At our recent Trustees/Council meeting we voted to step forward in becoming a FIRST FRUITS Giving Congregation. What does this mean?
It means that the very first financial gifts that are offered each month are given to our local, synodical, and global outreach partners. The current practice has been to give roughly 5% of our total approved congregational spend plan to these partners, sometime throughout the year. We are now moving to a plan where we will step toward a 15% congregational giving goal that goes beyond our doors. Most important, is that those gifts are given each month, with our mission partners notified in advance as to what they can expect from us as their ministry partners in the year ahead. It allows a true accompaniment model of partnership where we fully walk together, counting on one another, and making missional plans for what can be accomplished. By living this way we are putting our trust into God that through our Generous Living and Giving there will be blessing, spirit filled energy, expectant hope, and abundant resources!
In 2018, we are taking that first step. While we dream of going to 15%, we know that we need to grow in our generosity and capacity in making this possible. Our first step in 2018 will be to get closer to 10%. One change that goes along with this is that our monthly Mission Focus envelopes will no longer be used for monthly outreach giving. We will give to our outreach partners through our congregationally approved spend plan. This will allow all of us to increase the amount that we commit to on our Generous Life Commitment Cards for 2018.
The Mission Focus envelopes will still be available, and will be utilized when natural disasters strike, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc. Lutheran Disaster Relief does amazing work and we will support by growing awareness as those things take place. Also, if someone feels the call to give above and beyond to a felt need that they have heard about, they can utilize those envelopes as needed. Those gifts would add to our outreach impact as a congregation but they are not part of our overall congregational plan.
Mission Moments will still take place each month. Our wonderful Missions Team will organize those speakers and will work to identify where our monthly outreach gifts are allocated. We will share each month where those dollars went and the impact that they made.
Our hope is that in 2019 we will realize the goal of again being a congregation that gives the first 15% of all that we have to the most vulnerable among us. Just imagine the joy that God and we will experience when these gifts are shared! Lives will be transformed! New life will be experienced by all!
May we live and love generously!