July 1, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation
But I will be with you
All of us who have responded to a call to the ministry know that story very well, because it is our story. How could any of us have arrived where we are today, as pastors, administrators, faculty, returning students, or new students, without having become convinced we had to depend on the promise – But I will be with you.
The Rev. Donald E. Gowan, Ph.D.
Robert C. Holland Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
This quote was part of a convocation address given by Dr. Gowan at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary years ago. For the greater part of 20 years, it was displayed in the seminary’s admissions office. This promise comes from God’s call of Moses at the burning bush. As people of faith, we rely on this assurance as we engage our broken and hurting world, as we proclaim the love of God, name grace, identify hope, bind up the brokenhearted and work for justice.
So how is this connected to stewardship? Last month, while at General Assembly, I sat in on Committee 10 – Mission Coordination. I have no doubt that the commissioners and advisory delegates relied on this promise as they struggled with the troubles of our world and discerned how God was calling them to respond. As they looked for ways to fund new initiatives and continued ministries, they asked lots of questions. The Young Adult Advisory Delegates, in particular, wanted to claim ways outside of traditional funding streams to raise support through online giving and social media. At break, a minister commissioner directed them to me back in the observer seats. I told them about the Presbyterian Mission Exchange and how it provides congregations, presbyteries, synods, the General Assembly, and mission partners with the ability to receive online gifts, and provides a profile page to tell the stories of transformation to encourage support.
A website is not required to use this tool. They can easily use social media and connect people with the profile page to learn about a particular ministry and support it. They had no idea this was possible. They were truly surprised to discover that the Presbyterian Foundation has such a tool that would help them tell the story of remarkable work being done for the glory of God and invite others to invest in said ministry. They were excited that in using the Presbyterian Mission Exchange, the low fees assessed on gifts help cover the expense of its operation and support the PC(USA). More importantly, having online giving increases investment in ministry and mission. If you have not already, check out the Presbyterian Mission Exchange and encourage your session and or presbytery to become a Presbyterian Mission Exchange partner so that they can tell their story more fully and make it easy for people to give to their ministry during and outside of worship.
We rely on God’s promise “but I will be with you” as we live into the everyday work of our congregations, when we seek to respond to injustice and tragedy in our world, and when we navigate the way forward for our ministry. It is good to know tools like the Presbyterian Mission Exchange exist to support our ministry and help us tell the story of God’s love and grace.
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church makes giving more convenient
For St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Purcellville, Virginia, what began as a discussion quickly became a decision – a hearty “yes” to implementing a system of online giving through the Presbyterian Mission Exchange.
Stewardship chair Scott Ziegler's first exposure to the idea of online giving was at a stewardship conference. “An article I read from the conference talked about how old-fashioned churches were when it came to taking money,” he recalled. In today's economic climate it is almost unheard of to be restricted to cash or check. Plus, many of a younger generation do not even own a checkbook and are already accustomed to and proficient at paying their regular bills online.
St. Andrew uses online giving via a GIVE NOW button on their website's homepage. Since the feature was implemented, online donations have steadily increased. In their first two years, the church received more than $143,000 in online contributions, most from recurring gifts.
Expand your gifts for your ministry and community
The Presbyterian Mission Exchange offers a simple and easy way to raise and manage funds for your mission or ministry. This creative online solution provides resources to grow support for your mission and encourage website donations. As your trusted partner, the Presbyterian Foundation will professionally administer and safeguard the funds you raise.
The Foundation will take care of processing all online gifts, validating and reconciling transactions for you. With the Presbyterian Mission Exchange there is no need to negotiate credit card fees, purchase complicated software, reconcile gifts to your bank account, or track gifts and send acknowledgments by hand. Contact your Ministry Relations Officer to talk about the services that we can provide. Locate your officer online or call us at 800-858-6127, option 3 and we'll put you in touch.