The word â€œstewardshipâ€ in the Holy Bible is the English translation of a Greek term formed from two words: â€œmanageâ€ and â€œhouse.â€ A steward, therefore, is someone who manages someone elseâ€™s house: all the ownerâ€™s possessions. God created the heavens and the earthâ€”the whole creation and everything in it belongs to God. In our worship of God, we learn that all that we have belongs to God and that God has called us to be â€˜stewardsâ€™ or â€˜managersâ€™ of all that God has given to us. Christian stewardship is quite simply our response to God for all that God has given to us. In worship we respond to Godâ€™s generosity through our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. When we truly worship God by giving and sharing some of what we have been given, we are responding to Godâ€™s radical love towards us. Christian stewardship is a life lived in the growing realization that life itself is a gift from God. Christian stewardship is the real measure of our thankfulness to God; it is, in fact, â€œour spiritual worshipâ€ (Romans 12:1).
Giving generously is a spiritual act of worship in which everyone can participate. Giving becomes a celebration when we discover the joy of generosity, which grows out of Godâ€™s grace.
YOUR STEWARDSHIP IN ACTION
Our financial commitment to First Church helps us grow spiritually while supporting the churchâ€™s mission and ministry with a percentage of our income (tithe). Your contributions support the ministry of the church through Worship, Christian Education, Missions & Outreach, Evangelism, and Stewardship.
Worship is at the center of everything we do at First Church. Every Sunday we gather together as a family of faith to acknowledge the holiness of God, hear Godâ€™s Word, offer prayers, and celebrate the sacraments of the Church.
First Church is a family of faith that values Christian Education and understands the importance of continued life-long learning. First Church has over 100 small groups, Bible studies, or Sunday School Classes for all ages that meet weekly. Your tithe supports our Christian Education programs that impact over 800 children, tweens, youth and adults weekly. First Church is blessed to have a talented staff which lead a variety of ministries and programs for all ages. Your tithe helps support ministries which promote the Gospel in both our church and the community including our Preschool, Children, Tweens, Youth, College, Young Adult, Men, Women, 50 Forward, and more.
Missions and Outreach
At First Church we strive to be the hands and feet of Christ through missions & outreach. Through acts of compassion, volunteering, and missional giving, we make a positive difference in our community and around the world.
As a church we strive to invite, welcome, and care for others so that all may find a spiritual home and discover for themselves a life in Christ. We believe that Godâ€™s evangelistic message of love and redeeming grace is best shared through showing hospitality, being invitational, being inclusive, being an example, and sharing with others personal testimonies of Godâ€™s transformational story.
Stewardship of our Facilities
Programs need facilities to survive and grow. Providing a pleasing, safe and secure campus with First Churchâ€™s 120,000 sq. ft. of beautiful and historic buildings [Main Sanctuary (1908) and the Gov. Perry Home (1867)] requires resources. Your giving allows us to keep our buildings maintained and have space to grow and continue ministry for years to come.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHURCHÂ BUDGET
Each year a responsible church budget is prepared based on the financial pledges of our members. The 2019 general budget of First Church is $2,409,140. For the purposes of The Growing Season, we have divided the church budget into the five core vision areas of the church. A list of the broad expenses used to define these areas is provided below:
Worship – $507,874
Worship includes items such as liturgical resources, music ministries, sound, clergy, and more.
Stewardship – $563,236
Stewardship includes maintenance of our entire church campus and contains items such as custodial staff, insurance, electricity and more.
Christian Education – $275,082
Christian Education includes expenses related to program area ministries such as children, tweens, youth, college, young professional, adults, senior adults and more.
Missions and Outreach – $240,924
Missions and Outreach includes connectional giving (apportionments) and other budget giving to mission organizations. This budget does not include individual designated missional gifts.Â
Evangelism – $822,024
Evangelism includes kitchen and hospitality ministries, pastoral care expenses, internal and external communication expenses, printing, postage, technology, admin staff, and more.
