In my last blog, I asked you to think about why you are part of FUMCFW. I now think the better question is “What is your purpose for being at FUMCFW?”
A possible answer for you to consider is found on the church’s website: “Our understanding of God as revealed in Jesus Christ compels us to open our hearts to the experience of God in our lives and in relationship with others; to open our minds to new and deeper understandings; and to open our doors to all people who would join us in loving God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. We commit ourselves to going out to be God’s people in the world.”
So now the next question is, “How do we put action into these words?”
Thank goodness our very own Rev. Casey Orr (we will always claim her even though she is no longer on our staff) came to our rescue. As you recall, Rev. Orr provided us the Healthy Plate Discipleship model that lists six faith practices that put you on the path of discipleship. It is through worship, prayer, learning, playing, service, and giving that we develop and deepen that personal and transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. In doing so, we live out our Christian purpose of being sources of God’s love for everyone we encounter.
Of course, I am addressing the practice of giving where the disciple-in-training is asked to make a commitment of giving proportionately to support FUMCFW ministries. Friends, we are talking specifically about monetary support. There, I said it!
As you think about your personal church giving, do this quick value assessment:
Am I giving to God first? Does church giving take priority in your family budget once basic needs are met? In talking to disciples who follow this practice, I have never heard one say that they came up short or were not able to meet their personal needs when they put God first. More often than not, they acknowledge that in putting God first in their financial affairs they live a comfortable, happy life.
Am I intentional? Once your gifts to the church have been given priority in the family budget, have you developed a giving plan and put it into action. That might mean signing an annual commitment card or having automatic payment done through a credit card or bank draft. It might mean writing one monthly check and designating it to be split among several ministries, i.e. annual operating fund, youth mission trips, Food for Kids, building campaign, etc.
Am I consistent? With intentionality, you become consistent. With a plan there comes a pattern to giving — making a weekly gift or giving monthly on the first Sunday or perhaps it is easier to give one gift in June or December.
Am I generous? Generosity looks different on everyone. Generosity changes with seasons of one’s life. Generosity is an act of faith. The amount you decide to give is between you and God.
Am I a cheerful giver? You joyfully respond to the question, “How is God calling me to respond to his presence in my life?” The key to becoming a cheerful giver is to practice the other stewardship values.
When you put God first, and as well, become intentional, consistent, generous and cheerful in your giving, you are practicing the Christian discipleship of giving. Putting these values into action will elevate your generosity. But more significant, you will grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ and be on the path to discovering your God-given purpose.
Imagine how that will transform you.
Imagine a church full of people who know their God-given purpose. Imagine how that will transform First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. Imagine how that will transform our community.
The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved. — Acts 2:42-47
We can do more than just imagine! Together as disciples of Christ, we can Love God, Serve People, and Transform Lives.
Together in Christ,
Director of Stewardship