Why Support Your Local Church?
November 13, 2018 by Rev. David Wright
Editor's note: This piece was reprinted with permission from The Broadcaster, Westminster Presbyterian Church‘s newsletter. The church is located in Westminster, Colorado. Our thanks to the author for allowing us to repost it.
As our church heads into the fall Stewardship season, I like to think about the reasons why it makes sense or doesn't make sense to give money to your church. Each of us have many wonderful places that we can put our hard-earned dollars to use, whether they be choices of charitable giving or just for our own benefit or savings. So as you consider whether or not to give to support your church for this coming year, consider these arguments.
Why Not to Support Your Church:
1. You expect to get something in return. The Church of Jesus Christ is for everyone's benefit, not just for the few. And as we as a church utilize our resources of time, energy and money, we are conscientious in that we strive not to make leadership choices that will steer the church's ministry only for our own selfish benefit but choices that benefit everyone. The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ calls us to serve beyond ourselves. When we become a social club for our members, we cease to be the Church.
2. To satisfy a sense of obligation and avoid shame and guilt. God loves a joyful giver. When we choose to give to the ministry of our church we have the opportunity to share in that joy. It is our privilege and joy to participate in Christ's ministry, not merely our duty. There is a reason churches don't charge a membership fee: we believe that church membership should be open to everyone regardless of means. And when we give to the ministry we share, we give out of thanksgiving and joy.
3. Because you are afraid the church will die otherwise. Though we as a congregation take great pride both in the heritage of our congregation and our church building, it would be vain for us to believe that God could not continue in ministry without this church and its building. But we also have faith that God continues to use our congregation and our physical plant to engage in vital ministries centered in our own neighborhood. Westminster Presbyterian Church is not dying. Far from it. In addition to the engagement of a healthy membership that is more than the average membership of churches both in our denomination and our Presbytery, hundreds of community members use and rely on our church every single month.
Why to Support Your Church:
1. You believe in its mission. Do you want to have a church that continues to serve as a neighborhood center and a beacon of the love of God for hundreds of local residents? Then contribute to your local church. Do you care that we prioritize worshiping God together, growing in our faith, and participating in the community life of our neighborhood? Then participate in your local church! We as a church thrive when you believe in what we are called to do: “Making Disciples by Celebrating the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
2. You wish to invest in our future. One of the most fun things for me to think about as your Pastor is what could we be doing next as a church. Whether it is new outreach opportunities, partnerships, ministry programs, or improvements to our building, usually the only barrier between what we could be doing next from where we are now is merely financial. It's fun to brainstorm our future as we pray to God to show us where to go next. But do you know what makes that kind of forward-looking possible? The faithfulness of many generations of good Presbyterians who believed in our church, not just for what we can do today but also what we could be doing tomorrow if we invest in what we believe.
3. You are thankful to God for your church. If you ask me, the single best reason to give to the church is because you are thankful. We all have so many reasons to thank God: for our health; for our family; for our work; for every new day; for his Gospel. Regardless of whether you agree with every decision your local church makes, there is a discipline to approaching your life of faith with an attitude of gratitude. Give because you are thankful to God, and because God's blessings overflowing your life can prompt no more appropriate response than the unbridled joy of generosity.
Rev. David Wright serves as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westminster, Colorado. David is a career Solo Pastor, a preacher's kid, a parent of toddlers, and an east coaster at heart who still gets hopelessly lost on Colorado’s non-contiguous streets. His ministry passions include teaching, youth ministry, accessibility, and collaborative mission.