About First Trinity
Blessed to Be a Blessing
Questions and Answers About Our Mission Fund Program
Why are we conducting a mission fund program at this time?
We believe that God is calling us to continue to extend and expand the ministry of Jesus in this community. Washington, D.C. is growing in population with single adults and families steadily moving into the District. Look around your pew on Sunday mornings and you will see evidence of this growth and our outreach success. In the last eight years (2003-2011) we have received 86 new members wherein the previous eight years (1995-2002) we received 2. Now is the time to continue the momentum by asking everyone to participate in sharing the Gospel with our community. Our hope and prayer is that this campaign will strengthen the faith of our members and the resulting growth will enable the congregation to thrive for many years to come. We also believe that continuing to strengthen our outreach ministry will require developing a strong financial base.
What do we mean by “Blessed to be a Blessing”?
During the past several years we have followed God’s call to develop a series of outreach and mission ministries. Of particular focus has been 501 Church, a special ministry focused on people seeking a non-traditional spiritual experience. This ministry is growing. As it grows, it attracts people to our established Sunday morning congregation and other non-traditional opportunities especially young adults. We believe it is God’s work. And, we believe God is calling us to be “the hands” who continue these outreach and mission ministries.
What exactly are we planning to do?
We are planning to raise a significant amount of money to continue the mission and outreach programs and opportunities that have helped First Trinity grow, as well as make needed capital improvements. From a mission and outreach perspective, the campaign will allow First Trinity to continue to support “501 Church” through the mission development phase, as well as ensure continued support for CFLS, Lifeline Partnership, and our other major mission activities (such as domestic and international mission trips). In terms of capital improvements, the campaign will allow us to buy a baby grand piano (to replace the one we are currently borrowing from First Church) and make some minor repairs in the fellowship hall kitchen.
Why this effort is necessary now?
The growth in membership and mission opportunities we have experienced over the past eight years reflects, in large part, the blessing of having 2 pastors. We have supported the salaries of two pastors with help from a reserve fund (the Powell Fund) which was donated for the express purpose of conducting outreach activities . The lifespan of the reserve fund was extended when First Church began renting space in our building, and we were able to reduce the amount of money we transferred from the reserve fund to the annual budget. However, First Church will be moving into their new building by December, and the reserve fund will be exhausted at the end of 2011. Funds from the Mission Campaign will allow us build on our recent momentum, and replenish the reserve fund so we can continue to staff and expand our outreach ministries and make a number of needed capital improvements.
But, don’t our members already contribute generously?
Yes, they do. Member giving makes up the largest share of our income. In 2011 it will total about $300,000 or about 60% of our income. (We also receive income from the Hostel Ministry, Memorials and Reimbursements.)
We are thankful for the generosity of our friends and members. They are the backbone of our financial health.
So, is this just about raising money?
No, it isn’t just about raising money. The spiritual goals for this program are to increase the awareness of God’s grace and blessing to this congregation and to our community, and to invite growth in faithful discipleship.
At the same time we really hope that over a three-year period we can raise enough money to continue funding our ministries and presence at current levels for the next five years. We are seeking gifts and pledges totaling at least $500,000 through the “Blessed to be a Blessing” program.
Is this a realistic financial goal?
Given the size of our congregation, our resources, the pattern of generous giving established in this congregation, the generosity of many friends and former members, the careful planning that is going into this program, and our desire to move forward we believe the goal is realistic.
Over the next several weeks you will hear more details about this mission fund effort. A variety of persons from the congregation, as well as from our stewardship consultant, Pastor Michael Meier will be encouraging you to prayerfully consider how generous God is calling you to be.
We know it will take a great deal of faith, love, and sacrifice from every person and household that becomes involved. We also understand that this effort, the gifts and pledges we will bring, is over and above our regular giving to the ongoing mission and ministry of First Trinity Lutheran Church. Giving to the “Blessed to be a Blessing” program is “extra-mile giving.”
Will my gift be significant enough to help?
The answer is this: No gift is too small. It could also be said that no gift is too large! The times we live in present opportunities to take stock of our blessings, trust in God and decide what our priorities are. This is an opportunity to grow spiritually in our relationship to Jesus and to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us. Not all members will be able to pledge or give at the same level. Many small gifts are as important as a few large ones. The Bible teaches that we are to give proportionally as we are able.
Will I/we be encouraged to make a commitment?
Yes, everyone will be asked to make a commitment for the three-year giving phase of the program. A stated plan for giving has proven to be an excellent discipline for individuals and congregations. Individuals are helped to live up to their best intentions and congregations can plan their life and mission realistically and responsibly. Those who are not accustomed to this practice are urged to try it.
When will I/we be invited to make our commitment?
At worship on Sunday, November 20, 2011 - Commitment Sunday for “Blessed to Be a Blessing” at First Trinity Lutheran Church
How much should I/we give?
Joy is not complete when we only receive. We give because God first gave to us—God’s love and sacrificial giving are contagious. Generosity enlivens us, because givers need to give. That’s why we urge one another to respond in support of “Blessed to Be a Blessing.”
Ultimately, your giving is between you and your Lord.
How much time can I/we take to fulfill our pledge to “Blessed to be a Blessing”?
The commitment is for three years and is over and above your regular giving to the congregation. The response card that you will receive on Commitment Sunday will give you options on how to configure your gift, since not all people will want to give in the same way. Some will give one large, up-front gift while others will give a designated amount each week or month for the three-year period. Many will want to use the “Simply Giving” program for this effort just as they use it for their regular offerings.
May I/we give stocks, real estate, insurance, or other gifts in kind in addition to cash?
Absolutely! You are encouraged to think of assets in addition to cash. For many people, this is the best way to give. Giving stocks, property, or other appreciated assets as a charitable donation is beneficial to you and the church. Check with your tax advisor concerning the rules in the tax code for 2011 that affect charitable giving from a retirement account. This may be another option for you.
If you think you would benefit from more information on this topic, call our ELCA Key Leader stewardship consultant, Pastor Michael Meier, at 715/564-3299 (h) or 715/657-0567(c), or email to email@example.com.
What if my/our financial situation changes or I/we move out of the area before the end of the three-year giving period?
At any time during the giving phase, your commitment may be increased, decreased, extended or canceled by notifying our church office. If you should move out of the area, we hope you would become involved in another congregation and offer them your support. We will be honored and grateful if you are willing to fulfill your total “Blessed to be a Blessing” commitment. But you are certainly under no obligation to do so.
No matter what your circumstances may be, we ask you to support the ministry of First Trinity Lutheran in your prayers and to remember that here you are always welcomed and loved.