Stewardship Resource

The Nativity Three Year Stewardship Appeal

Happening  Happening
  • Author: Nativity Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN
    Rev. Glenn Seefeldt, Senior Pastor
  • Updated: 03/19/2008
  • Copyright: Rev. Glenn Seefeldt

Story of a congregation which invited people to develop a three-year plan of giving rather than just an annual one.

This file contains material from a stewardship appeal at Nativity Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN 55418 in 1999.

The unique components include:
+ The three year vision adopted by the congregation
+ An outline of a stewardship message
+ A statement of the congregations capacity to give
+ A three year ask for all channels of giving
+ Samples of a Pastor's individualized personal letters


THE CONTEXT

THE NATIVITY THREE-YEAR STEWARDSHIP APPEAL
Nativity is in a first ring suburb of Minneapolis, MN. I became pastor at Nativity on September 1, 1979. The congregation has been relatively healthy, went through a growth spurt and then reached a plateau.

We went through an extensive two-year long range planning process with the help of an outside consultant. Over forty people committed a total of 160 hours of time as members of the planning team. The journey was rooted and grounded in prayer, Bible study and faith talk.

Participants at Nativity were surveyed, involved in focus groups, interviewed and given opportunity to give input all along the way. An adoption of the vision was preceded by a series of sermons related to Nativity's mission. Skits were included in the worship service to help interpret it.

The decision was made to delay the stewardship effort until the season of Lent and to have a people give their plan for giving during the Sunday worship service on Palm Sunday. Furthermore, it was decided that people would be invited to indicate their plan for giving for each of the next three years. Their plan included not only undesignated funds, but also designated giving opportunities, memorial fund and endowment fund options. It was a comprehensive look at the total giving.

Prior to that Sunday visitation teams went on home visits with a packet of materials. The trained teams gave people an opportunity to give additional input on the vision. The visitors explained the three year plan for giving process and invited them to stretch as they considered their plan for giving.

The congregation was shown its capacity to grow in total giving.

I sent out personal focused letters under the congregation's letterhead to people with the Plan for Giving response sheet. The letters were individualized according to the age of the people, their marital status and their giving history.

The result of this effort was a God-given vision which directs an annual increase in giving and an increase in participation.



MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT

MISSION STATEMENT

Nativity is a hospitable congregation sent by Jesus Christ to make a difference by bringing God's love, hope, joy and peace to the world.

VISION

Nativity will be a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth and the community. We will provide a hospitable and usable space that encourages and supports mission and ministry.

1. A CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Nativity will be a center for celebrating God, transforming lives and renewing faith.

People will grow spiritually as a result of:
- Bible study and knowledge which interprets God's presence and activity in life experiences.
- Parents, grandparents and sponsors confidently sharing faith and values with children and youth.
- Structured conversations connecting faith with life.
- Intentional intergenerational relational experiences.
- Trained mentors serving as faith partners with children and youth.
- Spiritual directors guiding individuals in spiritual disciplines.
- Spiritual reflection and prayer as a habit of life and a part of all gatherings.
- Uplifting public worship experiences which
- Engaging worshipers with excellent music
- Proclaiming the Gospel
- Incorporate the gifts of children, youth and young adults.
- Include a weekly time for worship outside regular Sunday morning services.

2. MISSION FOCUS: YOUTH AND THE COMMUNITIES

Nativity will be a missionary congregation. As a result of our missionary activity, youth and young adults will actively participate with people of all ages in putting faith into action.

- A pastoral intern or a third pastor will focus particularly on youth and young adult ministry.
- We will equip and empower people to witness and serve.
- Youth and young adults will be invited and encouraged to be spiritual leaders.
- We will foster intergenerational faith in action activities in our communities and with global mission partners in places like Tanzania and Appalachia.
- We will reach out to young adults who live in the communities we serve or who are in college including the development of an internet home page and use E-Mail.
- We will purchase or lease a van.


3. PROVIDING HOSPITABLE SPACE

Nativity will provide a hospitable and usable space that encourages and supports ministry within and in the community year round. Nativity?s house of God will be as well-maintained, equipped and cared for as are our own homes.

