Money. The very word evokes emotion doesn’t it? Some sort of reaction? That’s especially true when we talk about money in church. On one hand our society’s culture worships money and material things, but on the other hand it somehow seems almost offensive to talk about it. At Miami Beach Community Church, we are learning to have healthy attitudes about money. We are learning that it is both a tool to accomplish God’s plan of bringing God’s way of doing things to earth, and at the same time a barometer of our own deepest values.
One thing almost everyone can agree on when it comes to money is that it’s important to think carefully about it and plan carefully for its wise use. At MBCC, our budgeting giving for 2016 was $104,000. If we look at our average attendance of approximately 125 per week, and our projected giving, that means each attendee gives $16 per week. At that level of giving, even after considering our investment income, we have a deficit of about $500,000.
Of course, these are averages, presented so you know what it takes to operate our church. In our Christian tradition, we can look at the wisdom of Scripture over time and see that generosity in God’s people should be highly valued. Also highly valued is fairness. Christians, and before us Jews, have found the wisdom of “fair-share” giving based on a percentage of their income. In that wisdom, generosity is stimulated and all economic levels participate in the Community. Our tradition’s wisdom is that 10% of your income devoted to generosity is your “fair share”. So, where are you in comparison to that wise standard? Can I ask you to take a close look at your spending and giving related to your own income over the last year and do some simple math? What percentage of your income did you give away? How much does your checkbook say you value generosity and meeting the needs of others?
What can you do this year to move your own giving to MBCC closer to the 10% “fair share” mark? Of course, generosity has to be practiced cheerfully or it isn’t generosity. So, take a look at where you are now, and consider what it would do for your spiritual life to push the needle up a bit more towards that 10% mark. Make that one of your goals in an overall plan to be generous, be a good citizen and take good care of your family over the long term.
For planning purposes, I am asking you to complete a Generosity Form so as a Board we can carefully plan for 2018. I look forward to hearing some stories of what an increased practice of generosity will do in your life!
In God’s love,