This coming week LPC members and friends of the congregation will be receiving another Stewardship mailing from the church. In this final letter for the season we will be reminded of the grace of giving, the call to generosity, and the amazing things God continues to do in and through our life together. Also, we will be given a pledge card to prayerfully complete and bring to worship for Pledge Dedication Sunday on November 9. I completely and joyfully affirm all that the letter says, and Becky and I will join so many others in bringing our completed card forward on November 9. In fact, learning to tithe and embracing the discipline of thanksgiving has been a wonderful gift to Becky and me in each of our own spiritual lives and in the life of our marriage.
But your Stewardship Committee knows that not all of us give, and we know the embarrassment that Pledge Sunday can bring as our friends march dutifully forward to place their completed Pledge Cards on the table. With that in mind and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we are offering an alternative program for those who want to come forward but who don’t plan to pledge or give in any committed way.
The new program is quite simple: Download our new Non-Commitment Form, complete it, stuff it in the envelop provided in this week’s Stewardship mailing, and bring it forward on Pledge Sunday.
To assist those who will use the form, we’re offering some helps that should make it a truly e-z process. The form provides ten statements you may check that explain your non-pledging/minimal giving decision. Check all that apply, sign the form, and you’ll be ready for November 9. So, our Top Ten Reasons not to Give:
10. I don’t have the spiritual gift of giving. This adds a nice spiritual veneer to your decision not give. You may want to use this if the other categories are not so convincing.
9. They waste my money. This is an excellent excuse for not giving. I, Pastor Bill, get paid a full salary every day and can tell you stories of the hours I have wasted. Plus we sometimes make too many copies, buy more T-shirts than we need for a youth event, and definitely could buy day-old bagels for the coffee hour.
8. I already pay my taxes. Yeah, so why should you worry about educating kids in North Philadelphia or Guatemala, or helping feed hungry people in Langhorne? Let the government do what it is supposed to do.
7. They are always asking for my money. Not only once a year, but then for fighting Ebola and aiding refugees from ISIS; for sending our ninth grade kids on a Confirmation Retreat and providing a week of Vacation Bible School for our little ones. Besides, your kids may be past Vacation Bible School and Confirmation.
6. I’ll give what I can (If there’s anything smaller than a 20 in my wallet on the Sundays I am in worship). Seriously, you may be one of those who always gives when you are in worship, and there have been some Sundays when all you had was a 20 and you gave it anyway.
5. I don’t like (Please fill in the name of a staff person, mission cause, ministry program, hymn we sing too often, or other offending cause): ________________________________.This one is pretty self-explanatory. You don’t order food you don’t like off the restaurant menu, why should you pay for things or people you don’t like at church?
4. I have other financial commitments: ___Vacations ___500-channel Cable Package ___Daily Stop at Starbucks ___Lottery Tickets (but only when the Jackpot is high enough). What, does the church think you’re made of money? And, please, they should not talk to you about priorities. Let them get their own house in order first.
3. I give in other ways: ___Greet on Sunday mornings if available ___Finally Gave that Old Can of Lima Beans to the Food Pantry ___Helped in the Nursery the time they couldn’t find anyone else. Check this if you wonder, “Why this obsession with money?” You are right in thinking the church is about spiritual things, not ungodly mammon.
2. I was offended by something that happened at church in (please check all years that apply): ___1998 ___1999 ___2000 ___2001 ___2002 ___2003 ___2004 ___Other:______. Old wounds hurt the most. Of course you know all that forgiveness talk, but if they knew the details, they’d understand why you cherish this hurt so much. Check this box and any and all appropriate years – you may use the back side of the form if you need more space.
1. It’s all about me. We’ve pre-checked this one for you to save you the effort.
Oh, and just to let you know, the list was easy to come up with. I’ve thought of every one of these excuse and a thousand more myself.