The vast majority of churches move ahead in their mission based on current cash reserves and “promises” (pledges) from their donors. For most churches, this involves a “tithe” (an Old Testament term), usually stated as 10% of gross income. A commitment to fund ministry at a consistent and known level as a year proceeds gives the church the ability to plan for the year’s work and to lay out expenditures with the knowledge that God will provide, through His people, for those expenses when they arrive. As you think about pledging and being a regular giver to the work of God’s church, please read 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, to get a solid view of Biblical principles related to stewardship.
At Xenos, pledging is what allows our church to do the same. A key purpose of pledges is to allow the church’s managers to plan for work and know it can be done, not worrying about making contingent plans if funding was to fail. Having to run through multiple worst-case scenarios would inject incredible inefficiency in our work and hinder a long-term view of kingdom work. And we have had to take such steps in the past when our giving was not as stable as it has become from implementing pledging and reporting back to people on their progress.
The model at Xenos to start pledging at 5% of gross income (with first-time pledgers able to start at 3% if they need) and then grow in giving is designed to allow for individual households to give to other ministry God puts on their hearts. We want people to be free to support missionaries one-to-one, not buried within the larger church-wide budget. We also want people to be able to support other Christian ministries, such as local and international programs addressing poverty and other programs where God uniquely calls us to give.
If we rely on giving when “the spirit moves us” or when we have extra funds to give to the church’s work, chances are that we won’t give regularly or generously. We learned this in the “old days” of our church when we did not make calls to give and did not do more than have a (passive) wooden box at the back of the room for people to give the occasional donation. We learned that our lack of celebration of financial stewardship and call to regularity in giving based on a pledge was not biblical. We want people who come to Xenos to know the blessing of being a blessing in the realm of giving back from what God has put in our hands.
We provide multiple ways to pledge. A great way to make sure your pledge gets to Xenos is to use the on-line portal http://xenos.org/give/pledge. There are also pledge cards available at CTs at every Welcome Booth. You can e-mail Alan Burkholder (BurkholderA@Xenos.org) with your intentions. We want to make it easy for you to let the church know you are behind the work we are engaged in.
We also encourage anyone who gives to the church to sign up for EFT (electronic funds transfer) from your bank account. Giving can also be done with cash, check, credit card or even gifts of stock. There are bank costs for each transaction and staff costs for posting and reconciling each gift. EFT has the lowest transaction cost while credit card transactions have the highest (depending on the amount charged, smaller transaction actually have a higher percentage going towards fees).
Please indicate your pledge by Monday, February 23rd. At that time, the church budget for 2015 will be finalized.