Tag Archives: bills

Do you feel you’re being asked to give too much, too often?

12 May

How many of you are living paycheck to paycheck?

What do I mean by “paycheck to paycheck”?  What I mean is that you need that paycheck to keep coming in order to pay your bills.  If you don’t get that paycheck, you won’t be able to pay bills, buy groceries, etc.  Does that describe your family?  If so, your answer is “Yes” to that question.

But if you have enough savings where you can live for at least a month or more without any income, without working, without unemployment, then you would answer “no” that you are not living paycheck to paycheck.

My intent is not to shame anyone.  I know in our society there is a goal, a dream, that we should build up savings accounts and become financially independent.  But the reality is that for many of us finances can be such a struggle.

Those of you who are younger families, life is expensive with all the sports, and lots of bills, school loans, groceries, health insurance, car loans, rent or mortgages, and credit cards.

If you are an older family you might have a fixed income, lots of health bills, and life might be expensive for you too.

The reality is that we live in an amazingly prosperous society, but most people don’t feel prosperous.  Instead, for most of us, finances stress us out.  Do finances stress you out?  My hand is raised for that one.  I hate money.  I work hard to earn it, and it seems like it is gone just as fast as it comes in.

You know what that means?  When money feels tight, it is hard to be generous.

Not to mention how many people and organizations are asking for money: the sports booster club, the fire company, the fraternal order of police, the politicians, the non-profits like the Boy Scouts and local social services organizations.

And then there is the church asking you to give to mission trips, fundraisers, missionaries, the weekly regular offering, and more.

Let’s just admit it.  We churches ask a lot.  Last week at Faith Church it struck me that on one weekend we asked our church family to bring donations for the youth group Chicken BBQ, then to purchase Chicken BBQ, then to give a regular offering on Sunday morning, then to give over and above offering to the Capital campaign, and then at the end of the worship service, we asked yet again, when took up our monthly special offering for missionaries.

Frankly, as I read this, it’s embarrassing.  Essentially, last weekend we asked the family of Faith Church to give to five different needs. I’m tired of fundraising.  Are you?

We live in a day and age where so much is asked of us.  We are tired of all the requests.  We wish we could give more, and we feel guilty that we can’t.  Have you felt like that?  It is called donor fatigue, and it is real.  Has donor fatigue crept into your heart and mind?

This Sunday we finish our study through 1st Timothy, looking at what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-21.  He has some important words to say to those of us experiencing donor fatigue.  We invite you to join us at Faith Church this Sunday May 14, 2017 at 9:00 as we are going to talk about how we should view generosity in a world where finances are a struggle and many of us have a bad case of donor fatigue.

Credit Card Statement, Thank you note, Check, Letter from England – The Monday Messy Office Report – March 17, 2014

17 Mar

My Friday, tidy office is mysteriously messy by Monday.  Here’s what I found today:

1. Credit Card Statement – This came in the mail over the weekend.  Four of us staff have church credit cards, and we use them for church ministry expenses.  When we make a purchase, we keep the receipts, so that when the statement arrives, we attach the receipts to the statements, matching each purchase with a line item in the church budget.  Then we give the statement to the church treasurer, and he pays the bill.  Each month as I’m stapling receipts to the statement and scouring the church budget to find the correct line item, I think “Is the church a business or a ministry?  Or both?”  I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of the business side of the church.  I can spend a lot of time doing paperwork, financial reporting, and the like. I hear people say things like “it’s a necessary part of the church these days.”  But is it?  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

2. Thank you note – A family that lives in our church’s immediate community had a tragic accident a few months ago.  One of our Faith Church families is very close long-time friends with the community family.  So the family from our church suggested that the church take up an offering to help with aftermath of the accident.  It was an awesome idea, and I’m so proud our Church Council approved it and that our Family of Faith Church responded generously.  The community family wrote this in a thank-you card that came in the mail over the weekend: “We cannot thank you enough for the wonderful gift you have given us during this difficult time.  It is much needed and greatly appreciated.  All of the help and support we have received from not only family and friends but from people such as yourselves who do not even know us has restored our faith in humanity and reassured us that the Lord is constantly working in our lives, even at the most trying and desperate times.”  Awesome!

3. Check from sign language class – One of our Family of Faith teaches sign language classes at the church, and she dropped off a check to pay for building use.  It reminded me that we have so many groups using our church, and I’m thankful the church is willing to let the building bless people that way.  The church is not a building.  It is the people who are the church.  But our building is a gift from God, a gift that many people over the years have given lots of time and energy and money to build and maintain.  So we see our building as a tool through which God can show love to the community.  We try to offer the building to groups either free or at a minimal charge.  In addition to sign language class, we have martial arts classes, a drama ministry, ballroom dance, Girl Scouts, and an Ethiopian church using our building every week.  Many other groups use the church here and there for one-time events throughout the year. 

4. Letter from England – This one came in the mail too.  A prisoner incarcerated in England wrote me wanting to know more about the Amish.  The funny thing is that he seems to think that I am Amish. I kid you not.  I have no idea how he found out about me or why he thinks I’m Amish, except that visitors sometimes assume that about us Lancastrians.  I wonder if he found my accident story online?  I plan on writing him back. We’ll see where this goes…

Now it’s time for me to clean up!