UNDERSTANDING THE TITHE
UMC Discipleship Ministries Resource: Tithing: Law of God or Gift of God?
by David S. Bell
The United Methodist Church says that tithing is â€œthe minimum goal of giving….â€, but does not specify net or gross. Some people tithe out of their gross income. Many tithe from their adjusted gross income and many tithe out of the after tax income. The important thing is to begin to tithe. God calls us to offer our â€œfirst fruits,â€ not the â€œleftovers.â€ First fruits giving requires the theological premise that our possessions and assets ultimately belong to God. All that we have in life is a gift from God!
Tithing should be the benchmark for Christian stewardship. In his sermon, The Use of Money, John Wesley preached about â€œearning all you can, saving all you can, and giving all you can.â€ For Wesley, the tithe was not the ultimate goal of the Christian; it was the standard, the normative mark, the common denominator. Jesusâ€™ teaching and example urge us to examine our choices with all our possessions and assets, not just ten percent of them.
ESTIMATE OF GIVING CARD
Estimate of Giving Cards, in addition to being an important act of sacrificial faith, are a necessary resource which allows your church to build a responsible budget for ministry during the following year. Your church understands that this card is just an estimate and may need to be adjusted as needed. Please return your card as soon as possible.
Frequency of Giving | Weekly, Monthly, or Annually
Please indicate your intended frequency of giving (weekly, monthly, or annually) on the Estimate of Giving Card. This information allows your church to financially plan more effectively. The â€œGrow One Stepâ€ tithe table provided on this handout includes weekly income estimates and can be used to help determine weekly, monthly, and annual tithing numbers.
Giving can be most effective when we commit ourselves to give a proportion of our income as an offering to God. For many, this proportion is one-tenth, or a tithe. Whatever the amount, there is joy in setting aside a specific percentage of your income for God.
Above and beyond the tithe
Going above and beyond the tithe is one way to generously give back to God while also ensuring the continued financial health of First Church and its ministries. If you are financially able, you are encouraged to give towards debt relief or donate to the Endowment Fund in addition to your financial tithe.
METHODS FOR FINANCIALLY CONTRIBUTING
Giving During Worship
Every Sunday we practice the act of Christian stewardship by collecting an offering during our four worship services. The congregation is encouraged to give joyfully as a response of love and devotion to God. Following the collection, during the singing of the Doxology, we bring the offering forward to dedicate it to the use of Godâ€™s work through First Church.
Contributing by Mail or in the Church Office
Your tithe and offerings may be mailed to First United Methodist Church at 6 East Wright Street, Pensacola, FL 32501. Self-addressed church envelopes are available for your convenience in the church office. If you are contributing cash, please consider donating in person. Contributions may also be given to the church office Monday-Friday, during office hours.
You may contribute 24-hours a day using our website at FUMCPensacola.com.Â Accepted online payment methods include checking or savings accounts and credit or debit cards. You may also set up automatic withdrawal or recurring contributions on our website. To access online giving, select Donations/Payments from the drop down menu â€œConnectâ€, found on the main menu bar at FUMCPensacola.com. You may also contribute using the First Church iPhone App, available for free in the iTunes App Store.
GIVING A NON-CASH GIFT
First Church also accepts non-cash contributions. Non-cash contributions may include: publicly traded securities, personal property, real estate, gifts-in-kind, insurance policies, charitable lead trusts and deferred gifts (including bequests and estate gifts). If you would like to make a non-cash gift, please contact Liz Noyes, Director of Finance, at 850-432-1434.
TAX DEDUCTIONS AND RECORD OF CONTRIBUTIONS
As a non-profit religious institution, your tithe and offering, and most gifts to First Church may be claimed as a tax deduction. Also, for your convenience, giving statements are mailed monthly to all contributing donors. In addition, End-of-the-Year statements, summarizing contributions for the year, are delivered by mail each January.
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