What does the Bible say about Stewardship?
Give without show – “Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matt.6:3).
Giving our gifts with faith in Christ; Give with regularity in proportion – St. Paul tells us, “Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him.” (I Cor. 16:2). Regular stewardship contributions are easier to manage and keep the Church and her ministries in our thoughts and plans. One way to do this is through automatically scheduled payments sent directly from your bank. In this way, we offer back to God the “first fruits” of our labor, realizing that all we possess comes from Him.
Give liberally – “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (II Cor. 9:6)
Give cheerfully – “Let everyone give as his heart tells him, neither grudgingly, nor under compulsion, for God loves the man that gives cheerfully.” (II Cor. 9:7). Consider your weekly expenditures on entertainment, coffee, etc. Keep in mind that the expenses of the Church increase every year. In order to grow our ministries and meet our expenses, stewardship contributions must also increase each year.
Giving back to God – "We thank you, our God, and praise your glorious Name ... for all things come from you and we have only given back what is yours already." (I Chronicles 29:13-14). The more we are given, the more is expected of us. Each steward should determine the percentage of their income that will be committed to Christ and His Church.
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship aids in the development and maintenance of our church and more specifically, it supports a life in Christ. It is a prayerful commitment that each and every Christian makes in order to support the church community. The burden of giving falls on all of its members. It is a personal, prayerful commitment and is the responsibility of each parishioner. Stewardship supports the Orthodox Christian practice of the consistent giving of time, talent and treasures in support of our church and in furthering the word and teachings of Christ.
What Does It Mean To Be A Steward?
According to the Bible, a Steward is one who manages the gifts entrusted to him for the perpetuation of the Lord's work.
Our money and possessions are not ours, but on loan. When we give to the Church, we return to God, the Owner, His rightful portion. The more we are given, the more that is expected of us. "Those to whom much is given, much is expected."
Each Sunday, we should prepare to make our Stewardship contribution to the Church in accordance with the Lord's generosity to us personally. Supporting the Church should be a priority for every Orthodox Christian and performed on a regular and consistent basis.
Consider how your expenditures on personal entertainment compare with your Stewardship pledge. Is your Stewardship simply a token donation? Or is your Stewardship pledge a meaningful response to Christ's request of you?
Christian Stewardship and total commitment are Orthodox! It is not just giving of our time or our talents or our treasures. It is, rather all three!
• Stewardship is koinonia ... it is fellowship ... sharing together in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
• Stewardship is diakonia ... serving Christ. Each of us has different talents, and we must offer our services and our talents to Christ.
• Stewardship is also martyria ... it is witnessing.
Christian financing is focused upon the soul and giving as we have been blessed. So, total and true Christian Stewardship is where we are aware of all three of these elements - time, talents, and treasures and giving of ourselves to do as Christ instructed us to do, to be caretakers and defenders of His Church here on earth with all of our energies and abilities.
Money Enables Ministry
Money is a necessary tool for ministry. The Church's mission of salvation and evangelism depends directly on your generosity, which supports our Parish, Diocese and Archdiocese. Our Stewardship giving supports all the Parish Ministries and the entire operating budget.
We should not continue to depend on special affairs to meet our budget. The growth of our Faith and its dissemination is our own personal responsibility. Stewardship places the responsibility where it belongs, directly upon us.
Your Stewardship is vital to our Church to ...
• Provide religious services & sacraments
• Provide religious counseling
• Continue visitations to the hospitalized and shut-ins
• Minister to the community outside of our church walls and to those in need
• Provide for those who serve us
• Maintain and repair our buildings
• Keep in touch with you
• Expand Youth, education, internet and outreach ministries
• Mortgage payments
• All church publications & mailings
• Heating & cooling - utilities
• Landscaping & Ground Maintenance
• Snow removal and lot maintenance
• 24/7 webcam
• Support the Metropolis and Archdiocese
• Support our Internet Ministry
• And so much MORE!
WHO IS INCLUDED IN THE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM?
The Stewardship pledge includes husband, wife, children and all dependents. If self-supporting members of the family over the age of 18 live with their parents, they would make their own separate pledge. For college students living at home, the age is 23. Family membership allows each Orthodox spouse voting privileges in parish matters.
WHAT WILL MY STEWARDSHIP PLEDGE COVER?
Your Stewardship Pledge will cover your annual Parish Membership commitment, but not special offerings or projects such as the Building, Iconography or Landscaping Funds, etc...
WHEN DOES THE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM BEGIN?
Our Stewardship Program for the next calendar year will begin during the month of December. At that time, all our members will be invited to pledge a percentage of their resources to do their “fair share” to support our Church for the upcoming calendar year. Payments toward the pledges will begin in January.
Members who do not make their pledge (inactive members) will be contacted by Rev. Father Nick, members of the Parish Council or the Stewardship Committee who can explain the program to them.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE TO MY CHURCH?
