For the past few weeks I have been reflecting on the new initiative we started in our parish. This initiative has focused on increasing our regular income by encouraging everyone to become a true Christian disciple. It is my hope that every member of our parish become a disciple of Christ, and through the increase in disciples, spread the Good News to everyone who lives in our neighborhood. For our parish to achieve its mission, as I noted last week, we need to shift our attention from “raising funds” to making disciples who are fund givers. While money is not our mission, money does support our mission. Those who are true disciples of Christ give regularly, give generously, and give sacrificially.
I trust you have been praying with your family about our parish’s mission and continue to discern your role in advancing that mission. While everyone will support the mission by offering his or her various gifts and talents, we all have the same role when it comes to supporting the mission financially. Every member should be making a regular sacrificial gift to the parish, and that gift should be a specific percentage of the blessings you have received from God. What this means in practical terms is that your giving should be planned and consistent throughout the year.
Traditionally, the weekly envelope has been the method for parishioners to enact their giving plan. Each week a parishioner has to find the envelope for that week, take out his or her check book or find some loose cash, decide on the amount, put the check or cash in the envelope, and place the envelope in the collection basket. Those who have used the envelopes have tended to be the most generous givers because their giving is planned. In addition to those who use the envelope are those who give loose cash each week, which, to be honest, is usually one dollar bills. This latter method tends to be the most inconsistent from one week to the next and is usually a minimal amount.
It must be acknowledged, however, that the way people manage their finances and spend money has changed in recent years. In fact, I can attest to such a change in the way I handle my personal finances. While I still have a checkbook and carry a small amount of cash, I almost never write a check or pay for things with cash. Most of my transactions are by credit or debit card, and I now do a large portion of shopping online. I pay all my bills through online transfer or using the “bill pay” feature offered by my bank. In this regard, more and more people carry a smartphone instead of a wallet and pay bills with a laptop rather than a checkbook. As technology continues to advance, the way we do business must change with the advances being made.
As a parish staff, we understand these changes and have put in place methods for each parishioner to give money to the parish electronically. These methods are completely safe and reduce the burden on the staff with regard to accounting for your gift. Whether you want to make a one-time gift or schedule your regular offering, you can go to www.bsvs.us/donate and enter your information. If you would prefer, you can also pay by credit card by going to the parish office. It is my hope that every parishioner support the parish through e-giving.
The best method for supporting the parish is to “automate” your giving so that your planned support is given to the parish regularly. I personally use this method and have scheduled a monthly transfer from my checking account to the parish. I simply decided how much I plan to give for the year, divided that by 12, and scheduled that amount to be transferred to the parish on the first of each month. For those who so choose, the same could be done weekly, simply dividing the amount by 52 and selecting the appropriate schedule. If you prefer, you can charge the gift to your favorite credit card and earn bonus points toward your next vacation. Finally, the site is mobile friendly so you can use your smartphone to keep track of your donations. If you are unsure how to do this, feel free to stop by the parish office and a member of the staff can assist you.
This reflection will be continued next week.