Welcome to the season of Stewardship! What was your reaction to that statement? More often than not, people respond negatively to the idea of stewardship. I’m not sure where this comes from — unless it is residue from well-publicized monetary fraud within churches or by religious leaders. Money that was intended for God’s kingdom became money that was used for personal gain and luxury.
Prudent stewardship is using our resources wisely and remembering from whence our immense blessings flow.When it comes down to it, I guess your personal reaction to stewardship depends on the way you were raised or your previous experience with giving. It really is a matter of trust, isn’t it?
Eternal Hills has worked very diligently to be good stewards of our resources. Our elders and finance committee plan and budget frugally, and our staff spends only what is needed. We reuse, recycle, repurpose materials every day. Our staff is creative in writing and gathering curriculum and lesson materials rather than purchasing kits or expensive curriculum.
And so for the third year running, we have had money at the end of the fiscal year with which we have been able to begin rebuilding our reserves. We have had MORE THAN ENOUGH.
More Than Enough is our stewardship theme for this year. We are blessed to overflowing in so many aspects of our lives. Rarely do any of us wonder where our next meal will come from, or struggle with filling our gas tank. We throw away excess food on a daily basis, and have so many clothes we have trouble finding drawer and closet space! When we recognize our abundance the next step is to experience gratitude. And gratitude will hopefully lead to generosity.
CEH is asking for your generosity this year as we continue to be prudent in our stewardship. You should have received a letter and pledge form in the mail on Monday. You’ll also see the narrative budget, which tells the story of our congregation and the ways that we experience abundance and generosity through our church family and through the grace of God. Our narrative budget shows our “Dream Budget 2018” which includes about a 10% increase over last year’s budget. Part of this increase is that we are saving up for the new roof and new furnaces that we will certainly need to eventually replace. Some of the increase in our budget reflects a cost of living increase for our staff, as well as raises and increases in spending for some of our ministry practices.
If you have questions about this, please do not hesitate to ask Elder Matt Nixon or myself. Our Treasurer Janis Lund is also an excellent resource for information.
We are asking that you return your pledge form by Nov 12 so that we can proceed with setting our budget for the fiscal year 2018. I believe that if everyone were to increase their giving by even a small percentage, we would certainly cover the increase in our budget for the coming year.
Early next year then, we will be sending out the pledge forms for your Time and Talent. We’ll be presenting information on these opportunities each week from now through Nov. 12, so please listen with your heart to hear how God might be calling you to serve the kingdom of God at CEH in the coming year.
Peace in Christ,