Dear Friends in Christ,

As we move into February we are continuing with our stewardship emphasis for this winter. As you know, we are focusing on the parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 25 about a master entrusting servants with various amounts of money. The master “gives out” money and sees what the servants do with it. We are living out that parable. In January we gave out various amounts of money to the members of our congregation and now we are asking you to be creative with it. Toward the end of February we will ask people to return their profits and tell us what they did.

I’m hoping that you are having some fun with this. I’m seeing and hearing some creative ideas. It is great to see all the activity. I’m excited to be doing this, and personally I’m putting in place some things with the money I received. I think I’m going to do well!

In addition to living out this parable, we are also using these winter months to talk about other aspects of stewardship. There is one concept that I’d like to share with you. That is the concept of growth giving. The Bible calls for us to give of our finances for the work of the Kingdom. Scripture often talks about giving a tithe, giving 10%. That presents a challenge for many of us. Lutherans tend to give at a lower percentage than that, and moving up to 10% seems like a huge and impossible step.

This is where growth giving come in. A helpful approach is to figure out what percentage of your income you presently give. For example, if your income is $1000 a week and you give $10, you are giving 1%. Figure out your present giving, and then raise that one percent. That is a doable number. If you are giving 1%, raise that to 2%. If you are giving 3%, try raising that to 4%. You increase your giving in doable increments. It is a nice way to grow in our stewardship.

By the way, our congregation is doing this. We realized a few years ago that our giving to benevolence in our budget was 6%. After talking and praying about that we decided that was too low and we wanted to rise it to 10%. So each year we are raising our giving to benevolence by 1%. We have been faithfully doing this for a number of years; this year we are up to 9%. Next year we will be at 10%. We have done very well with this and we’ve done a great job of increasing our benevolence. It has worked out very well. And by the way, thank you congregation for your faithful giving that is making this possible!

Growth giving – it is a great idea. Do give it a try. And please continue to have fun with this winter’s focus on stewardship.

God Bless,
Pastor Mark

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