The best definition to stewardship is to "take care with" or to "take care of" something. I will be preaching on taking care of our pain, of our time, of each other, and of our church. Toward the end of the month, you will be asked to complete a commitment card. I hope you will prayerfully consider the "care you will take" of the mission of the Wilmington United Methodist Church.
I have always been an advocate of percentage giving. In a society like ours with such vast differences in income, percentage giving seems like a much fairer way to talk about giving in support of the work of Jesus Christ.
I think it safe to say that congregations where the vast majority contribute 1-3% of their income, the congregation struggles simply to survive. I think it is safe to say that when the vast majority contribute 4-7% of their income to the church that congregation is stable. If most of the congregation approaches tithing, that is defined as 10% of one's income the church thrives.
The other important variable is whether the congregation is growing. If new folks are joining and sharing in the meaningful activities of the church and all things are expanding including our base of financial support, then the church is thriving.
As we think of "taking care with" and "taking care of" this congregation and the church of Jesus Christ, there are two things I would invite us all consider doing. The first is invite other people to share in the life-giving ministries of the Wilmington United Methodist Church. The second is to consider your financial support of our ministries as a percentage of your income. prayerfully consider what percentage of your income you can share. What percentage do you contribute now? Is it possible to increase your percentage?
Cathy and I have always tithed. We had a bit of struggle maintaining that through the move to Wilmington. We lost Cathy's income for over three months. But we will be back to tithing as a part of this fall's commitment drive.
God wants us to thrive in our ministry. So, I invite us all to do our very best as we "take care with" and "take care of" the ministries of the Wilmington United Methodist Church.
Grace and peace