Summary: This is the intro to our Stewardship month. Our theme is The Blessed Life and I've been reading and listening to a lot of Robert Morris so you will find thoughts of his scattered throughout.
Who is Blessed?
So here we are. “Money Month” 2013. For those of you who have become a part of our church family in the past year here is a little insight. 11 years ago we decided to take a different approach to dealing with finances at Cornerstone. Instead of dealing with the crisis of finances, that is harping at you every time things got tight financially in the church that instead we would teach stewardship once a year.
Because our church year ends in April we decided that would be a good month and so here we are. And so if you can handle four messages on stewardship then you get a free pass on the preacher harping at you about money for the rest of the year. As part of that process we adopted what we call “Step-up Cornerstone”. Each year, at the end of April, we ask those who make Cornerstone their church home to step out in faith and fill out an “estimate of giving” card. And just like the name implies, we ask you to estimate what you hope to give for the upcoming year. We collect those cards at the end of that service and we use that figure to plan our budget for the new church year.
And there are benefits to that, both as for the church and for you. For the church it gives us a responsible way to plan our budget for the upcoming year. For the first twenty years of my ministry the churches that I led did what most churches do. Each year the leadership would pull a budget out of the air. It was may have been based on the previous year’s budget with a small increase for additional expenses, or perhaps department heads had submitted their wish list for the upcoming year.
Often it was done by committee but realistically it wasn’t based on any knowledge of what the church income would be for that year. Often time’s churches would talk about how they were stepping out in faith. But the result was that the preacher would end up talking about money all the time challenging people to step up and pay a budget that was not rooted in reality.
In 2002 the leadership at Cornerstone decided to take a different tact. I would speak on the biblical role of stewardship for a month each year. And it’s an important topic, and it’s an important part of our spiritual lives.
And at the end of the month we allow the folks who call Cornerstone home to respond and provide an estimate of what they believe they will be able to give in the upcoming year. In affect you get to have a say in the budget and say “This is the type of church I would like to have this year.”
I think I handle the mechanics of it well; we try not to embarrass anyone or put anyone on the spot. If you don’t want to participate that is fine, although we encourage everyone to take part. And we don’t come knocking on your door if you aren’t able to give what you thought you’d be able to, we hope you will after all we have based our budget on those figures. And we provide you with updates throughout the year about where we are in relation to what was committed and where you are personally in relation to your commitment.