Good morning – my name is Emily, and I’m member of the church council here at All Saints.

I’ve been asked to share a message with you about financial giving at church, and to tell you a little bit about why I give to All Saints.

I’d like to start by telling you a story.

For many years, I have desired to become a runner. I work in a very sedentary job, and I think running would help me to deal with the aches and pains of sitting at a desk for too many hours each day, as well as help me to manage stress and anxiety of life in the modern world.

So, I’d like to become a runner: the next logical question is how? How do I become a runner?

One of the ways is with the help of a running headband. When I put this headband on, I become a little bit more a runner. Practically speaking, I become a person who can run when it’s cold like this. Symbolically speaking, I become a person who looks serious about what I’m doing. When people see me out running in Blonay, I am confident that they say to themselves: Look at her go, she is a real runner!

I practice the posture of a runner, and I am transformed a little bit more – even a tiny little bit more – into a runner.

For me, financial giving is one of the running headbands of the Christian life. 

Let me explain what I mean.

From the very beginning, the Bible tells us that the people of God have been invited to practice financial generosity. The Israelite laws have economic justice as a cornerstone. The disciples were asked to give up their economic security and follow Jesus. And the early church practiced radical generosity in which all things were shared in common.


It seems to me that the practice of financial giving is important in two directions:

ONE: The work of God depends on financial generosity. Jesus and Paul were both supported by the radical generosity of their followers, and we are invited to do the same. The work of God here at All Saints depends on the financial generosity of our member so that we can pay our staff, or run our heat, or give to our mission partners.

SECOND: and I think more important, financial giving seems to be deeply connected to my own transformation because it’s a way that I practice the posture of who I was created to be.

I am created in the image of a wildly generous God, and so when I practice generosity, I practice the posture of the divine in whose image I am made. Like putting on a running headband, we get a little bit closer to God is inviting us to be.

I am created for life in a kingdom that is not defined by fear and scarcity, and when I practice giving up some of my financial security, I am practicing trusting in a different kingdom. Like putting on a running headband, we signal to the world that we live by different rules.

Through the act of financial giving, we have a chance to say yes, not only to support the work of our church, but to support the work of transformation that God has begun in us.

It’s not an accident that I’m sharing this message with you today. It’s not an accident that you will find QR codes in the pews and announcements in the weekly email about financial giving.

As a member of council, I have quite a difficult message to bring.

Our church is running significant financial deficit of nearly 80,000chf, and we need to ask for the support of the entire congregation or we will be faced with some very difficult decisions in the coming months. You will hear from more of us in the coming weeks, and we will get a full rundown of the budget at our AGM in April, BUT TODAY, I am inviting you to join with me and take a step toward putting on our running headbands, and practicing living the lives we are ultimately called to live, both because it is necessary for the work of our church, and because it is an opportunity for you to say yes to an invitation from God.

I’d like to share a small quote from CS Lewis in his book Mere Christianity. In this section of his book, he is taking about charitable giving, and what it means for our transformation.

He says this: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. …[we must] give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

If you are already someone who gives to the church as a part of the Planned Giving Scheme, thank you, AND I am asking you to join me (and my family) in re-evaluating how much you are giving. Can you give more?

If you are not yet on the planned giving scheme, I want you invite you to join. You need to know that there is no single tool that is more helpful for our church than the planned giving scheme. It is helpful for two reasons. One, it allows us as a church to have the most accurate, stable picture of our yearly budget so we can make wise decisions about the work of the Kingdom of God.  Two: it doesn’t rely on church attendance! This is the first church that I have ever been a part of with a planned giving scheme, and both Ezra and I really like it because it ensures that our monthly giving is consistent.

So right now: take out your cell phones and scan that QR code. Leave the tab open as a reminder to yourself, or go ahead and open your banking app on your phone right now and sign up for the PGS.

Finally, I would like to ask all members of council to stand – if you have any questions about the planned giving scheme, please find one of us after church. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing from others.

This is a serious moment for us as a church to respond in faith and generosity to the call of Jesus, and we ask for your prayers and we ask for you to generously partner with us.

© 2015 All Saints Vevey
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