How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Christian Formation
The Christian Formation Ministry helps us to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, increase our faith and grow in a continuous conversion. There are opportunities for parishioners of all ages to learn and a variety of ways to be
involved. Anyone can take part in Christian Formation as a participant in a lecture or class or by volunteering as a Sunday School teacher or assistant and cultivating a young person’s spiritual formation.
Children’s Formation: There are typically three Sunday School classes for children from preschool to 5th grade. The church pays for curriculum and supplies. There is a supply of supplementary books, which needs to be updated. We have a paid part-time director and nine Sunday School volunteer teachers who rotate Sundays.
Children’s Chapel is offered during the 10:30 am service for children age 2 through 3rd grade. The focus is on the same readings as the adult service, with the addition of an age-appropriate game or activity and prayers. There are two volunteer adult chapel leaders in rotation, aided by youth.
Vacation Bible School is a shared ministry of Christ Church and Grace Lutheran Church which has been
offered for over 30 years. We share leadership, teachers, volunteers and costs. VBS is for our children in the parish, but it is also a huge community outreach, welcoming children from the community at no cost. In 2023, we used a curriculum which cost our church $5,000 in 2020, but was not used because of the pandemic. We will need to include at least $6,000 for 2024 VBS in our upcoming budget.
Each year, there are some special programs for children, such as Advent wreath-making, the Christmas pageant and the Christmas procession, pretzel making during Lent, community-focused activities, etc. Donations of time and money from volunteers make these activities possible. We are grateful to the teachers and volunteers who donate their time, money and resources. More volunteers are needed however, and we will need to increase the budget for 2024 to cover the costs of additional books, equipment with wi-fi capabilities, and curriculum for Vacation Bible School.
Adult Formation: There are many programs available for adults in their journey of faith—from Adult Forum on Sundays at 9:30 am to just about one gathering each day of the week, including a virtual bible study. Typically, participants purchase their own books for the adult classes, but there are other costs associated with these programs, such as time spent by clergy reviewing and preparing for the classes.
Other costs incurred for Christian Formation are payroll for time spent by staff communicating and scheduling, as well as ordering supplies and paying bills. We need space for meetings and classes, so costs associated with the buildings, maintenance, and equipment are also part of the budget. Technology to communicate and connect, such as Zoom classes, has been made a necessity in recent years, and it is an ongoing technical and financial challenge.
Closely linked to Worship & Music and Parish Life, Christian Formation is a large part of the body of our church and is an investment in our increase in faith. Giving to the glory of God in service of Church supports this growth of spirit and community, and shapes the future as we teach our children and youth.
Each fall, we have a stewardship campaign and ask you to make a pledge to Christ Church for the next year. These pledges provide the groundwork for funding all our programs and ministries in the coming year. As much as we are thankful for any gifts given to the church, we cannot use unpledged giving in our planning and budget. That is why pledges are so important.
To understand pledging better as we look forward to our stewardship campaign, we think the following questions and answers might be helpful:
What is a pledge?
A pledge is a commitment to give to Christ Church in the year ahead. The pledge card asks you to think and pray about what you are called to give, and then to communicate that amount by filling out the card. Your pledge helps us figure out what the parish can do and budget for in the year ahead. By giving, we live out our commitment to “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 856)
Is my pledge a binding contract?
No, a pledge is a statement of intent, not a contract. It’s an estimate of giving, made in good faith. It’s not like paying a tax, membership dues, or a mortgage. If your finances change where you cannot maintain your pledge, just simply advise the church bookkeeper that you wish to modify your pledge. And, if your financial situation improves, increasing your pledge is always available!
How much should I pledge?
That decision is always yours, hopefully after prayerful consideration. It’s helpful to think about your pledge in terms of a proportion or percentage of your annual income. Some people calculate an amount like one hour’s income per week, or one day’s income per month. A chart that shows proportional giving at different income levels is below.
How do I make a pledge?
Pledge cards are mailed to everyone. You can also print one here or submit your pledge electronically. You can return your pledge card via the offering plate on Sunday, at the Church Office, or mail it to the Bookkeeper. Instructions are on the back of the card!
Is my pledge confidential?
Yes, only the church bookkeeper knows the amount of individual pledges. Quarterly statements are available upon request.
If I pledged last year, do I need to fill out a card again?
Yes; we base our budget on the amounts people pledge specifically for the next year, and don’t simply assume your pledge will continue. Filling out a card every year is a way to reflect on your commitment and what you want it to look like in the year ahead.
How do I fulfill my pledge?
You will receive a set of envelopes for checks, which you can drop in the offering plate on Sundays, or mail to the church office. If you’d like to set up electronic bill pay for your pledge, call our bookkeeper to learn how you can do that with your bank.
Here is a chart which shows proportional giving from 2% to 15% monthly. If you would like to use an online calculator to evaluate proportional giving options for your family, please visit: http://www.nacba.net/documents/tithe.htm