- We will air condition the building.
- We will improve our building and properties in the light of our mission and vision and particularly the space used for children, youth and young adults activities.
- We will determine the needs for additional space.
- We will improve the building and property, such as:
- Improve night time safety at building entrances
- Replace the sound system in the fellowship hall
- Update the downstairs kitchen as appropriate for its future use
- Improve the sound system in the sanctuary
- Solve interior water problems
- Repair the parking lots
- Landscape east side of building
- Replace the phone system.
- Create signage at the north door to clearly show directions to the sanctuary.
- Modernize bathroom facilities.
- Create and maintain reserve funds adequate to:
- Replace Fellowship Hall Ceiling
- Replace the roofs.
- Replace the boiler.
- Replace worn furniture
- Replace old carpet and tiles
- Increase the number of handicapped and special needs spaces available on Sunday morning especially at the east entrance.
- Clearly mark as "No Parking" the Curb cut at the east entrance.
- Improve the drainage so that the curb cuts both at the east and north entrances do not fill with water or ice.


NATIVITY'S GIVING CAPACITY

According to the Crossroads Team the combined income of the 590 active participating households is approximately $35,400,000 annually. If the people of Nativity would follow the Biblical principle of giving a tithe (10% of income) , we would have $3,540,000 to invest in God's work through Nativity each year.

Our giving goal of $3,500,000 over a three-year period to reach our vision is obtainable through prayerful consideration, spiritual discipline and commitment from everyone. Together, each doing his/her part, we can take a bold step toward bringing God's love, hope, joy and peace to the world. The time has come for a major increase in giving levels.

This can happen when household by household, individuals and families prayerfully work on their plan for giving during the next three years. If there is a will, there is a way. For example,

John and Greta have two young daughters, their first home and a very modest take home income of $32,000 a year. They are pretty new to the church and giving a tithe of $3,200 per year is way beyond their imagination. Even giving $2,000 per year (the average gift needed per household) is beyond their ability at this time. However, their association with Nativity is helping them grow spiritually and they want to grow in their level of giving. Presently they are giving $7 weekly in money and volunteering their time in youth ministry. They met together as a family, looked carefully over their budget, considered how God uses Nativity is so many little ways to nurture their faith and bring life and meaning to others, they decide that they could grow in their giving. Beginning July 1, 1998, they plan to give $10 a week and in the following year $12 weekly (hopefully there will be a raise). From July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001, they will contribute $14 a week. Their spiritual growth is reflecting in their giving.

Betty is a single mom, with a young daughter and a big heart. She found Nativity as her church home a few years ago. She is more fortunate than most single moms because of her good job and because of inheritance she earns some income from shrewd investments. However, she has invested in a new home and is making hefty monthly payments on a new car. Even though she is making an annual taxable income of $60,000 a year, there doesn't seem to be enough. She is enthused about Nativity's vision. She imagines what it would be like for her and her daughter to be on a mission trip to Tanzania. She knows that her present giving level to Nativity of $1500 is less than what it could be. Betty reflects on Jesus promise that when one trusts God, God will provide all we need from day to day. She decides that on April 5, she is going to indicate on her "Plan for Giving" $2,000 for the first year, $2300 for July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000, and $2500 for the third year. In addition, in thanks to God for the gifts she has received, she intends to give $500 for the continued development of "You Can Make A Difference."

April and George are charter members of Nativity and are now retired. Their home is paid for and they love to travel. God has blessed them through their association with Nativity. In the last few years, their investments have increased in value. At present, they are giving $3500 annually to Nativity. As they considered their plan for giving, they decided that during the next three years they are going to contribute $16,000 to the undesignated account. In addition, they are going to give to the Endowment Fund an appreciated stock worth more than $5000 which they ordinally bought for only $500 years ago. They want to have the income from the endowment fund used for camp scholarships.

Five hundred and ninety other households are making similar decisions. God is leading each to be generous. When each decides according to how God has blessed them, the $3,500,000 proposed by Nativity will become a reality. Together, the people of Nativity have the ability to reach the vision.


