January 1, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation
Sherry Hester Kenney
Ministry Relations Officer – South Central Region
One of the services the Ministry Relations Officers at the Presbyterian Foundation provides to our churches is a planned giving, or legacy giving, workshop. The information in the workshop guides pastors and helps them show their members how they can participate in the ministry and mission of the church they love and proclaim their Christian faith, even in death.
I regularly lead Leaving Your Faith Legacy workshops, and I always remind participants that if they don’t have a will, their state has written one for them, and it may or may not reflect their wishes. Writing a will (or a living trust, which is a will substitute) and keeping it current, is a gift to the people you love. You can have peace of mind knowing you are not putting family members in the position of making difficult decisions at an already difficult time. A power of attorney and an advanced directive, also referred to as a living will, are supporting documents that allow you to say who you want to make decisions on your behalf in the event you aren’t able, and what kind of healthcare you want at the end of your life.
Although a holographic (handwritten) will is legal in most states, the value of an attorney’s guidance during this process should not be underestimated. A referral from a friend or another advisor, or your state’s bar association website, is a good way to find either a general attorney, for a simple will, or a tax and estates attorney for a more complex one. Many attorneys will hold the first meeting on a complimentary basis and then quote a fee determined by the scope of work indicated. Certain types of assets and unique family situations add complexity, and may require a higher fee.
The Presbyterian Foundation has several resources to help those going through the estate planning process for the first time, or those updating an existing plan. Our Guide to a Christian Will explains key terms and concepts, including that of making a charitable bequest. Most planned gifts, or legacy gifts, are the result of a bequest under a will, and many Presbyterian churches have been the grateful beneficiaries.
The Foundation’s Estate Planning Worksheet is an information gathering vehicle that allows individuals or couples to get organized prior to a visit to the attorney’s office, and our Personal Record Book tells family members where important documents and information are located. These and other publications are available at no cost on our website, PresbyterianFoundation.org.
And please don’t forget to reach out to your Ministry Relations Officer. We are available and eager to support you in all areas of your funds ministry.
Sherry Hester Kenney
Acts of Faith – A Wills Emphasis Story
First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Michigan, like many churches, has a history of encouraging its members to give. Pastors, associate pastors, elders, and lay people have testified as to what God and His church mean to them, and encouraged good stewardship. Sometimes the results are evident immediately in increased pledges to a particular campaign. Sometimes the results are not known for years.
John and Susan Baker* had been members at First Presbyterian since 1974. They were quiet, faithful attenders, but never big givers. They lived frugally, liked to travel, and had no children. Susan passed away first, leaving John a widower. When John passed in March 2013, one of his nieces mentioned that John and Susan had remembered the church in their will. Six months later, the church was pleasantly surprised to learn that they had left 30% of their estate, or $427,000 to First Presbyterian.
As we testify, as we demonstrate our own stewardship, and as we challenge others, we may not know the impact that we have. Our efforts may bear fruit years, or even decades, later.
*To protect anonymity, the actual names have been changed.
Don’t Miss 2016 Stewardship Kaleidoscope
By 2020, donors under 40 will give nearly $100 billion dollars to the nonprofit sector. But these young donors or millennials are unlike any generation to date. Are you ready to engage them? Age and Generosity: Why a One-Size-Fits-All Stewardship Program Doesn’t Work, and How to Fix It is just one of many workshops at the 2016 Stewardship Kaleidoscope in San Antonio, Feb. 29 to March 2. In this workshop, Karl Travis, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, will compare and contrast the generosity inspirations of each living generation and explore elements of a stewardship effort which speaks to all, no matter their birth year.
Stewardship Kaleidoscope is a conference for Presbyterians and offers real tools for real ministry. With more than 34 workshops and presentations, Kaleidoscope offers opportunities to learn and share ways to create a giving spirit in your church community. The Presbyterian Foundation and New Covenant Trust Company are premier ambassador sponsors and have staff members leading the following workshops:
- Asset-Based Stewardship for the Small Congregation
- Creating a Culture of Generosity
- Endowments 101
- Stewardship and Philanthropy in Multiracial and Multicultural Communities
- Practical Planned Giving 101
- Fostering Generosity as a Spiritual Discipline
- What Does an Effective Generosity Team Look Like
- Electronic Giving: The Tools
- Planned Giving: 25 Ideas to Get You to the Next Level
- Courageous Generosity Leadership – The Pastor’s Role
- Legacy Gifts: Making a Difference … Forever!
- Donor-Advised Funds – What Stewardship Leaders Should Know
- Transformation of Congregational Stewardship: A Real-Life Example
- Narrative Budgets: Making the Transition from Line Items to Changed Lives
The Ministry Toolbox has a multitude of resources to build and strengthen your stewardship program