Stewardship 101. Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church Memorial Highway Tampa, Fl

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1 Stewardship 101 Test me in this, says the Lord almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it. (Mal. 3:10 NIV) ] Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church 6100 Memorial Highway Tampa, Fl Making friends, Being a Friend, Bringing Friends to Christ Stewardship 101 Page 1

2 Dear Friends, Stewardship is a lifelong process. The more we learn about how to be good stewards, the more we are able to grow as a disciple of Christ. I have learned that stewardship is not simply a four week campaign the Church runs every October. Stewardship is a lifestyle! I hope the content of this booklet will serve you well and give you much to think and pray about. It is my desire that this will be a useful resource that will help you more fully understand your role as a steward of the resources God has entrusted to you. In joining Wesley Memorial, a pledge is made to God to support the Church with one s prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Making a vow to the Lord is a very serious matter. Everyone who makes this vow is responsible to fulfill it, as a member of the body of Christ. Thank you for taking the time to read, learn and grow in this area of discipleship. I trust you will benefit in your walk with the Lord by understanding and adhering to the principles in this booklet. Grace and Peace, Pastor H. Clark Edwards Stewardship 101 Page 2

3 Stewardship: A way of life- A Partnership with God As stewards we are to understand that everything we have has been given to us by God. This includes time, health, relationships, talents, properties, and finances. As Christian stewards we should serve God in every way. This is done out of love and gratitude for the gifts God has given to each of us. We must always remember that it not how much we have, but rather what we do with what we have that is important. 1 Peter 4:10 says, Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Being a good steward means being generous with your time, talents, and treasure. Stewardship is an expression of love. God s love for you deserves your love in return. Stewardship of Human life Human life is the first and greatest gift of all. It comes with great responsibility. As a Christian, we know that our lives are sacred trusts. God expects us to use our lives to accomplish His purposes. Stewardship of God s Word As Christians, we automatically are given the command to share our faith and make disciples! Share the Good News of Christ and His Church with others. Let others know what a difference God has made in your life. The best way to show the benefits of a Christian life is to live a Christian life. As stewards of God s Word, you should be reading and discussing Scripture with your family and friends. Matt. 28:19 says Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Stewardship 101 Page 3

4 Stewardship of Talent You are gifted by God! We are to use our talents to help change the lives of others. It is important to develop and use your God-given talents to glorify Him. Follow Jesus example and use your gifts to reach out to others. Use your talent in such a way to build up the body of Christ and enable the Church to be more effective in reaching out to others with the love of Christ. Matt. 5:16 says, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Stewardship of Bodily and Mental Health God gave human beings a superior mind to be used to its fullest capacity in discovering God s plan for self and others. We were also given bodies in which to accomplish God s work. Our bodies are to be treated with respect (taken care of) and are not to be abused (harmed). We present our bodies as living sacrifices and we renew our minds as an offering to God. Stewardship of the Environment As good stewards, we are to be mindful to protect the earth God created and entrusted into our care. We are to use the earth s resources carefully. We are to be mindful to use energy carefully and to reduce waste. To reduce waste, living simply is the first step. You can do this by buying less, using products longer, avoid buying disposable products, recycling whenever possible. Psalm 24:1 says The earth is the Lord s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. Stewardship 101 Page 4

5 Stewardship of Relationships Your relationships with others are a reflection of your relationship with God. Your family, the most precious people in your life, should come first, before work, hobbies, even friends. Providing Christian education for our children and ourselves is central to our spiritual growth and stewardship. Relationship with Others As stewards, we should base all our relationships on Christian values of love and trust. In our work places, we should be an example of Christian behavior and supportive care. Church Relationships As a member of the body of Christ, the Church, we are to be sure to care for and serve each other as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to encourage each other in our walk of faith and work together to accomplish the goals of our Church Romans 143:8 says Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the Law. We are to use our time wisely! Stewardship of Time Whatever time we have is a gift from God and we must use it as best as possible in every activity throughout the day. We should set aside some time every day for personal and family prayer and devotion. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Commit yourself to God and the steward s way of life. In doing so, you will fulfill the commandment in Matthew 6: to Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Stewardship 101 Page 5

