Stewardship 2017: Grow 1%

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What do we mean by “Grow 1%?”

The Pastors and Leaders of PCOL are challenging our congregation to consider giving an additional one percent of their total income next year. It’s important to understand that concept – since we don’t mean just increasing your current charitable giving by 1%, but by giving away an additional 1% of your total household income – there’s quite a big difference! We’ll explain it further below, and here’s a chart that makes it clear – but first…why are we challenging the congregation to grow in this way?

What is spiritual health?

It’s your doctor’s job to encourage you in your physical health – by doing some very tangible things, like eating well and exercising. It’s also important that he or she takes accurate measurements of how healthy you are by, for example, taking your blood pressure and testing your cholesterol. In the same way, there are some very tangible ways that we can increase, and measure, our spiritual health.

How does one measure spiritual health?

Giving is a way that we measure, and grow, in our spiritual experience – our experience of Christ as a gracious presence in our life. People who give often feel that they are better able to experience generosity, blessing and purposefulness in their life. Paul, in his second letter to the church in Corinth, encourages his flock in this experience when he writes, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7) We experience God’s love through our giving!

What is one primary Biblical guideline for spiritual health?

Just as your physician is trying to get your blood pressure to the optimal numbers – 120 over 80 – there is an optimal biblical measure for our spiritual life related to our giving: tithing. Tithing is the spiritual discipline of giving away 10% of our income to causes outside our family’s needs. That may seem like a difficult standard – perhaps as difficult as losing 20 pounds or getting our cholesterol under control. But those who do reach that standard report that it’s something that greatly enhances their sense of spiritual wholeness, and joyfulness.

This year, we’re encouraging people to give not because of the church’s needs, but because we need to give.

Does that mean the church has less need? By no means! This as critical a year as ever. We need to be very generous if we are to maintain the amazing ministry we’re doing, and our important mission to each other and our community. We’re at a critical juncture with our plans to create a new community center (now called The Community Well). But we want to say – that’s not primarily why we should give. We should give because it’s a deep spiritual discipline that enables us to grow in Christ.

So – what does it mean to grow 1%?

Here’s a chart that makes it clear!

We are encouraging our congregation to grow 1% toward the biblical standard of a tithe – giving away 10%. Some of us are already doing that! But if not, here’s what we’d ask you to do…let’s have some fun with math! First, calculate one percent of your total household income, and add that to the giving that you are doing this year. So, as an example, if my income is $60,000, one percent of that is $600. Growing one percent would mean adding $600 next year to what you are giving this year. If I’m giving $2,400 this year, it would mean giving $3,000 next year. That would mean moving from a giving level of 4% to a giving level of 5% of your total household income – moving you toward the ultimate goal of a tithe.

Do I need to give all of this additional giving to the church?

We certainly hope this will increase your gift to the church – since the total amount we receive indicates the spiritual health of our congregation as a whole. But the point is simply to give it away – to causes that are about the Kingdom of God: Crisis Ministry, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen – what is close to your heart? The point is to grow spiritually through your giving! But keep in mind that we give collectively to many community causes, and increased giving will enable us to give more.

Questions? Please buttonhole one of your Session Members, or a member of our Pastoral Staff. We hope you will join them in this challenge – as we seek to “Grow 1%”.

Please join us for Consecration Sunday on November 6. We will all consecrate – that is, dedicate to God – our gifts in worship. If you want to make your pledge now, online, please click the on-line pledge form below. And here is a helpful video if you’d like to use your bank to set up automatic on-line giving.

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