 
WHY GIVE
March 29, 1998
Sermon Outline

"Put God's work first and do what God wants and God will provide you with all you need from day to day." Matthew 6:33 (A free translation of text used throughout the effort)

Hymn 783 - Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

I ask you to give generously to Nativity.

WHY?

We give (time, talent, money) because
1. We believe everything belongs to God the creator and giver of all good gifts.

2. We give out of the abundance God has given us.

3. We root our hearts in Christ Jesus.

4. We are set free from dependence on materialism.

5. We increase the health of our own soul.

6. We reorder our spending priorities.

7. We are blessed and become a blessing to others.

8. We experience the joy of giving.

9. We are doing the right thing.

10. We encourage others to give.


We give to Nativity because:

1. Nativity is an instrument that God uses to bring Christ's love, hope, joy and peace to the world.

2. Nativity has a vision worthy of our best efforts.

3. Pooling together our resources, we can make the world different.




HOW MUCH?
Put God first, do what God desires, God will provide you all you need from day to day. Matthew 6:33.

1. First and foremost, give 100% of your life to God

2. You may choose to follow the Biblical principle and give 10% of your income

3. You may choose to grow towards the Biblical principle by giving a percentage (Begin with 2%) of your income

4. You may choose to give a fair share of the goal - $38 a week per household

5. You may choose to become a generous giver by taking a step each year: For example,

· $5 to $10 a week - July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999

· $8 to $15 a week - July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000

· $12 to $20 a week - July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001


HOW TO GIVE?
Make a plan just like you do when you buy a house or a car or..

Give regularly gifts (weekly or monthly)

Give first

I invite you to join me in experiencing the joy of giving. Joan and I give 11% of our income ($30,000 over the next three years to designated giving).

I encourage you to present the enclosed "Plan for Giving" as an act of worship on Sunday, April 5. You may designate where you wish all or a portion of the money to go.

"Put God's work first and do what God wants and God will provide you with all you need from day to day."

  
(Sermon preached by Rev. Jerry Hoffman, who was a pastor at Nativity at that time.) 
 

Prayer Pillar

The following was printed on a prayer pillar to place on tables in the homes.
"Put God's work first, do what God wants and God will provide you with all you need from day to day." - Matthew 6:33


PUT GOD'S WORK FIRST
Gracious God, help me to love you with my whole heart so that I can put you first in my life.


DO WHAT GOD WANTS
Gracious God, help us at Nativity, to do what God wants by combining our gifts and dedicating our lives to bring God?s love, hope, joy and peace to the world.


GOD WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL YOU NEED FROM DAY TO DAY
Gracious God, release me from fear that if I give generously I won't have enough left. Help me to remember that you will provide all I really need for an abundant life.

 
THE LETTERS

Individualized, personal letters along with a Plan For Giving sheet was mailed to all the participating households at Nativity.

The letters were differentiated according to age, marital status and previous level of giving.



EXAMPLE LETTERS

To married couples, ages: 35-54
Present level of giving is $6000 +

Dear Betty and Scott,
You are among the leading contributors to Nativity. Thank you for your partnership and your model of gracious giving. Your generosity is a fruit of the spirit.

Your faithfulness helps Nativity make a significant difference in the lives of others. People are being changed, transformed, renewed as they are touched by the work of God through Nativity. More than one has said, "I am alive now because of Nativity?" Together, we serve as a spiritual center for people throughout the life cycle. We are commended by the church-at-large for our hospitality, spiritual character, sense of community responsibility and world-wide outreach.

I trust you will continue in your partnership into the future. I am delighted with the new energy found in the our new vision: "Nativity will be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry."

To reach this vision, we, the people of Nativity, have set a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for an over-all increase in giving of 50%. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!"

Your generation is now most prominent in giving leadership to the congregation. In that capacity, you are shaping the church for the future. I am thankful for what is occurring.

I invite you to continue your generous response and join Joan and me in doing God?s work through support of Nativity. We plan to give $30,000 between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001 for undesignated funds. Additional amounts will be given as special opportunities occur. In addition, we have included the Nativity Endowment Fund in our estate plans.

I ask you to present your "Plan for Giving" response at the altar during a worship service on April 5th.

