A key value of ours is GENEROSITY: our willingness to give away, to live selflessly, to love, to bless all for the sake of the Kingdom. Part of our generosity is about our money.
This Lent, we are intentionally praying and seeking what it means as individuals and as a church family to be generous: On Sunday 7th April we hold a gift day. In the run up to this, we invite and encourage you to pray about your financial giving.
This guide offers some thoughts to help you in your prayers.
Our unique adventure here in the heart of Clarendon Park continues… and we are excited!
We are excited by all that God is doing, by all he is leading us into. We seek to build our church to be:
The family of God on mission seeking to transform Clarendon Park and beyond with the love and power of Jesus Christ!
We are seeking an explosion of life, love, friendship, prayer, evangelism, creativity, hospitality, compassion and worship here at the heart of Clarendon Park – in short, we are seeking to become a people filled with His presence and his life.
We are excited by the signs of life and growth we have seen and are seeing as people come to faith, experience God’s presence and find a place of belonging and purpose. These early signs are like the first green shoots that cause us to imagine what could be…
Imagine a church which children and teenagers love being part of. Imagine a church which raises children up to be Christian leaders now and in the future. Imagine a church buzzing with students and young adults. Imagine a church where the elderly, single and marginalised find friendship, belonging and purpose. Imagine a church that the non-religious are drawn to because it breaks their pre-conceptions of church. Imagine a church which is a family of people continually growing in their intimacy with Jesus.
Imagine a church that in time resources and plants other churches and missional communities. Imagine a church partnering with St John’s School changing lives and transforming families through Christian Education. Imagine a church that is a life-filled community at the heart of a community, changing the culture of a whole area.
Imagine if St John’s was that church!
As we work out this sense of purpose, we focus on some key and tangible areas of mission and ministry, including developing our services or worship focused around key life-stages and age groups, developing Alpha and missional small groups, developing excellent work with kids, youth, families and schools and so on. And in time it is our vision to plant churches and mission shaped communities. And of course, this year we plan to make some changes to our buildings including replacing pews with chairs and upgrading our power supply.
This is a vision that everyone is a part of – its not a vision for clergy or paid staff to implement on our behalf, but a vision for us as a whole community and as individuals. A key enabler for our vision is finance. We are a community in which everyone is involved which means everyone prays, everyone serves, and everyone gives.
We encourage every person who is part of St John’s to give regularly. How much you give isn’t what’s important – what’s important is that we have generous hearts. We must each work out what being generous means for us whether that’s giving just a few pounds or giving a lot. Whatever we give, even just a few pounds a month really makes a difference.
The Bible and Giving
We have a radically generous God!
Our generosity starts with God. ‘God so loved the world that he gave…’ begins one of the most famous verses of the Bible (John 3:16). Our giving is a response to the radical love and generosity of God; it is an expression of our worship. Our prayer is that we all enter more deeply and fully into an ever-deeper experience of the love, mercy, grace and transforming power of God that is ours through Jesus and that as we do so, we become filled with his love for others and a desire to be generous.
The apostle Paul encourages the Corinthian church ‘to excel in the grace of giving’ (2 Cor 8:7). The New Testament offers lots of guidance on this: We are called to give:
from the heart, ‘cheerfully’, willingly and joyfully, not begrudgingly or from a sense of duty.
in response to the goodness of God: ‘Freely you have received; freely give!’ (Mat 10:8).
according to our means – each person’s capacity to give will be different depending on our circumstances.
systematically and sacrificially. For many, the concept of a ‘tithe’ – giving 10% of our income is a good guide and discipline.
to God by giving to the local church.
As you pray about what to give it is helpful to read some Bible passages, begin with one or more of these: Exodus 25:1-9, John 2:1-12, Luke 6:37-38, Luke 11:1-13, Mat 6:1-4, 19-24, 25-34, Luke 18:18-30, Luke 19:1-10, Luke 21:1-4, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37, 2 Cor 8:1-15 and 2 Cor 9:6-15.
God calls us to recognise his Lordship over our lives by giving generously to his mission on earth. God uses all our gifts for his glory.
Stewarding our Finances
The majority of what we do as a church is funded by the generosity of our church members through their personal giving. Of course, as part of the Resourcing Church project we are being given a grant and some new staff members: these are ‘prime-the-pump’ investments designed to stimulate mission and ministry. Part of our Resourcing Church vision is to become financially sustainable over a six-year period. We have over 60 people who already regularly give and many others who give on an occasional basis in large and small amounts. We are so grateful for the commitment and willingness of our church family to give.
As a PCC and leadership team, we are deeply aware of our responsibility to manage our money wisely and carefully. For our church to function well and our vision to be enabled, several key areas require financial resources to operate. Below is a summary of our projected income and expenditure in 2019:
Giving – all giving including collection plate and associated gift aid.
Grant – diocesan grants for the Children and School’s Workers and the intern.
Lettings and Other – income received from lettings for both the Parish Centre and the Church.
Salaries – salary and associated employment costs (pension, training, expenses, etc.) for all staff except Priest in Charge.
Buildings and associated Running Costs – building repair and maintenance, general running costs, utility bills
Parish Gift – payment to diocese to cover stipend and housing costs of a full-time minister at St John’s.
Missional Giving – giving by St John’s towards the mission of other organisations.
Mission and ministry – on-going costs associated with running key ministry areas.
Our budget is set responsibly, and with a prayerful balance between faith and rigorous planning. To meet our budgeted commitments for 2019 and for our future vision to be realised our income needs to grow which means we need more people to give.
What should I do now?
All of us should prayerfully consider our giving from time to time – our circumstances change, and our willingness and faith levels change. We need to ask God, ‘what does generosity mean for me now?’ The most helpful form of giving is regular giving. This enables the church to plan and budget. But, one-off gifts are helpful too.
Here is how to give.
Regular Giving: Our preferred method is via the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) - a secure Direct Debit-based scheme that enables auto-recovery of gift aid. You can pick up PGS packs in church. If you already give by PGS, you can adjust your giving by contacting PGS directly (firstname.lastname@example.org, 01452 835595).
One-off Giving: The easiest way is to make payment via our website - www.sjbchurch.co.uk/giving.
Also, you can make an internet transfer (A/c 71544224, Sort-code 54-21-50) or put cash/cheques in the Sunday collection bag, completing a blue envelope (available in the pews) if you are a taxpayer.
If you have any questions about any aspect of giving to St John’s, please contact the office at email@example.com.
Jesus calls us to love God with everything we have. Let’s do it!