6 Stewardship: Three Truths to Guide Our Financial Lives The Bible has a great deal to say about our financial lives. In fact, more than 2,000 Scripture passages address the theme of money and Jesus spoke about our use of financial resources frequently. One of their central messages is that there is a connection between our relationship to money and possessions and our relationship to God. There are three truths that lay the foundation for how we approach this area of discipleship called stewardship: 1. God created everything. 2. God owns everything. 3. As disciples of Jesus, we are not owners of our stuff, but trustees. God entrusted us with financial and physical resources to meet our needs and to help carry out his redemptive work in the world. Once we are able to offer God control of our finances, we can offer God our entire lives, and experience the spiritual freedom and joy that God intends for us. The New Testament describes it in Matthew 25:14-30 and II Corinthians 8:9. Stewardship 101 Page 6

7 Generous Giving Stewardship to serve as one who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs is not just means for the church to raise money. It is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God s, and we are simply managing those resources while here on earth. The Bible is filled with examples of grateful response to God's generous gifts. The Bible also teaches about responsibility to share with others and warns against selfishness and misuse of God's economic resources. Methodist approach to stewardship John Wesley urged those in connection with him to "Earn all you can and save all you can, so that you can give all you can." He modeled modest living and sacrificial giving. Wesley made sure those early classes of "Methodists" took weekly offerings for outreach. Today, we United Methodists join others to help all of God's children, whenever and wherever we can. Through our congregation, we are the heart, spirit and hands of God's outreaching love. Practicing good stewardship How can you learn and practice good Christian stewardship? Pray about your giving to God's ministries. Model the humility and generosity God calls you to exhibit. Take a Financial Peace University course. Set up a schedule to eventually reach full tithing, or tithe one week of every month. Give your time, talents and/or financial aid to Missions. Stewardship 101 Page 7

8 Frequently Asked Questions How much should I give? That s between you and God. While we never tell anyone how much to give, we lift up the Biblical pattern of tithing the first 10% of our income to God as a practical discipline for spiritual growth. (Malachi 3:6-10) Some people begin with a smaller percentage and grow into the tithe. Those who are already giving ten percent often feel God calling them to give beyond the tithe as their faith and discipleship continue to grow. Everyone is challenged to take the next step in their giving. Should the tithe be based on my gross income or my net income after taxes? Again, everyone must seek God s direction in their giving decisions. Traditional interpretations indicate the Biblical tithe represents the first fruits of our income. By giving before the costs of housing, transportation, taxes, and other expenses, we honor the principle that God owns everything anyway and we can joyfully trust God to allow us to live fully on the other 90%. Will I be expected to tithe? Not when you are with us as a guest or when you are beginning your faith journey. We believe that the Biblical practice of offering ten percent of our income to God is a valuable spiritual discipline. It can make a big difference in our lives and is a Biblical expectation for committed disciples of Christ. If I do not tithe, will I still be welcome? Absolutely. No one is ever asked how much they give. Tithing is always a personal, spiritual discipline. We are committed to being an inviting, open congregation that welcomes everyone who comes to experience God s love in Christ regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. Stewardship 101 Page 8

9 Is my salvation determined by the level of my giving? No. We are saved by God s grace, as a free gift accepted by faith. But living into that salvation includes learning how to use the gifts that God gives us so that our whole life is shaped and formed around our salvation and so that God can use our gifts as a part of his work of salvation in the world. If my giving is between God and me, why does the church ask for a pledge of my next year s planned giving in November of each year? The Finance committee takes very seriously its responsibility to plan the church s expenditures for the coming year in line with reasonable expectations of the income we will receive. The total amount of all pledges helps the committee prudently estimate that income and thus establish a realistic expense budget for all of our ministries. When I give to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, where does my money go? We fulfill the mission of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church through these basic channels. The General Ministry Fund underwrites the ministries, operation and support of our local congregation, including staff salaries; ministries serving children, youth, and adults; worship; missions; evangelism; building repairs; and insurance. The General Ministry Fund also includes our share in the global ministries of The United Methodist Church. If so designated, your gifts will be applied toward reducing the outstanding mortgage on the Family Life Center. Who sees my giving information? Information on pledges and giving are a sacred trust held in confidence in the Financial Secretary s office. The Treasurer sees this information when counting the weekly tithes and offerings before submitting the records to the Financial Secretary. Questions regarding your giving may be referred to the Financial Secretary. Stewardship 101 Page 9