In Christ,


Jerry Hoffman, Pastor



To married couples who are fifty five and older
Their present giving rate is $3000 to $5000 annually

Dear Alice & Pete
Thank you for your support, loyalty and generosity to Nativity. You have made it possible for Nativity to be a channel of God's grace to hundreds of people.

Your faithfulness has helped Nativity make a significant difference in the lives of many people. People are being changed, transformed, renewed as they are touched by the work of Nativity. More than one has said, "I am alive now because of Nativity." Nativity serves as a spiritual center for people throughout the life cycle. We are commended by the church-at-large for our hospitality, spiritual character, sense of community responsibility and world-wide outreach.

I trust you will continue in your partnership into the future. I am delighted with the new energy found in the vision the congregation has adopted:

"Nativity will be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry."

During the last five years the combined giving levels of the congregation has remained relatively flat. The council has responded to the call by members of the congregation to state quite clearly in a vision adopted by the congregation what is needed.

To reach this vision, we, the people of Nativity, have set a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for an over-all increase in giving of 50%. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!"

Nativity has demonstrated considerable strength and will in the past, the time has come for a major increase in giving levels.

My response? Well, I have reached the time in my life when I am beginning to reflect on the question - what will be my legacy? What gifts of character and purposefulness can I leave to my children, grandchildren and Nativity? I believe that the vision adopted by the congregation is God-inspired and God-given. A congregation which aspires to this vision is giving an excellent legacy.

Thanks for your support in the past. I know you value Nativity and how God has been able to use us so far. I invite you to join Joan and me in doing God?s work through support of Nativity. We plan to give $10,000 annually for the next three years between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001 for undesignated funds. We will give an additional amount for designated purposes. We are including Nativity in our estate plans.

I ask you to present the enclosed "Plan for Giving" response before the altar during a worship service on April 5th.

In Christ,


Jerry Hoffman, Pastor



To couple ages 30-44
Present level of giving is: $1000 to $1999 Annually

Dear Nancy & Larry,

Thank you for your ongoing contributions to Nativity. Working together, God is making Nativity strong.

In the next three years, Nativity will be known as a missionary congregation with a focus on youth, young adults and the community, a center for spiritual growth and a congregation which provides a hospitable and safe space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

Nativity has set a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000 which calls for an over-all increase in giving of 50%. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!" An example. . .

Ray and Sheila and their three boys, Scott, Hank and Jeff are active members of the congregation. All the boys are in Sunday School and in hockey. Ray ushers and Sheila helps in the Sunday School. They have a large mortgage on their first home. Both Ray and Sheila work outside the home with a combined household income of $60,000. Last year they contributed $1200 ($100 per month) or 2% of their income to Nativity. Their gift is an average per household contribution. Nativity is definitely their spiritual home. They support the vision for the future especially at it relates to a focus on youth and spiritual growth. They discussed (and at times argued) about their commitment to do God's work through Nativity. Finally, Sheila cautiously suggested a big leap of faith, "Beginning July 1, 1998, let's increase our giving to $200 per month, the next year $240 per month, and during the third year, $270 per month." Ray was silent for a long time. Then, with a sigh, he looked up, took Sheila's hand and said, "Honey, I agree, by reordering our spending, we will reorder our priorities. In reordering our priorities, we will put God first and trust. I think we need to do that. I never realized before how our faith and our money are so connected."

Households of various shapes, sizes and ages are making similar decisions. Together, as partners with each other, we have the ability to make the world different.

I encourage you to pray that God will guide you as you prepare the "Plan for Giving" response form. I invite you to place it before the altar during a worship service on April 5 as an act of worship.

In Christ,

Jerry Hoffman, Pastor



A letter to a single person who is 45-54 years old
Present level of giving is $1,000 to $1,999 Annually

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for your ongoing contributions to Nativity. Working together, God makes Nativity strong.

In the next three years, Nativity will be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

To reach this vision, we, the people of Nativity, have set a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for an over-all increase in giving of 50%. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!"

Our generation is now most prominent in giving leadership to the congregation. In that capacity, we have the opportunity to shape the church for the future. As leaders, now is the time we also step forward in our giving responses. We are blessed to be a blessing. An example...

