What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is an old word for a powerful concept. Stewardship is “caring for what belongs to someone else.” Christians are stewards of the things that we have from God – our lives, our families, the church, the environment, our possessions, and the well-being of others. Stewardship is a way of understanding that “it’s not all about me.”
In the United Methodist Church, stewardship forms the connection between the believer and the church. This connection is not a spectator relationship or a customer relationship, but an active, living relationship. “Be doers of the word, not hearers only.” – James 1:22.
We consider stewardship at PUMC as the three legs of a stool, each representing an element of stewardship: time, talent and treasure. Your stewardship in each of these three areas supports PUMC’s thriving mission and ministries.
Our lives are very busy. There are meetings, school activities and sport practices to drive to. However if you have the time, there is always a need that you can fulfill. We have members that need rides who otherwise cannot drive. We have members that could use your prayers. You could be a Church greeter, an usher, help in the nursery or participate in the annual Change the World event.
How often do we rush through our busy days only to wonder what we did with our time? Every second is a gift and we must allow ourselves to stop, experience the beauty and goodness that surrounds us and enjoy God’s handiwork.
There is always a need for people with talents to help here at PUMC. We often take for granted the smooth, reliable operation of Sunday school, confirmation class, vacation bible school, adult education, choir, bell choir, and so many other programs. These activities only happen because of the good, dedicated stewards who are willing to make them exist. Everyone has a talent, sometimes you just need to volunteer to find yours…..
From Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The bible says that we should set aside our “first fruits”—that our offering to God should be the first portion we set aside, not what remains. When you give, you are giving through the church not to the church. While a portion will be used to pay bills a portion will be used to carry out Churches mission in Christ’s name.
Most of us have been taught the value of “sharing” with others since we were children. Whether we are sharing with brothers and sisters, other family members, neighbors or classmates, the idea of “sharing” has become part of the fabric of our society to the benefit of all.
Our Gifts Come In Many Forms
A Christian steward understands that God’s gifts are not merely found in the special moments that take our breath away, but are also found in the smallest details of our daily lives. Waking up to a morning sunrise; the ability to read; having a warm home in the winter; food in our refrigerators; the laughter of children and the sounds of nature – these things are so easily taken for granted because they are simply a part of our everyday existence. Living the life of a good steward challenges each of us to never take anything for granted.
The true meaning of stewardship calls each of us to recognize that everything in life is a gift from God, and is meant to be shared. It is important that we offer equal attention to our gifts of time, talent and treasures.
We are being asked to share our time, talents, and our treasure with God through his Church. When we take membership vows, we pledge our prayers, our presence and our support. There are many wonderful ministries and missions to support.
God has made each of us a steward, and has given us abilities and talents that are unique. We should use these abilities and talents to serve God. We enable God’s kingdom to move ahead when we extend ourselves in sharing.
Here PUMC we believe in stewardship as a way of life. Stewardship is so much more than an annual financial campaign; it’s how we live out our lives by giving back to God, church and community.
Why is giving important?
The Bible has much to say about wisdom and finances, with 2,300 verses that tell us to be generous and good stewards of our resources. Jesus taught generosity and sacrifice. He demanded that his followers serve not wealth but God, and in the parable of the talents he taught that God will hold us each accountable for what we do with all our earthly possessions.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7
What is expected of me?
The Bible teaches us to give a tithe, or the first 10 percent of what we earn, to God and the church’s work. For some, giving one tenth is a very difficult goal. For others, it is the starting point, and their giving exceeds 10 percent. The important thing is that you start somewhere, that you give as a percentage of your income (your “first fruits”), that your giving reflects an appropriate offering to God given your means, and that your offerings express both your desire to serve the Lord and your investment in God’s work. If you are not yet tithing, consider taking a step toward tithing this year. For example, if you now give 3 percent of your income, consider increasing your gift to 4 percent, and add 1 percent each year until you reach the tithing goal. Our prayer is that everyone will grow in his or her faith through giving financially to the ministries of the church and experience the joy and blessings that come from financial generosity.
How do I give?
You can return a pledge card and you will receive weekly giving envelopes to return in during worship or by mail. Or you can sign up for, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). EFT is the easiest, most cost-effective giving option for both you and the church. EFT is a great way for the church to receive the financial resources it needs on a regularly scheduled basis which helps tremendously with monthly financial planning. Complete the EFT information form and return it with a voided check. And new in 2012, PUMC now offers an e-giving option for one-time or recurring gifts that may be more convenient than the EFT option, especially for those who may not be church members but want to support one of the church’s ministries or give in a loved one’s memory. You can contact Cheryl Henbest, Financial Secretary at (815) 436-9651 for more information
There are many ways to get involved and to help make a difference in someone’s life. Either talk with someone on the stewardship committee or contact the church office. After all, God makes all this possible – we’re just the stewards of what God has given us.
Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can – John Wesley