Stewardship — to serve as one who manages another’s property, finances or other affairs — is not just means for the church to raise money. It is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God’s, and we are simply managing those resources while here on earth.
For many United Methodists, the subject of money is touchy indeed. Jesus tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive; Luke lets us know that the measure we give is the measure we’ll get back; Paul instructs us to sow generously. But we have families to raise, mortgages to pay, children to put through college. How do we reconcile the pull of the real world with the exhortations to give that we are given in scripture? The Texas Methodist Foundation offers the following tips for doing just that:
Start with prayer. Talk with God about helping you discern how to fulfill God’s purposes with your money.
What do you value? Your church? Your local food bank? The shelter for abused children in your community? Most of us could make a long list of worthy programs; the challenge is to focus that list to the top two or three causes that really mean the most to you.
If your church is not at the top of that list, ask yourself why. Are you participating enough in the life of your church community to make it meaningful to you and your family? Are there things you would change about your church that would make it more meaningful for you, your family, and the community? If so, there’s no time like the present to get more involved. A real relationship with your church makes your decision at annual stewardship time much easier.
Look at your will. Have you given careful thought to where your money will go upon your death? If your spouse, children and other family members are taken care of, it may be time to think seriously about a sizable bequest to your church or to other important nonprofit organizations.
Consider whether it’s time to make a significant gift, one from which you can derive joy for several years. Perhaps you want to endow a scholarship at a nearby Methodist seminary; maybe you would like to become a sustaining member of your favorite charity. This type of giving allows you to participate in their fruits of your generosity—you can assist in the selection of the scholarship recipient, for example, or get involved in a much-needed program at the charity you’re supporting.
As the year end approaches, our Business Office is receiving many requests for instructions on how to gift stock to St. Andrew. Many of you are finding that gifting stock is both simple and advantageous. We asked our Business Administrator, Traci Hughes, to provide the below answers to frequently asked questions about the process:
Who receives the electronic stock gifts? St. Andrew can receive electronic gifts of stock through Fidelity and Schwab. As these stock gifts come into our account, our Business Office processes same day and then confirms with you the total of your gift. Time for gifting stock can take up to 5-7 business days from start of process.
How do I start the process? To donate stock gifts please email or call Traci Hughes, Business Administrator, and let her know that you are gifting stock. We will need to know the details of the shares being gifted. In most cases, the entire transfer process can be handled between your broker and our Business Office. For access to the account details for Fidelity or Schwab, please contact Traci Hughes at 214.291.8012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the church hold onto the stock or sell it? Our policy is not to hold stock, but to liquidate it as soon as possible so that it can be used for ministry here at the church.
Are there tax benefits to giving appreciated stock? The church is unable to provide financial advice and everyone’s situation is unique. We recommend that you contact a qualified professional to discuss your personal financial situation and these types of questions.
Is the Business Office open between Christmas and New Year’s? We are closed on the 25th and the 26th to celebrate Christmas, but open again the 27th, 28th (8:30-5:00) and Friday the 29th (8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.)
As we approach Christmas and the final weeks of December, we again have a large portion of our annual operating budget still unfunded. This is not unusual due to the nature of people’s end of year giving, but it is always daunting. We trust that through God’s grace and your generosity we will be able to finish the year ahead as we have in the past.