Connecting Giving with Passion

By April 16, 2019

Read this story and more in CONNECT Magazine | 2019 Lent Edition

CONNECT Magazine is your source for the stories of our FUMCFW Faith Community — and how each fits in with our Healthy Plate Discipleship. Pick up your copy in the Main Office and Welcome Center or read it online.
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Larry Ammerman, FUMCFW Business Manager, explains that FUMCFW has created a multitude of ministries in response to the ministry passions of our congregation and responds to members’ desires to give where their passion is. “Whether your particular passion is to enjoy special music, a variety of worship experiences, teaching our children and youth about God’s love, serving others to meet the needs of our larger community (e.g. First Street Methodist Mission, Methodist Justice Ministry, Disaster Responses, children in Kenya, communities in Costa Rica, and a variety of ministries throughout the world via UMCOR), each of our ministries reflects the needs and desires of people in our congregation for how we want to ‘be God’s people in the world.’” 

“All of our ministries extend from a base of worship. Our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ requires us to continue to grow and learn in all areas of our lives. This variety of ministries (Music, Children, Youth, Senior Adults, etc.) necessitate ongoing congregational support to fund and support their activities. In addition, both laity and church staff to provide services and guidance to each ministry.” he says. “These passions are expressed both during our annual stewardship emphasis and through other financial gifts to the church. All of that generous giving becomes part of our ministry and operating budget and are the foundation from which other ministries grow.”

Some of our other ministries, including several of our vital outreach and community service ministries, as well as more global Methodist ministries, are funded by donations apart from the ministry and operating budget, mainly through our annual Christmas and Easter offerings.

Other ministries, such as the First Street Methodist Mission, Methodist Justice Ministry, and Dementia Friendly Fort Worth, are separate and distinct non-profit organizations. Additional donations support those ministries and programs, as well as the staff that guides or provides those services. Each of those distinct organizations benefit from being on our campus; our church provides space, utilities, and other services at no cost to allow all of their donated funds to go directly into providing services.

Those who feel passionate about our building and facilities and future — about creating a welcoming, empowering environment for ministry and for all who find spiritual guidance here on our campus — express that passion by giving to building expansion and renovation programs. “The bottom line for me is that as a church we allow people to support the ministries and programs and facilities they are most passionate about.”

As members of our faith community, it’s up to us to choose and prioritize how we want to invest our financial gifts as part of our spiritual discipline of giving.

  • FAITHFUL giving supports the ongoing ministry of the church
  • SPECIAL MISSIONAL GIVING (over and above giving through a variety of special day/offerings) is dedicated to support missional work beyond the church
  • CAPITAL GIVING (over and above and sacrificial giving opportunity for a fixed amount of time) is designated to fund a major capital improvement
  • PLANNED giving to/through the church or the First Methodist Foundation

Senior Pastor Dr. Tim Bruster says that to make these decisions about giving, it sometimes helps to think of it as giving out of three pockets: income/cash flow, accumulated assets, and estate gifts. “Giving to the ministry and operating budget of the church, as well as special gifts and seasonal offerings often comes from our income or cash flow,” he explains. “These gifts are given in proportion to our means — the tithe being the standard. Giving to the church out of our accumulated assets can be directed in a specific way to accomplish the ministries or a particular ministry of the church — or even a special project like a building expansion, a pipe organ, or some other kind of capital improvement. That third pocket, estate gifts, given to the church or the foundation leaves a powerful legacy that will serve the church’s future generations.” Dr. Bruster adds that giving to our Next90 building expansion project in our upcoming capital campaign can come from any combination of the three pockets, but preferably the first or second pocket because of the immediacy of the need.

Although it’s pretty simple to understand that giving is an essential part of our discipleship, how do you decide what to give where? To help with this process (and we’ll get a lot more into that in the Next90 edition of CONNECT) there are three tiers of decision-making questions to remember, advises Mick Tune, consultant, Culture of Ready.

First Decision — “What is my faithful commitment to Stewardship — my tithe — to support the general ministry of the church?”

Next Decision — “What other ministries and programs not funded by the ministry and operating budget am I passionate about?”

Investment Decision — “What am I passionate about as a member of this faith community about what we’re doing as a church right now in a transformative capital project to impact the next 90 years? How do I want to be part of what God is doing through our church in that kind of project?

Tune describes the difference between “faithful giving,” which we attend to through our Healthy Plate Discipleship, and “sacrificial giving,” which means investing above our regular, faithful giving right now in order to be part of something we’re truly passionate about for the future of our church. “Sometimes people hear the words, ‘sacrificial giving’ and think that means to ‘give till it hurts.’ Well, no one is ever asking anyone to hurt. I think a better way to describe sacrificial giving in this context is ‘giving till you feel genuinely invested — a real part of what’s going on,” Tune says. “When you send kids to college, does it hurt? You probably have to do some things differently — and make some space in your budget for that investment — but isn’t it something worthwhile? Something you really want to do?”

Tune says that people tend to invest in a vision for the future for all kinds of reasons. Maybe it’s wanting to create a legacy of your lifetime and commitment. Maybe your family is young, and you want to invest in your family’s experience and future here. Maybe it’s something specific about the vision that you’re especially excited about — and you want to be part of making that vision a reality.

“I don’t know about anyone else,” remarks longtime church and Building Committee member Gaye Fuller. “But I want to sit in that rotunda and watch all the different groups in our church come together as a community every Sunday morning. It’s just the most exciting thing I can think of, and I’m going to do what I can to help make it happen!”

As we continue our deep Lenten reflections on who we are as a faith community, what “This Is Us” means to each of us when we consider who we are as a church, let’s begin to ask ourselves, “What do I love most about our church?” “What am I most excited about for our future?” “How do I want to be invested in the ministry and calling of this church?”

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