Your gift makes a difference, no matter the amount. Your pledge is what you decide it to be. There are no minimum amounts.
True Stewardship is giving back to Christ’s Church (for the perpetuation of God’s work) a percentage of your financial resources – in proportion to the blessings you have received.
The amount each family gives will be different, because the resources of each family are different. Give in proportion to what you have been given; but give sacrificially.
The proportion of your income you give to your Church depends upon:
- How much you love Christ and His Church.
- Your personal awareness of the needs of the Church and of the importance of the Church’s role in the world today.
- Your willingness to sacrifice.
- Your recognition that regular and sacrificial giving to your Church is a measure of your personal gratitude toward God.
It is recommended that each parishioner review the cost of operating the Church before submitting their pledge. Remember; most Greek Orthodox parishes require an average of $29 per week from each family ($1,508 annually) to maintain an Orthodox Church with active ministries. This is only a recommendation, the Saint Nicholas Stewardship program has no set minimum.
The Bible encourages tithing as a guideline for giving. Tithing is when one gives cheerfully and voluntarily 10% of one’s annual income for the glory and support of His Church. If you cannot give 10%, begin at 2 or 3% and challenge yourself to increase the percentage each year. God will honor your commitment. God will provide.
DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE MY INCOME?
HOW CONFIDENTIAL IS MY STEWARDSHIP PLEDGE?
All records are kept in the strictest confidence. Only limited persons authorized by the Parish Council have access to the Stewardship records.
HOW SHALL I PAY MY STEWARDSHIP PLEDGE?
In the manner that you choose. Weekly or monthly offerings are suggested because it is easier to manage small, regular contributions rather than large accumulated amounts. It is also easier for the Parish to plan its budget if the income is regular throughout the year.
Electronic Funds Transfer
We are capable of offering automatic Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to allow you to contribute to your Stewardship pledge on a daily, weekly or monthly basis directly from either your checking or savings account.
Donations can be made here using PayPal. PayPal can be used with or without an account. All major credit cards are excepted at PayPal, so your options are not limited. PayPal's systems are secure and will not reveal any credit card or checking account information to anybody (not even the church.) We, as a Church, are a non-profit organization and we enjoy a tax-exempt status. Therefore, your donations are tax-deductible. This organization is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. If you would like to pay your stewardship online, please click here.
SHOULD I INCREASE MY PLEDGE OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR?
The Saint Nicholas Stewardship Program should cover the entire annual operating budget of the Church. This is our challenge. It should be the goal of each parishioner to give a portion of their blessings to meet this challenge.
Decide what you will give; then increase that amount by $29 per month. If you give $29 more each month, it will probably be a small sacrifice to your family. But, $29 more per month from each family would make a great difference in the life of The Saint Nicholas Church. Youth, education and outreach ministries could be greatly expanded.
WHAT IF I DID NOT MEET MY PREVIOUS PLEDGE?
All pledges should be paid in full for the good of the Church. You must fulfill your pledges to maintain an active membership in The Saint Nicholas Parish. However, a parishioner with difficult circumstances may at any time privately contact the Parish Priest to lower or discontinue his pledge until circumstances allow him to resume his original pledge.
HOW MUCH DO OTHER PEOPLE GIVE IN FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP?
Thankfully, many of our stewards recognize the financial needs of an active parish. Many of our families regularly pledge $29 to $139 or more per week in Stewardship so that our Saint Nicholas Parish can strive for excellence.
Considering your financial resources, are you giving your “fair share” to Stewardship? Remember, it requires an average of $29 per family per week to operate a healthy Orthodox parish. Some people cannot give $29 per week; but many more people can give $29 or MUCH more.
ARE YOU GIVING IN PROPORTION TO THE BLESSINGS YOU HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD?
Stewardship is giving back to God!
Become a Steward of Saint Nicholas today!
Our Saint Nicholas community enjoys many blessings. Our clergy, Bible studies, youth groups, Outreach and Evangelism Committee, AHEPA, Philoptochos, chanters and choirs barely begin to scratch the surface of the many programs our stewards and clergy provide and continuously work to improve. Your stewardship provides the foundation for these parish ministries. Please fill out your Stewardship Pledge Card today!
Stewardship is an opportunity to examine our priorities and values, express our thankfulness and grow in grace. Please take time to make your Stewardship commitment today. Come and see what we can do together with your support.
Orthodox Christians who are interested in becoming members of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are encouraged to:
- Come to church.
- Meet with the Priest.
- Complete and submit a Stewardship Pledge Card.
- Get involved in the ministries of the parish.
Come to Church
Visit the parish, how we worship, the feel of the church building, the parishioners. The first step of becoming a member of any church is to build a habit of regular church attendance.
Meet With our Priest
It is a good practice to meet the Priest of a parish when you visit or join, whether or not you intend to go to them for Confession or counsel. It is important for you and your Priest to know each other. This can be done at coffee hour on any typical Sunday, or after other services. In addition and most preferable you can set up an appointment by contacting the church office.
