Just for You: A Quick Stewardship Primer

I was recently approached by two of our newer members with an excellent question. They are passionate about First Street Methodist Mission (who isn’t!?!?) and wanted to know if their recent gift to the Mission counted towards their 2018 Commitment. They were surprised when I responded with a sincere “thank you for your gift” and then said “No.”

The annual stewardship campaign is targeted specifically for raising general operating funds. These funds are vital for day to day operations, making it possible for First Church to serve our growing ministries, to buy the music that our Choral Union Choir sings, to keep the air conditioner running in the summer for VBS, to make sure that the lights come on year-round for Bible studies and worship services, to provide DVDs for our homebound members, and much, much more. Operating funds provide multiple opportunities for First Church members to practice Healthy Plate Discipleship 24/7.

Here are additional Frequently Asked Questions that I hope you find insightful.

What is the 2018 Operating Budget?
The Finance Committee developed and presented the budget of $5,104,136 to the Church Council for review and approval earlier this year. Member giving is budgeted to bring in $3,965,169 by year-end. To date, approximately $2,000,000 of the anticipated amount has been generated.

Why is my participation in the annual stewardship campaign important since I already give consistently?
Here at First Church we very much appreciate the generosity of our members and we celebrate consistent giving. The annual stewardship campaign is time set aside each year to educate and raise awareness among our members as to the significance of their ongoing support followed up with an ask to make a yearly commitment of participation in the funding of our annual operating budget. Commitment cards reflect an estimation of the amount each member/household plans to invest in our ministries and programs for the upcoming year. The Finance Committee uses the total of estimated committed dollars to forecast and develop the upcoming year’s operating budget.

What has been committed for 2018?
600 households have made commitments totaling a little over $2,500,000 with over half of these dollars paid as of this writing.

What does the average household give in total for a year?
In 2017 that averaged total gift per household was $172 a month. This is based on 1,596 donors. Our records indicate FUMCFW has approximately 4,430 active members which means there are opportunities for greater participation from our members. Take a moment to consider what our giving would look like if another 1,000 members gave consistently at a similar level as 2017.

How can I support programs like First Street Methodist Mission, Kenyan Mission, Kids Hope USA Mentoring, and other wonderful ministries?
These gifts are referred to as designated gifts and second-mile gifts. The gift is specific to a cause and cannot be used in any other way. The Christmas Offering and the Easter Offering are considered second-mile gifts because the donations will be distributed to the specialized and specific programs set out in the appeal letter. These types of gifts are very important and very much appreciated even though they do not count toward an individual’s annual commitment. If you choose to make a designated gift that you normally don’t hear about, please contact me so that we be sure that your gift will be used in an impactful way.

What if I experience a job loss or health crisis that makes it challenging to fulfill my commitment?
Life happens. If you are faced with a financial setback, please consider sharing as much as you are comfortable with by discussing your challenging circumstance with Business Administrator Larry Ammerman or with me. Not only will this give us an opportunity to pray for better days for you but will also make us aware of the possible change in your financial support.

I live on a fixed income which means my gift is smaller than the average gift. Will my gift really matter?
There is no such thing as a small gift. Your gift certainly matters because it is from you and because it used to Love God, Serve People, and Transform Lives. We recognize that the choice to support our church ministries is a very personal choice and very personal covenant. I simply point you to the well-known story of the widow and the two mites found in Mark 12: 41-44 and then thank you for your unbounded generosity!

During the summer, our attendance will be more sporadic. How can I keep on giving when I am not there on Sunday?
We have you covered by providing a variety of giving options:

Online Giving
Go to fumcfw.org/givenow.

Check or Money Order
Make payable to FUMC Fort Worth; deliver to the Business Office, the Main Church Office, or via mail to 800 W. 5th St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102, Attn: Business Office.

Text to Give
Text 817-241-2327 and enter the amount in the message bar. You must have a ShelbyGiving account set up with the church in order to Text to Give. Learn more.

ShelbyNEXT | Giving App
Download the app to give from your smartphone. Learn more.

I hope this information is helpful. Please know I am available and happy to visit with you about giving any time. I welcome your questions and comments.

Again, thank you for all you do for First Church. I am so proud to stand with you as this Body of Christ in downtown Fort Worth.

Together in Christ,

Nancy Fisher
Director of Stewardship


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