Grace moved to an apartment in this area five years ago. She has been very thrifty over the years and has helped her only child get through college at the University of Minnesota. Not long after moving here, she connected with Nativity. She worships at Nativity when in the cities and is a participant in a study group. Her spiritual journey has taken her through deserts of despair and loneliness. Nativity has been God's life-line for her. Music, sermons and a few friends have given her hope.

Grace has been a generous contributor to God?s work at Nativity over the years. In spite of a very modest income of $20,000 a year, she contributes $20 a week. She is getting a modest raise this year and assumes that same will be true in the future. As she looks at her "Plan for Giving" for the future, she plans to contribute 10% of her raise whatever that is. At this point she anticipates her raise will amount to $11.50 a week.

So beginning July 1, she indicated she plans to give $21.50 a week. She has made a similar estimates for the subsequent years. Grace believes she has been blessed and is giving out of deep gratitude.

I invite you to join Joan and me in giving as God has blessed us. Personally, we have decided that we will give a total of $30,000 over the next three years. In addition, we have included Nativity in our estate plans.

I encourage you to present your "Plan for Giving" response during a worship service on April 5.

I encourage you to pray that God will guide you as you prepare the "Plan for Giving" response form. I invite you to place it before the altar during a worship service on April 5th as an act of worship.

In Christ,


Pastor Jerry Hoffman



Letter to a widow or widower who is fifty five plus
Present level of giving is: $1,000 to $1,999 annually

Dear May,
Thank you for your ongoing contributions to Nativity. Working together, God is making Nativity strong.

In the next three years, Nativity will be known as a missionary congregation with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community, a center for spiritual growth and a congregation which provides a hospitable and safe space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

A three-year giving goal of $3,500,000 will provide necessary resources to realize this vision. This calls for an overall increase in giving of 50%. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!" An example . . .

Sally is a widow, with three grown children and nine grandchildren in other communities. Ask and she will show you pictures. When her husband died she didn't know much about finances, but decided to continue giving as they always had - $35 per week. He died ten years ago. She worships most Sundays and particularly enjoys seeing the children. Over the years her assets have grown handsomely. She has more than enough to meet her needs. As a woman of faith, she desires children and youth be brought to and nurtured in faith. Sally has been praying that she might do God's work. When she looked at her Plan for Giving response sheet, she prayed, took a deep breath and wrote down $70 per week for the next three years.

As Sally went to sleep that night, there was a prayer of thanksgiving and satisfaction that she was leaving a legacy not only for her biological family, but for her faith family as well.

Each Nativity household will come to its own conclusion. Some desire to give much more than they are able. Some know they are able to give more and are deciding to do so. They desire to be a blessing for their generation and those who follow.

I invite you to join Joan and me in giving as God has blessed us. Personally, we have decided that we will give a total of $30,000 over the next three years. In addition, we have included Nativity in our estate plans.

I encourage you to present your "Plan for Giving" response during a worship service on April 5.

In Christ,


Pastor Jerry Hoffman



A single, ages 45-54
Present giving level is $101 TO $999 annually

Dear Leslie,
Thank you for your past support of Nativity. God wants you to be a partner in bringing Christ's love, hope, joy and peace to the world. Nativity is an instrument God uses to do this work.

Nativity's vision is to be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

To reach this vision, we have adopted a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for an overall significant increase in giving. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!" For example .. .

Beth moved to an apartment in this area five years ago. She has been very thrifty over the years and has helped her only child get through college at the University of Minnesota. Not long after moving here, she joined Nativity, worships fairly regularly. Her spiritual journey has taken her through deserts of despair and loneliness. Nativity has been God's life-line for her. Music, sermon and a few friends have given her hope.

From her modest income, Beth contributes $10 a week. She is getting a raise this year and assumes the same will be true in the future. As she looks at her "Plan for Giving" for the future, she plans to contribute 10% of her raise. She anticipates her raise will amount to $30 a week. So beginning July 1, she indicates she plans to give $13 a week. She estimates she will have similar raises in the future, and so plans to give $16 a week beginning July 1, 1999 and $19 a week beginning July 1, 2000. Beth believes she has been blessed and is giving out of deep gratitude. Beth knows this will take careful reordering of her priorities and spending, but as Sally observes, "If I reorder my giving, I will reorder my priorities. I will put God first."