Complete and Submit a Stewardship Card
Stewardship is an important aspect of the Christian life. Submitting a Stewardship Pledge Card to your local parish shows your intention and commitment. Also, according to the regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, a person must have a current stewardship card on file in order to be considered a member in good standing. Members in good standing may be nominated for Parish Council, be a sponsor at a baptism or wedding and vote at parish assemblies. Stewardship Pledge Cards are available 24/7 online or year round in the narthex and also by contacting the church office.
Part of one’s Stewardship commitment is sacrificing time and talents to God through service to the local parish. It is also the way in which meaningful relationships are forged and we receive grace from God for everything we give. There are many opportunities at Saint Nicholas including singing in the choir, visiting the elderly, giving rides to other parishioners, helping maintain the landscaping, teaching Church School and much, much more! Please see the Ministries page for a list of current ministries or speak to a member of the parish council.
In Addition To My Financial Commitment How Else May I Help My Church?
The Saint Nicholas community offers many areas of service and parishioners are most urgently asked to commit their talent and time. Only through involvement does the life fo the Parish become more meaningful. If you have any professional or occupational skill that you would like to offer to the Church on a volunteer basis, please contact the Clergy, or any member of the Parish Council or Stewardship Committee. You should also fill out the back of your stewardship card.
Commitment of Faith - Yes! I want to support God’s work through my Church of St Nicholas.
Here is my Commitment of Faith for the year 2016, representing my best efforts to return to God a portion of that which belongs to Him. Please fill out your Stewardship Pledge Card today! If you would like to pay your stewardship online, please click here. Thank you for your support!
We are Called to Bear Fruit
At the Last Supper, as we read in Chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, Jesus instructed His disciples, “I Am the Vine; you are the branches.” He was telling us that the purpose of our abiding in Him is that we may bear fruit for God in the world. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit…” (John 15:8). Just as the vine bears fruit only through its branches, so Jesus has chosen to work in the world through us. We are the members of His Body. We are the branches through which the True Vine must bear fruit. We bear fruit when we serve and support God and His Church.
How Do We Abide in Jesus?
We abide in Jesus Christ when follow His example and love, serve and support the Church which is His Body. When we abide in Christ, we express this through generosity and devotion, especially in our financial stewardship and acts of personal generosity. Bearing fruit in the world is the visible result of our abiding in Christ.
Are You Connected to the True Vine?
As branches of the vine, we keep ourselves spiritually healthy by maintaining our connection to the True Vine which is Jesus Christ. We do this through prayer, fasting, worship, participation in the sacraments, good works, as well as by avoiding destructive behavior, divisiveness and gossip. When we connect ourselves to Jesus, His life will flow through us and we will bear good fruit.
Are You Bearing Fruit?
We all know the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand in the wilderness — there was no food, except for one boy who had five loaves and two fish – not much when you consider 5000 men. But Jesus blessed the loaves, multiplied them and used them to feed the 5000.
That boy did his best with what he had. And Jesus used it to perform a beautiful miracle.
Just like the boy who offered his five loaves and two fish, we offer what we have – however great or small our gift. If we do this prayerfully and in humility, God will take our gifts and multiply them in order to feed His people.
The Local Body of Christ
In the Divine Liturgy, the bishop prays that the Lord will visit and confirm the vineyard which is the parish, the local Body of Christ, which the Lord planted with His own right hand (Ps 79:15-16).
He Provides that We May Bear Fruit
Saint John Chrysostom emphasized Christ’s continual presence with us — the True Vine that is always connected to the branches giving them life. Christ shows His great love for us by “remaining continually with those who shall bring forth fruit; for it is needful to enjoy His aid and so to bear fruit” (Homily 77 on the Gospel of Saint John). Christ, in His great love for us, has joined Himself to us and offers us all that we need to bear good fruit that will lead us and others to salvation.
The Vine also Needs the Branches
The branches need the Vine for life but the Vine also needs the branches in order to bear fruit in the world. We are His hands, His feet, His mouth.
Helping Others to Connect
Our task as branches of the True Vine is to see Stewardship as a way of life, and to help others to better understand its true meaning. We all have influence over others in our life. Everything we say or do has an effect – it either helps or it hurts.
When we help others to strengthen their connection to the True Vine, we help them to bridge the gap between liturgy and life, between the love of Jesus on the cross and our daily lives, between our beautiful theology and the practical stewardship to which we are called.
Jesus Christ took on human flesh in order to reunify us to Him and to each other. Our true nature is “we” not “I.” We are parts of a far greater whole. This is why we were created. This is why Jesus came into the world. This is why we unite ourselves to each other in the Church. This is why we give ourselves to Christ and to each other through the Eucharist. This is “who we are” “We” are the branches of the True Vine.