It's That Time Of The Year

 Well it is coming up that time of year for most churches, that being doing the annual Pledge Drive/Stewardship Campaign, in other words, it's that time of year for the churches to start asking its members to let it know how much money that it plans to give so that the churches can pan for the next year.

 But there will be some congregations were this won't happen, which is sad. Oh excuses will be given in many of them as to why they don't, which in the long run is going to not only hurt that congregation, but it will reflect on the leaders of that congregation. Should that congregation close, in the end the people who it will reflect upon the most will be the ordained of that congregation. I know of an ordained person who told his congregation that Stewardship had nothing to do with money. I feel really sad for that person, as I know of people in that congregation who want to pledge and be good stewards who want to pledge and be good stewards, but they spend the money on other things instead.

 I was brought up in a family where being apart of the church in different ways is a tradition that goes back many generations. We have not only given our dollars to the church, but our time in other areas of the church also. They have ranged from being both Laity to ordained. They have served on Vestries, Altar Guilds, Acolytes, Sunday School Teachers, Maintenance people, and so many other things. I myself has served as an acolyte, been a thurifer, lay reader, cup bearer, provide music for services, been in the choirs, sung in folk groups, intercessor, usher, served on committees and commissions, along with a number of other things.

 Why have I been involved in so many things? Because I was brought up to believe that pledging and stewardship is also more than giving money. But that without giving money to the church by pledging, the church cannot survive. How is the church suppose to pay people? How is the church suppose to pay the electric, water, gas and/or oil bills? How is the church suppose to be able to pay for the things that it uses during services? How is the church suppose to be able to pay for the buildings so that programs and events can happen? How is the church suppose to be able to even plan for the future if it doesn't know if it will have money in the future?

 If you think about it, you will also realize that doing such things like sending Missionaries out to spread the Great News of the Gospels couldn't happen. Oh I am sure that some would be happy because radio and television evangelist would vanish, but as much as one may dislike them, they are able to bring the Great News to those who are homebound, and with some people they record them because they have to work, so they watch them later.

 For some, going to church is a family event that brings the family together. We live in a world where there are so many distractions that going to church is the only family event that happens. The church is a place where many children learn discipline from others besides their parents. Church is the place where people make friends and find relationships with people who are similar in many ways to themselves. The church is the place where people come to celebrate the life of a Great person. But without money, these things can't happen, because the church would not exist.

 With some churches, they tell you how much you should pledge, and that amount is usually 10% of your income. But the truth is that the amount of money that you pledge is really between you and the Holy Trinity. I am sure that some will be told that they can't afford to pledge, or will be discouraged from pledging, but my hope is that they don't listen to the people telling them that, as that is the Devil speaking, and we all know that the Devil doesn't want the Great News to be spread out.

 But also pledge things that you will do in the church, being you join and sing in the choir, serve on the altar, host “coffee hour”, teach Sunday School, help to clean up around the place, or something of many other things that you could be doing. The church needs you involved in many ways in order to continue to spread the Great News of the Gospels to the world.

 There is a phrase that is said in different ways through most religions, that phrase being “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I was to change that praise into something that I want for you to think about. “Give Unto The Church As You Would Have It Give Unto You”

 Think about how your life would be if the church didn't exist. Would you be like you are if it didn't exist, or would you be worse off? How important is the church to you? Do you desire that the church and its people continue to spread the Great News of the Gospels to others?

 When the pledging starts, do and give what you feel is best for you and for the church in both money and time.