Christian stewardship is grateful and responsible use of God’s gifts in the light of God’s purpose as revealed through Jesus Christ. Christian stewards, empowered by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves to conscious, purposeful decisions. Stewardship has also been defined as what I do, with all that I have, using the gifts God has given us, to do the work God is calling us to do. Stewardship is lived out in:
- Wisely employing God-given human resources, abilities, and relationships.
- Sharing the material resources we hold and giving them in service, justice, and compassion.
- Providing for future generations, sharing in the life, worship, and responsible stewardship of the Church and of its mission both for the individual and for the community.
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
At Shepherd of the Mountains, we identify three dimensions of Stewardship:
Ordinary Stewardship is the regular practice of returning to God a portion of all that God has given us. It involves teaching ourselves how to create a life built upon the notion that all that we have is a gift from God. This includes teaching the holy habits of keeping the Sabbath and tithing and the concept that giving regularly of our time, talent, and money to God’s work on this earth is as much a spiritual practice as prayer and worship.
Extraordinary Stewardship involves the special occasions that arise in the life of Christian communities that call us to give beyond our ordinary habit. They involve increased risk and encourage us to experiment with sacrificial giving in order to help the community realize an especially important goal. The best example of extraordinary stewardship is a capital campaign.
Heritage Stewardship is the way in which we address the matter of disposing of the accumulations of our lifetime. It is the opportunity to leave a planned gift that constitutes both a legacy to generations yet unborn and a final witness to those whom we hold most dear.
A pledge, by definition means, “to offer or guarantee by a solemn binding promise.” Each year, we have the opportunity to renew our commitment to one another and the ministry of Shepherd of the Mountains by making a financial commitment. Each and every pledge makes a difference and works toward the building of our faith community.
Why are annual pledges important?
Annual pledges support everything we do and are at Shepherd of the Mountains. Our yearly budget is driven by the generosity of our members through annual pledges. These pledges support all the operating costs of our ministry programs as well as our building and staff operations, and expenses such as outreach grants, liturgy & music, and nursery caregivers. In order to budget and plan for the operating budget each year, we need to receive pledge commitments on which the budget will be developed.
How does annual pledging fit in the ministry of stewardship?
Annual pledges are just one part of the practice of generosity and stewardship that supports our congregational life. An annual pledge supports Shepherd of the Mountains’ annual operating budget. Planned giving is a gift or series of gifts that can help secure the church’s ministries beyond our individual lifetimes. Special gifts fund additional church priorities such as building renovation, and program and endowment support.
How much should I give with an annual pledge?
We believe strongly that our standard of giving should reflect our standard of living. We ask each congregational member to consider making a pledge that is both responsible and significant based on his or her financial situation.
What does it mean to give proportionately?
Proportional giving is based on the premise that the first fruits are given back to God in grateful response to what God has given us. It refers to a conscious effort to determine an appropriate level of giving. We ask each member to consider making an annual pledge in proportion to income. We also encourage members to “step-up,” or increase their giving each year, reflecting the blessings they have received.
When should I return my annual pledge card?
We ask everyone who participates to make a pledge on Pledge Sunday (usually in late October) either by bringing a pledge card to the church, or by mailing it. Pledging at that time is important, because we use total pledge amounts to help establish our budget for the upcoming year. Nevertheless, pledges are welcome throughout the year.
Do I have to pay when I pledge? Can I pay in installments?
Returning your pledge card is simply a promise to pay. You make your pledge and you fulfill your pledge in as many payments as you wish throughout the year. The stewardship office offers pledge envelope booklets designed to help you with your payments. Pledges are to be fulfilled on a calendar year basis that is, beginning Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of each year.
Why should I pledge when I regularly put money in the offering plate?
Loose funds collected each week do help to support the ongoing life of the church. However, pledges are very important because they enable us to plan responsibly and to establish a congregational operating budget for the coming year.
I’m not sure what I can afford this year. How can I pledge?
We suggest that you pledge responsibly, based on your best estimate of the year’s income. A pledge can be adjusted during the year if your circumstances change.
Planned giving is a generous and effective way of ensuring the future vibrancy of Shepherd of the Mountains. You can make a planned gift to in a number of tax-beneficial ways. While you should consult with your attorney or financial advisor for guidance in determining the planned gift approach that is right for you and your family, we suggest the following options:
Gifts by Will
Bequests by will to the church are exempt from federal and most state inheritance taxes. With a gift by will, your total estate value is reduced by the amount of your planned gift, reducing your overall estate tax. By your will (which you may amend by a codicil) or your revocable trust, you can make Shepherd of the Mountains the beneficiary of cash, securities, and/or other property. You may designate specific amounts or a percentage of your estate, or you may make Shepherd of the Mountains a residual beneficiary of your estate, that is, a recipient of some part of the balance after payment of specific bequests, expenses, and taxes.
Current Gifts with Income Retained
During your lifetime, you may make gifts of securities or other property and retain a stream of income for yourself or other designated beneficiaries. If you reserve income rights, a portion or all of such income will be taxable to you, typically as a combination of ordinary income and capital gain. You will receive a charitable gift tax deduction for a portion of your gift. At the death of your surviving beneficiaries, the principal then goes to Shepherd of the Mountains.
Charitable Gift Annuity
With a Charitable Gift Annuity you make a gift of cash or marketable securities (minimum $5,000) in return for guaranteed fixed income based on your age. It is not affected by market fluctuations. You receive an income tax and gift tax charitable deduction for your gift in the year that you establish the annuity. Some portion of the annuity gets taxed as ordinary income, and if the gift was funded with appreciated property, some proportion will be subject to capital gains tax which can generally be pro rated over your life expectancy. A portion of the income received may be free of federal income tax.
Charitable Remainder Trust
Charitable Remainder Trust enables you to make a significant gift of $100,000 or more and to retain the right to receive income during your lifetime and/or the lifetime of your designated beneficiaries. The amount of payments received during the payout period depends on how you structure the trust. Your gift to a Charitable Remainder Trust provides an immediate income tax and gift tax charitable deduction. Income payments typically will be received and taxed to the beneficiary in part as ordinary income and in part as capital gain.