Each person will come to their own conclusion. Some desire to give much more than they are able. Some know they are able to give more and are deciding to do so. Deep in their hearts, they desire to be a blessing for their generation and those who follow.

I invite you to join Joan and me in doing God's work through generous support of Nativity. We plan to give $30,000 between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001.

I encourage you to present your "Plan for Giving" before the altar as an act of worship on Sunday, April 5.

In Christ,


Pastor Jerry Hoffman




To a couple ages 30-44
Present giving level is $101 TO $999 annually

Dear Joseph and Mary,

Thank you for your past support of Nativity. God wants you to be a partner in bringing Christ's love, hope, joy and peace to the world. Nativity is an instrument God uses to do this work.
Nativity's vision is to be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

To reach this vision, we have adopted a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for an overall significant increase in giving. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!" For example . . .

Mark, Jan and their children, Jeff, Alicia and Ray are active participants in the life of Nativity. The children are in confirmation and Sunday School. Mark ushers sometimes and Jan assists the music in Sunday School. They have hefty mortgage payments. Mark and Jan work outside the home with a combined household income of $60,000. They have been urging the congregation to strengthen youth ministry and are delighted with the presence of Darcy.

At present they contribute $10 a week to Nativity when the attend. Recently they were surprised to learn that the proposed goal calls for an average gift of $38 per week per household. Mark commented: "I take Nativity for granted. True, we are financially stretched, but I don?t think we have our spending in line."

Mark and Jan had animated discussion. They decided that they as a family needed to "put God first!" Finally, Jan cautiously suggested, "Beginning July 1, 1998, lets increase our giving to $20 per week, the next year $30 a week and then by the third year, $40 a week."

Jeff took Jan's hand and said, "Honey, I agree, by reordering our spending, we will reorder our priorities. In reordering our priorities, we will put God first and trust God will provide. I think we need to do that. I never realized before how our faith and our money are so connected. I think we also ought to give $300 towards the purchase of a van."

Each Nativity household will come to its own conclusion. Some desire to give much more than they are able. Some know they are able to give more and are deciding to do so. Deep in their hearts, they desire to be a blessing for their generation and those who follow.

I invite you to join Joan and me in doing God?s work through generous support of Nativity. We plan to give $30,000 between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001.

I encourage you to present the enclosed "Plan for Giving" response before the altar as an act of worship on Sunday, April 5.

In Christ,

Pastor Jerry Hoffman


 
To a couple ages 45-54
Present level of giving: $500 to $1,000 Annually


Dear Mary and Jim,

Thank you for your past support of Nativity. God wants you to be a partner in bringing Christ's love, hope, joy and peace to the world. Nativity is an instrument God uses to do this work.

Nativity's vision is to be known as a center for spiritual growth with a mission focus on youth, young adults and the community. We will provide a hospitable space that will serve as a tool for mission and ministry.

To reach this vision, we have adopted a three-year giving goal of $3,500,000. This calls for a significant increase in giving. The issue is not whether we have the ability to reach this goal, it is rather whether our faith has grown to the point where we "Put God first, do what God desires and trust that God will provide us all we need from day to day!" For example . . .

Paul and Jean are very busy people with John, their eldest at the University of Minnesota and Hope in middle school. Their lives are full of activities. There just isn't enough time in a day. They like Nativity and like the vision which calls for lively worship and ministry among youth and young adults. Their annual combined income is approximately $60,000. At present, they are giving an average of $10 a week to Nativity. They give when they attend and as they feel like it.

Paul and Jean were surprised, to say the least, when they learned that the average per household proposed cost is $38 a week per household. They desire to be more disciplined in their giving and to grow towards contributing at least their fair share.

After extensive heated discussion (talking about money in a family is far from easy), they make a decision. Beginning July 1, 1998, they plan to increase their giving to $20 per week. On July 1, 1999, they plan to give $30 per week and a year later to give $40 per week. This will take careful reordering of their priorities and spending, but as Sally observes, "If we reorder our giving, we will reorder our priorities. We will put God first. And in three years we will be giving our fair share."

