One of my colleagues was recently visiting with a fairly new church member who shared that he is pleased to be part of a wealthy church. He appeared to be referencing that such a condition released him from the pressure of consistent giving and supporting our ministries and programs because it was being taken care of by others.
I certainly join with this member and you in celebrating the “wealth” of our church when it comes to all we have to offer in the way of dynamic and powerful ministries and programs and how we share this wealth with so many through those ministries. Check out this great overview of our ministries.
I celebrate that as a church which has been in existence since 1874 we are blessed to have influential families on our membership rosters.
First Church is also blessed to have First Methodist Church Foundation which was started in the 1960s by several of those influential church members.
The Foundation provides a way for individuals to make a legacy gift in the way of an endowment or bequest that will provide for the church’s future financial stability. As stated on the Foundation’s website, annual disbursements to the church from the Foundation “provide for capital expenditures, facilities maintenance, repair, and renovation of church property which are not addressed in the church’s operating budget. The Foundation also provides financial resources to perpetuate the traditions of our church.” The disbursements are based on the income generated on the Foundation’s invested principal that has originated from such bequests and legacy gifts.
The beauty of having the Foundation is that it then makes it possible for your annual operating fund gifts to have an immediate impact by being utilized specifically for ongoing ministries and programs rather than on bricks and mortar or building repairs. The Foundation also provides a means to continue to show your love for the church even after you die.
First Church’s true treasures are you, our many, many members whose names may not be as well-known but who give sacrificially, making our ministries possible. Without you, we are merely a beautiful relic. I said it before, but you and your fellow members are First United Methodist Church. It is because of your presence, your financial gifts, your gifts of time — your unbounded generosity — that First Church fulfills our Christian charge.
In 2017, approximately 50% of our total households made financial gifts to our operating fund. We are very grateful for this generosity. But in the months ahead, my challenge for you is to practice unbounded generosity. I am not talking about the size or type of your gift. I am asking you to give prayerful consideration as to your personal priorities and your personal covenant with God.
For some that may mean making a first-time gift, for others it may mean being more consistent in your giving, and for others it may mean fulfilling and even exceeding your 2018 Commitment (which several of you have already done; thank you!).
In assessing the wealth of First Church, I feel a sense of ownership and pride. I also want our wealth to continue to grow in the ways of a larger faith community, a bigger footprint in Fort Worth, and a broader scope of ministries and programs. I don’t want to just depend on others to make this happen. I want to do my part for this body of Christ.
I hope you want to do your part as well!
I look forward to us working together in the upcoming months.
Blessings for each of you!