Stewardship and the work of the Stewardship Committee
At its heart, stewardship is an act of praise and thanksgiving to God for the blessings we've received in our lives. Our annual stewardship program is not just an occasion to raise funds in order to reach a specific dollar goal, but an opportunity for parishioners to grow in their faith by practicing generosity and discovering the joy of Christian stewardship.
Q. What is Stewardship?
A. Stewardship is all that I do, with all that I have, after I say, "I believe". Christian stewardship is a transformational way of living, understanding that God is the source of all life and that we are entrusted as stewards of God's world. It rests on the belief that an abundant and generous God provides us with all that we truly need.
Q. What is Stewardship NOT?
A. Stewardship is not fundraising, charity or philanthropy. While all of those have useful purposes in society, they assume that donors "own" the goods and services they donate. Stewardship recognizes that all of our gifts (both physical and personal talents) stem from God, and that Christians are simply "giving back" some of what has been bestowed upon them by God.
Q. Why is my pledge important to Good Shepherd?
A. A pledge to Good Shepherd allows the church to meet its financial obligations to carry out its mission. Pledging is the primary source of revenue for the church and is a crucial element of creating our annual budget. The annual stewardship pledge accounts for 90% of our total receipts each year. Other sources of income come from plate offerings, use of buildings and grounds, fundraising (grocery coupons, etc.), and interest/dividends.
Q. How much should I pledge?
A. The spiritual discipline of giving pays no heed to how much you give, only to how much of what you have you give. The Episcopal Church has adopted the tithe, one tenth of your income, as the standard of giving. This is the scripture-based admonition to give 10% of your time, treasure and talents in support of the church. In reality though, only a small percent of our parishioners actually tithe. Many have, however, made a commitment to work toward tithing by starting with a percentage they felt manageable and increasing it over time.
Q. What is the average pledge at Good Shepherd?
A. The average pledge for our parish currently is $2,200. This amount is derived by taking the total amount pledged divided by the number of pledges.
Q. Can I practice stewardship without pledging - by just putting money in the plate?
A. Of course any money received, whether by pledge or plate offering, will benefit Good Shepherd. But, by making a pledge, not only are you making a stewardship commitment, you are also helping the church to practice good stewardship. Pledges give us an idea of the financial resources we will have to carry out our mission and enables purposeful decision making when creating the annual budget.
Q. What happens if I can't meet my pledge?
A. There are no "penalties", financial or otherwise, for not fulfilling your pledge. Of course, since our budget is based in large part on pledges, not meeting them may cause a shortfall in revenue and in turn it could cause a change in our spending plan. For this reason, we should set our pledge so that we have a realistic expectation we can give the amount that has been pledged. In the event that your circumstances change which causes you to be unable to meet your pledge, we encourage you to contact our parish bookkeeper, Marjie Rogers, to inform us of the need to revise your pledge.
Q. Can I automatically transfer funds directly from my bank each month to make my pledge to Good Shepherd?
A. Yes, this can be done through your bank's website under the bill pay section. Simply set up Good Shepherd like any other account, but without an account number. Then set up an automatic payment once a month corresponding to your pledge amount. Each month at the chosen time/day, the bank will automatically write and send a check to the church. Then let Marjie Rogers know that your pledge will be sent automatically.
Q. Who can I contact for personal help or information about pledging?
A. If you have a question of a mission or finance nature, please contact a vestry member, or our Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, Pete Roden. If you are seeking answers to a theological question or have a pastoral need, you are encouraged to contact Fr. Craig MacColl.
FINANCE COMMITTEE MISSION, GOALS AND SCHEDULE
At Good Shepherd, although we believe that overseeing church finances is primarily a spiritual enterprise, we recognize that monthly financial oversight and management needs to be delegated to a group of parishioners who have some interest and expertise in this area. The group that has responsibility for church finances and works with the parish Stewardship Committee is the Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee meets the second Thursday of every month from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm. This committee reviews the monthly financial reports and makes recommendations to the Vestry on ways to manage the financial operations of the parish. This committee is made up of volunteer members of the congregation, the Treasurer, Business Manager, and Committee Chair.
The Finance Committee oversees the annual audit of the accounts and reports to the Diocese and Vestry on the status of the Parish's financial position. Monthly income statements and balance sheets are published to the congregation and the Vestry. Quarterly reviews are presented to the Vestry.
The Finance Committee collects annual budget requirements from each ministry and compiles a budget recommendation that is given to the Vestry for approval and presented to the congregation at the annual meeting the last Sunday in January.