For us as a community: Pledges help us to plan. We
are a people committed to responsible stewardship of our financial resources.
Therefore, in order to plan well we ask one another to make a statement—a
pledge—of our commitment of support so that we can plan appropriately for 2015.
For us individually: When we pledge, we receive the
benefits and grace that come from making and fulfilling a promise. When we
pledge, we sign on for the common work of this people; we jump in and commit
ourselves to God’s purposes. We are fully part of helping Christ transform the
world, and fully part of this congregation.
Pledging a portion of our financial wealth matters for at least
three reasons. First, it is a way we give thanks to a God who is eternally
loving and giving; who is the source of all that we are and have; who has given
us not only life, but salvation. Second, it is a way we help God do God’s work.
Third, the practice of giving forms our character into one of Godly generosity.
We grow more trusting in a loving God; we grow into the fullness of what the
Lord intends for us; and we take joy in being a generous people.
What roles do our tithes and offering play in the common life of
Emmanuel has only one permanently restricted endowment from which
the earnings are restricted. We also have long term investments, most of which
are designated for a particular purpose by the donor or Bishop’s Committee. Lease
income from the preschool facility is a significant source of support for our operating
expenses; however, our own giving is by far the largest segment of Emmanuel’s ongoing
funding. We support the ministry of this congregation through our financial
How much should I pledge? What do we ask of ourselves?
There is no set amount we ask one another to pledge. It will be
different for each of us, and we invite one another to think in terms of
sacrificial giving. The essence of sacrifice in scripture is the notion of
“first fruits.” We give not the leftovers, but what’s first, that God’s
blessing might rest upon the whole thing. Sacrificial giving looks different in
different circumstances, but is best defined as a level of offering that causes
us to alter, on some level, the way we live. In other words, to make such a
commitment that we live differently as a reminder that the life given us by
Jesus is a new life. The scriptural and historic norm of sacrificial giving is
the tithe: 10% of income; given gladly. We ask that you work toward the
tithe at Emmanuel so that we all may know the joy and grace that comes from
living the tithing life. And we teach it because we think it’s pretty spectacular.
After all, God gives us everything and asks for only 10% in return!
What if I need to change my pledge after I’ve made it?
A pledge is made based on our situation at a given time. Should
that situation change, it is always appropriate to revise one’s pledge. Simply
call the office at Emmanuel and they will record your revised pledge.
What is Automatic Withdrawal?
Automatic withdrawal is an opportunity to have your pledge
electronically withdrawn from your bank account monthly. Most importantly, it
facilitates the discipline of giving our “first fruits.” Automatic withdrawal reduces volunteer time
spent processing checks and eliminates your need to remember to write the
checks. Also, Emmanuel benefits from the steady cash flow.
Can I make my contributions using my credit or debit card?
A monthly automatic withdrawal is
preferred to cash or checks. And cash or checks is preferred to credit or debit
card payments. We like to put every dollar and cent into furthering our
ministries and mission, without incurring additional fees and requiring
additional office time to process this method of payment. However, credit or
debit card payment is available via our website using PayPal.
I’m just getting started. I’ve never pledged before. The tithe is
a long ways off for me right now…
Most of us are on a giving journey. It’s something we’re learning.
If you are just getting started, congratulations! You are listening to God, and
you are finding your place in the work God is doing through this community of
faith. For those of us just getting started, we suggest a place to begin is to
pledge at least 3% of your income. We suggest 3% as a starting point because
studies have revealed that on average Americans lose track of 3% of their
income. It seems, therefore, to make sense to begin our offering to God at a
level commensurate with what we spend on ourselves without noticing it. But
here’s what’s most important: that you are getting started, and Jesus smiles
whenever we take the first step, or the next step.