10 Where can I find help with my finances and finding ways to give? For many of us, spiritual growth through stewardship can be hindered by the pull of our materialistic culture, a lack of knowledge about wise financial practices, and the need for effective tools to implement. Wesley Memorial offers Financial Peace University to provide practical help for people who want to order their financial lives around their commitment to Christ. How does giving connect to my relationship with God We are saved by God s grace, as a free gift accepted by faith. Living into that salvation includes learning how to use the gifts that God gives us so that our whole life is shaped and formed around our relationship with God, so that God can use our gifts as a part of His work of salvation in the world. Does the church only want my money? No, we encourage every disciple of Jesus to find the place to serve that matches their spiritual gifts, talents and passion. If you d like to talk with someone about finding your place to serve, contact Bob Goodwill, our small group coordinator, or the pastor. Why does the Church need my money if we are part of a conference? Any cost the Conference covers for insurances, apportionments, pension, and any type of flexible spending accounts must be paid to the conference by Wesley Memorial. Participation in the United Methodist Conference does not release the Church from any financial obligation. Stewardship 101 Page 10

11 How do I give to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church? We provide multiple ways for you to give. On Sundays, you may place a check or cash in envelopes found in the pew folders in each pew. As part of our worship services, we receive these gifts by passing an offering plate along the pews. You may also drop off in person or mail your gift to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 6100 Memorial Highway, Tampa, Fl For a more convenient method of recurring contributions, you may want to consider electronic funds transfer from your checking account. This method saves time, postage, and check charges and you don t have to worry about forgetting to bring your contribution on Sunday or its getting lost in the mail. To set up recurring contributions electronically, contact Dub Terry, Church Treasurer, at the church. At any time you desire, you may change or cancel your authorization. Quarterly and year-end contribution statements will be sent to you by mail as a record of your giving. What forms of non-cash contributions may I give to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church? Non-cash contributions may include: Publicly traded securities Closely held stock Personal property Real estate Gifts-in-kind Paid insurance policies Charitable trusts Deferred gifts Stewardship 101 Page 11

12 Publicly Traded Securities Long-term appreciated capital gain property (such as stock) is one of the most common ways to make additional gifts. These gifts are tax deductible at the full fair market value subject to some limitations. Also, the gain is not subject to taxation to the donor or the church. Example: Donor paid $2,000 for stock now worth $10,000. If Donor sells the stock, he/she pays capital gains taxes on the $8,000 gain. If Donor gives stock to church neither donor nor the church pays taxes and donor receives $10,000 tax deduction. To transfer publicly traded securities, contact Jeff Joyner at , for up-to-date brokerage transfer instructions. Closely-Held Stock Gifts of closely-held stock are virtually the same as publicly traded securities, but may carry additional benefits to the donor. Along with the income tax deduction, gifting closely-held stock is a good way of reducing company-retained earnings and transferring ownership of the company to children or grandchildren. Gifts-in-Kind Gifts-in-kind are products or materials that you can give to aid particular projects being undertaken by the Church. Example: Construction materials: concrete, lumber, bricks, roofing, paint, etc. Building materials: windows, doors, plumbing, lighting, flooring, etc. Furnishings: Tables, chairs, audio-visual equipment, appliances, etc. Deferred Gifts Deferred gifts are gifts that are received some time in the future by the church. During that time, the donor retains an interest in the assets. Examples include bequests, estate notes, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, Pay on Death accounts, IRA beneficiary, life insurance. Stewardship 101 Page 12

13 Personal Property Tax deductible gifts of personal property may include antiques, art, jewelry, vehicles or boats, coin or stamp collections, as well as other valuable assets. These gifts of personal property have varying tax deductibility requirements so be sure to consult with your tax advisor about such requirements. While the Church is grateful for every donor s intent to give, some personal property donations must be approved by the Board of Trustees. Contact Pastor H. Clark Edwards at for more information. Paid Insurance Policies Families often have paid life insurance policies that were originally taken out to cover mortgage expenses or pay for college for a child. If these reasons are no longer at issue, a paid insurance policy can be a wonderful way to make a gift to the church. The tax deduction is equal to the replacement value or the donor s cost in the policy, whichever is less. The church will have the option of retaining the policy or taking the current cash surrender value. Charitable Lead Trusts A lead trust can be established to provide income to the church for a specified term of years. After the term of years, the assets in the trust revert back to the donor or to the individual(s) designated by the donor. Cash, securities, and some types of real estate can be used to fund the trust. There is no income tax deduction for this type of gift but there may be an estate tax savings. Appreciated Real Estate A gift of real estate generally will generate a tax deduction for the full appraised fair market value. Like securities, the capital gain is not taxable to the donor or the church. All donations of real estate require the approval of the Board of Trustees. To discuss the donation of real estate, please contact Pastor H. Clark Edwards at who will put you in contact with a representative from the Board of Trustees. Stewardship 101 Page 13

