We Are God’s StewardsIn First Peter we read “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Someone once defined Christian Stewardship as “Everything we do after we say ‘I believe.’” As Christian stewards we believe that in accordance with the words of Peter, a generous portion of our gifts are to be used to serve others and thus carry out the mission entrusted to us by our Lord. As Christian stewards we usually define these gifts as time, talent and treasure.
St. Paul Church has always taken Christian stewardship very seriously and challenges members to support Christ’s mission through the congregation by making an annual pledge with serious consideration given to proportionate giving as described by St. Paul in I Corinthians 16: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper.” We also hold up the Biblical mandate of tithing as a worthy goal for Christian stewards.
As a reminder of the importance of giving our tithes and offerings regularly in support of Christ’s mission, offering envelopes are mailed to the home of every member every two months.
The annual budget of the congregation adopted at the Annual Meeting, offers a visible description of how our offerings are used both locally and beyond the congregation.
Ministries Beyond The Congregation
As a member congregation of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, each year the congregation pledges a portion of its total budget to be given to the synod in support of Christ’s mission in the world. Of that amount sent to the synod office 30% is used to operate the synod office which exists primarily to serve the needs of synod congregations. 15% is given to our Mission Partners such as Lutheran Social Services, Campus Ministry, Bible Camps, the Seminary and our partner synod in South Africa.
The other 55% is passed on to support the world wide mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. These ministries include starting new congregations, supporting existing congregation currently under redevelopment, supporting 280 missionaries and oversees volunteers, assisting social ministries around the world, long term community development, and much more.
Special Benevolence Fund
The Special Benevolence Fund was established in 1984 to be responsive to a wide variety of needs not anticipated in the congregation’s general budget. Its mission is “to establish partnerships with other Christians outside our own membership in order that we might grow in our understanding and support of the total work of Jesus Christ”.
The following is a list of some of the ministries supported by the Special Benevolence Fund in the past: Northern Illinois Food Bank, Bethel New Life, LOVE, Inc., and Du Page PADS.
It is always the desire of the Special Benevolence committee to have representatives from these various ministries visit the congregation to keep us informed and educated about their work.
The Mission Endowment Fund
In 1993, the congregation established The Mission Endowment Fund to provide members and friends of the congregation a means of supporting the mission of the congregation through bequests in wills and trusts. The purpose of the Fund as stated in its bylaws is “to enhance the overall mission of St. Paul Lutheran Church apart from the regular operation of the congregation.”
The Mission Endowment Fund is managed by a committee elected by the congregation. The committee meets quarterly to distribute the accrued interest of the fund primarily in support of those ministries that benefit people in need.
The establishment of the Mission Endowment Fund is based on the principal that as stewards and managers of God’s gifts, we as God’s people, in preparing our will, are encouraged to give prayerful consideration to including St. Paul Lutheran Church as a beneficiary of a portion of our resources in accordance with our wishes.