At the Northern Province Synod in June, many great ideas were put forth to enhance and improve the church’s mission and ministry. The Synod considered (and in many cases approved) these dreams for the future, recognizing that a body with no dreams is a dying body.
But most of these dreams and ideas will require funding — funding not in the Provincial budget nor part of the support that comes from congregations. Over the coming years, the Province will be open to exploring new ways to fund ministry and welcomes ideas from its members.
While tapping reserves is an option, relying solely on those reserves to fund new ministry will cause them to be quickly depleted. The Province’s Finance Committee suggests another funding source, one that has actually been around for many years — the Faith Gift.
A Faith Gift is an amount a congregation chooses to give to support the Northern Province operating budget above and beyond their calculated common ministries commitment.
In a sermon to the Northern Province Synod, the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler shared a list of what Jesus tells us to do in the New Testament. One of them — “give more than what’s asked for. Yes, give the second coat, go the extra mile,” sums up the Faith Gift idea. Through Faith Gifts, congregations can live out that command while helping to enhance the ministry of the Province.
Faith Gifts are most beneficial when not tied to a specific project or ministry. Offering additional unrestricted funds allows the Province to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
And Faith Gifts aren’t just for congregations. Individuals can make Faith Gifts to their congregations or directly to the Province. Consider a small increase in your overall giving at your church, specified as a faith gift. Perhaps a windfall or a stroke of luck — finding coins on the street, a successful yard sale, an unexpected refund — could be turned into a gift for ministry. Collecting your spare change can result in a substantial amount over the course of a year. Can part of that bonus at work or a raise in pay go to help the overall church?
This fall, the Northern Province Finance Committee will be sharing more information about the importance of Faith Gifts and challenging congregations to consider helping to fund new ministries. While dollars are tight on many fronts, congregations’ creativity and generosity can help the Province fulfill its mission.
As you consider your giving plan for the coming years, consider “going that extra mile.” That increased individual and congregational support can help the church do more.