14 Steps To Stewardship Exploring Thank God for the many ways that He provides for your needs. Consider how a monetary gift made during the worship service is an offering or a response to God's love and provision in your life. Occasionally give a monetary offering when the plate is passed during the worship service. Getting Started Budget a specific amount of money each week or month to give to God's work. When you hear about critical needs in the world, in the local community, or in the church, listen for God's prompting to make a financial gift to help meet that need. Examples include natural disasters or a special benefit for a family displaced from their home because of a fire. Participate in the Financial Peace University group or another small group that is studying finances from a spiritual perspective. Going Deeper Make a commitment to move toward tithing 10% percentage of your income to God s work. Set a percentage with which to begin, such as 5%, and begin making regular gifts in that amount. Identify when you will plan to take your next step in moving toward a tithe. Consider how the remainder of your income is spent. Adjust your savings, debt, and spending decisions in light of an understanding that all that we have already belongs to God. Live simply so that others may simply live. Mahatma Gandhi Stewardship 101 Page 14

15 Centering on Christ Give the first 10% of all income to God s work. Be responsive to God s voice to give beyond the tithe when prompted to do so. Consider how all of your material assets, not just a portion of your income, could be used by God to further his kingdom. Perhaps some of your assets no longer give you the pleasure they once did. Consider donating or loaning them for some mission purpose. Make a provision in your estate plan for a portion of your assets to be given to God s work after your death as a testimony to your investment in the treasures of heaven and the ongoing provision of God s work in the world. Ask God to show you how your life could be defined by generosity. Begin to live into that vision. A Final Word on Stewardship As you give to support Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, please remember these important points on supporting the Church with your tithes and offerings. Our first line of giving is our tithes and offerings. These funds go toward the Church s operational budget. This budget keeps the Church operating and enables us to fulfill God s mission for our church. Our second mile giving is money given in addition to tithes. Second mile giving should not replace one s tithe. These funds are given sacrificially as an offering above and beyond to meet the financial needs of areas that are not directly tied to the operating costs of the church. Special offerings are important, but they should only be supported by second mile giving. Examples of second mile giving include children and youth camp, special mission projects, disaster relief, etc. Another example is money left at the altar for the emergency assistance fund (to help people in need) on the first Sunday of the month when we have communion. Furthermore, on the months that have five Sundays, we invite contributions for our United Methodist Children s Home. Any special offering received by the Church will be sent to that project. Such contributions should not be considered a tithe. Stewardship 101 Page 15

16 Total Monthly Amount Needed $65, Total Weekly Amount Needed $15, SUMMARY 2012 Budget TOTAL TRUSTEES $ 193, TOTAL SPR $ 349, TOTAL OFFICE & OPER $ 11, TOTAL DUES & SUBS. $ 1, TOTAL ADULT EDUCATION $ 1, TOTAL EVANGELISM $ 6, TOTAL MISSIONS $ 9, TOTAL WORSHIP $ 3, TOTAL MUSIC $ 2, TOTAL FINANCE $ 7, TOTAL BENEVOLENCES $ 68, TOTAL YOUTH $ 10, TOTAL CHILDREN $ 7, TOTAL CONGREGATIONAL CARE $ 2, Mortgage Payments $ 109, GRAND TOTAL $ 784, Stewardship campaign (General/Operating) $ 286, WELC Donations (mortgage interest) $ 120, Family Life Center Use $ 45, Parsonage Rental $ 9, Loose Plate (% of donations) $ 224, TOTAL GIVINGS $ 684, NET TOTAL $ (99,421.61) Stewardship 101 Page 16

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