these priorities:
- Fair compensation and benefits for all Pastors and staff.
- A quality music program.
- Sharing our treasure with important social justice ministries throughout the community and the world.
- Caring for our beautiful church and facilities that God and those who have come before us have entrusted to us.
- Programming for all ages from the nursery through senior adults.
It might be an interesting exercise for each of us to look through our own checkbooks, credit card statements and charitable giving to see what OUR priorities are when it comes to finances.
The amount of ministry that we can do within and beyond our church walls is fully dependent on the support of each and every one of you, the members and friends of SFBC. Everything we do happens…”Because of you!”