Immanuel Lutheran church
Immanuel Lutheran church
2021 Financial Generosity Plan
“Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do this more and more.” – First Thessalonians 4:9
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Paul’s words above, originally written to the Christians in Thessalonica in the mid-first century, say just about everything I want to say to you.
Like Paul, I have no need to write to you about giving. Financial contributions to Immanuel this year to date are the strongest they have been in the seven years I have served at Immanuel. While accounting for this is complex, two factors are undeniable: one, the COVID-19 pandemic, and two, what Paul calls “brotherly love.” The pandemic was and continues to be a threat, not only to our health and economic livelihood but also to our way of being and doing church. But the pandemic has also presented us with extraordinary opportunities to love one another in new ways and to share God’s love with our community. And the members of Immanuel have responded. The empathy, care, and concern for fellow Christians experiencing difficulty and loss; the sustained support for Immanuel’s ministries at a vulnerable time; the commitment to stay connected in worship and in small groups despite the constraints of the quarantine; the enthusiasm for reaching out with the message of God’s love to people “outside our walls;” the patience and kindness shown to those facing difficult decisions; the genuine affection we have for one another and for our church home—all of these warm feelings and good intentions have been expressed in a variety of ways this year, including in your financial giving. Through Christ and the Spirit, we have been taught by God to love one another, and that is indeed what we have been doing in 2020.
And yet, Paul writes to urge his brothers and sisters in Christ “to do this more and more.” So, I write to you to do the same. What would it look like for you “to love one another more and more” in 2021?
Growing in love begins with being taught by God. To that end, I commend to you the series of videos by Mark Allen Powell below. Powell is a good teacher—clear, humorous, insightful—and his teaching about financial stewardship emphasizes the good news that we belong to a God who promises to make us people after his own heart—the kind of people who find joy in generous giving.
Loving one another more and more includes making a commitment to give to support the work of Christ’s church. This year you can do that electronically. Just click here, fill out the form, and submit.
As you think about your financial generosity plan for the coming year, continue to be taught by God and keep in mind Paul’s encouragement, that the love of Christ may shine more and more brightly in your heart, in our life together, and beyond.
With brotherly love for you and deep gratitude for our partnership in the gospel,
Pastor Andrew Fields
Biblical Stewardship Our Duty & Delight
Why we give matters more to God than how much. Here are three good reasons to give:
- We give as an act of love. The essence of worship is sacrifice—giving up something we value out of love and devotion for God. In his book Giving to God, Mark Allen Powell writes, “Church offerings are not fund-raising rituals but acts of worship in which we are invited to express our heartfelt devotion to the God who is so good to us” (12). True love for God expresses itself in love for our neighbor, “especially those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
- We give as an expression of faith. Giving puts into practice our faith in God as our creator, our redeemer, and our sanctifier. All that we are and all that we have belongs to the God who made heaven and earth. When we give, we acknowledge that we are stewards, not owners, of all that is God’s. More than that, we have been redeemed to live under Christ in his kingdom. He who shed his own blood to make us his own will surely take care of us; giving is an expression of confidence in this promise. To believe that God is our sanctifier is to believe that the Spirit has set us apart for his purposes. When we give, we participate with God in his ongoing mission to make his love known to the world.
- We give to train our hearts. What we do with our money affects us spiritually, which is one of the reasons why Jesus talked about money as much as he did. He said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). How we spend our money not only reveals what kind of people we are but also can determine what kind of people we will become. This is good news! In the words of Mark Allen Powell, “We can decide what sort of people we want to be, and then give our treasure—our time, our talents, and our money—to those things that we want to care about” (Giving to God, 54). Want to grow in your affection for Christ and your commitment to his mission? Give more of yourself to Christ’s body the church and see what happens.
NEW TO GIVING OR NOT SURE HOW MUCH TO GIVE?
The Bible teaches God’s people to practice regular, proportionate giving. Several Old Testament passages refer to a tithe. A tithe is a tenth of one’s income, set aside to support the work of the Lord’s church. For some a tithe is a goal to work toward; for others it is a joy to exceed. If you have never given, or if you are not in the habit of regular giving, consider beginning by giving regularly a percentage of your income. Then add a percent each year. Click here for a helpful chart.
HOW DO I GIVE?
Envelopes are mailed to every household quarterly. Numbers on the envelopes allow the church to keep track of contributions. The envelopes also provide direction for offerings you may give above and beyond your commitment. You can also give electronically. To sign up, go to www.immanuelvalpo.org and click “give” or contact Jan Shelby, Immanuel’s finance administrator. She can be reached at 219-462-8207 x264 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW DO I MAKE A COMMITMENT?
This year, commitment forms may be returned in person, by mail, or electronically.
Option 1: Fill out the commitment form below and return it in worship on Saturday or Sunday, November 21-22.
Option 2: If you cannot make it to in person worship or need more time, fill out the commitment form and bring it by the church office at your convenience. You can also mail it in.
Options 3: This year, you can make your commitment electronically. Click this link, fill out the information form, and click submit.
We're glad you're here!
At Immanuel, we believe that you can be transformed by experiencing life with God in Christ. Our mission is to equip people for this kind of transformation by connecting people with Christ in a life of worship, learning, and service, whether you are exploring Christianity for the first time or grew up attending church.