The Importance of Stewardship
This year’s stewardship campaign is “generations of generosity,” where we acknowledge the generations of the past, and profess our hopes and dreams for future generations. Without the committed giving in the past 10, 20 or 50 years, Foothills could not be where it is today, much less starting up a new Church in Otay Ranch. The tree in the narthex is filled with exceptional ideas of what we want to be in the year 2020; our collective 20/20 vision. I’ve worn glasses ever since I can remember because I do not have 20/20 vision. I knew when I was 4 years old and just learning to tell time, when “telling time” was being able to say “the big hand is on the 4 and the little hand is on the 2.” One day my parents said: “Kenny, go in the kitchen and tell us what time it is.” I ran into the kitchen and when I didn’t come back right away, they looked in to see me climbing up on the counter to stand a few feet from the clock on the wall. They looked at each other and said, I think we need to take Kenny to the eye doctor for some glasses. And I’ve worn glasses ever since.
Even with glasses, I do not have 20/20 vision. And in my role as Finance Chair, you know what I have? I have 2012 and 2013 vision. For the last few years our budgets have been flat at around $1.2M, and 75% of our income (or $900,000) comes from pledged giving. This year our pledges have been inconsistent. We fell behind in the spring, then improved during summer months, but our most recent offerings have again fallen off. The consequences are that currently we have a shortfall of $50,000. But this is not uncharted territory. I am confident we can balance our budget again this year because Foothills is a generous community. Every year we prove that generosity by making our commitments, not only with the giving of our talents and pledges, but with our ability to raise funds for special projects like the new roof last year and the new kindergarten this year.
For the 2013 campaign, I challenge Foothills to meet or exceed the $900,000 pledge level. And for the following years, to annually exceed the $1M mark. We have nearly 450 generous families who will take up that challenge. Let me put the $1M goal in perspective, if each family were to give $5 more per week, pledged income would increase by $115,000. That’s like sacrificing two Starbucks Skinny latte machiatto venti frappes per week; or one round of golf every quarter, or once a year (depending on what courses you play).
I want to say, “we can easily make up $50,000 in pledges and we can easily increase income by $100,000 next year.” But it’s not easy. It takes discipline to pack a lunch every day before work, instead of eating in the cafeteria. It takes dedication to finish off the leftovers, instead of going out to dinner. And it takes commitment to then allocate more of your family’s pie to our church family. There are two easy steps to take if you haven’t done so already: One is to sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer and the other is to register online for the E-scrip program. If you are not familiar with these programs, please see Sheri Etter in the church office.
It is our responsibility to carry Foothills into the year 2020. And we do that one year at a time, with intention, planning, budgeting and prayer. Within our stewardship campaign we recognize and celebrate the generation who came before us. Those who helped build the foundation of Foothills UMC: A foundation of faith, family and community. We also look to the future and the challenge to create an even stronger and more generous church for our children and grandchildren. Thank you for taking up that challenge.