Each Nativity household will come to its own conclusion. Some desire to give much more than they are able. Some know they are able to give more and are deciding to do so. Deep in their hearts, they desire to be a blessing for their generation and those who follow.

I invite you to join Joan and me in doing God's work through generous support of Nativity. We plan to give $30,000 between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001.

I encourage you to present the enclosed "Plan for Giving" response before the altar as an act of worship on Sunday, April 5.

In Christ,


Pastor Jerry Hoffman


 
A single who is 30+
Present level of giving is $100 or less Annually

Dear Sally,
I ask you to give generously to Nativity.

WHY?
You want others to have a spiritual life

Nativity is an instrument that God uses to bring Christ's love, hope, joy and peace to the world.

You need to give for the health of your soul.

So you can be a blessing to others

So you can be a partner in doing God?s work

Keeps you from being dependent on materialism

Reorders your priorities.

Makes you more careful and conscious of your spending.

Your heart will be rooted in the right place
There is joy in giving.

Pooling together our resources, we can make the world different

HOW MUCH?
"Put God first, do what God desires, God will provide you all you need from day to day.? Matthew 6:33.

First and foremost, give 100% of your life to God

You may choose to follow the Biblical principle and give 10% of your income

You may choose to grow towards the Biblical principle by giving a percentage (Begin with 2%) of your income

You may choose to give a fair share of the goal - $38 a week per household

You may choose to become a generous giver by taking a step each year: For example,
$5 to $10 a week - July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999
$8 to $15 a week - July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000
$12 to $20 a week - July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001

HOW TO GIVE?

Make a plan just like you do when you buy a house or a car or...

Give regularly gifts (weekly or monthly)

Give first

I invite you to join me in experiencing the joy of giving. Joan and I give 11% of our income each year to Nativity.

I encourage you to present the enclosed "Plan for Giving" as an act of worship on Sunday, April 5. You may designate where you wish all or a portion of the money to go.

In Christ,

Pastor Jerry Hoffman


 
Those who have not returned their "Plan for Giving"
Include another form + stamped envelope

Dear Christian Friend(s):

Many people of Nativity have returned their three-year "Plan for Giving" response form. There are many encouraging plans to grow in giving. There are numerous signs of renewed interest and energy in Nativity's work.

On Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd, the Crossroads Team will participate in a mini-retreat. This will be an important step towards making strategic plans for the next three years. Their work will be aided by:

Prayers and reflection on how God is leading us.

Information about where we are as a congregation at the present time.

The Vision - 2001 adopted by the congregation.

A combined report of the "Plans for Giving" responses.

We would like to have your plan included.

Therefore, we have enclosed a "Plan for Giving" form along with a self-addressed envelope.

There are sometimes special situations or needs about which we are not informed. Please call the church and ask to speak to one of the pastors or write a note on the back of the form and mail it.

Thanks for your assistance,

John Smith, Stewardship Chair


 
Thank You Letter

Dear ,

On behalf of Nativity Lutheran Church, I want to thank you for indicating your "Plan for Giving"? I trust that this has been a act of spiritual growth for all of us.

The Nativity leaders can now begin to develop realistic strategic plans for the next three years.

We understand that you "Plan for Give" the following undesignated gifts:

$______________ per (week, month, year) between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999

$______________ per (week, month, year) between July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000

$______________ per (week, month, year) between July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001

In addition, you plan to give


Please contact the church office:
To correct any mistakes
To notify regarding any changes you would like to make at any time

The responses among the people at Nativity are very heartening. On Sunday, June 21, at 10:00 A.M., there will be a special meeting of the congregation to authorize an expenditure budget for July 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999. Prior to the meeting, a report will be given regarding the ?Plans for Giving? received and strategic plans being made.

Rejoice! Through your gifts of time, talents and money, God is using Nativity as an instrument to bring Christ?s love, hope joy and peace in such a way that the world will be made different.

Together in Christ,

John Smith,
Stewardship Committee Chairperson

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