Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
Thank you for your generous consideration of Christian stewardship. We pray that you may find the level of giving that is right for you as you progress in your journey of faith and commitment. Your pledges and gifts are a critical part of how we can make a difference in our church, our community, and our world. Your generosity is making a difference.
We’re asking everyone to prayerfully consider how God may want you or your family to participate.
Devotionals written by Kelly Sollenberger.
Great God of all provision, we bring to you our gifts of traditional tithe.
May our material giving reflect not our bounty, but yours, O God.
Creator God, who has uniquely crafted each of us, we bring to you our gifts of talent.
May our creativity glorify your Creating Spirit, O God.
Merciful God, Alpha and Omega, we bring to you our gifts of time.
May we live as your people in every place, in every moment, from this day until our last.
Stewardship is defined as “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of his creation.”* That is a powerful statement. We acknowledge that all we have comes from God, our talents, our time, and our earnings. We enjoy all those gifts in a world God himself created for us. So how do we gain the wisdom to discern what God desires from our lives? In James 1:5, God assures us—if we ask, God will provide.
The first step to growing wisdom is respect and love for God. When we grow in that area, we find it easier to discern right from wrong. When we begin to throw away our self-centered desires for God-centered ones, change can happen, and wisdom can be gained. Spending time with God in prayer, in the Bible, and fellowship with other Christians allows for growth. I challenge us in this season of stewardship to discern how God is calling each of us to grow so that he can use us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
James 1:5 (NIV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Other Scriptural References:
Kings 3:1-13; Proverbs 3:13-16
Hard work and success are to be celebrated. Proverbs 21:5 tells us, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Saving honors God because it turns ordinary money into a valuable gift from God that brings peace and sustenance to all those it touches—both now and far into the future. We are in a better position to help others with essential needs as they arise through our savings.
The temptation to earn and save out of fear or greed is where the trouble lies. Finding a balance is key. Setting aside something for the future is wise while remaining generous and reliant on God, who is the source of all our provisions. How we earn, save, and spend our money must come from a heart of gratitude to God for his generosity towards us.
Proverbs 31:13-24 (NIV)
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
2020 has proven to be a year of upheaval, to say the least. No matter who you are, life looks different this year due to COVID-19. For some, it has brought hardships and suffering, but for others, it has brought increased blessings. If you have felt blessed by God this year, discern how he is calling you to be a blessing to others.
Luke 12:48 says, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Instead of thinking of this as a burden or another responsibility, think of it as a gift and consider how your gifts can be bestowed upon others. I remember seeing children and their families’ chalk art with uplifting words of encouragement during many days of isolation, such a heart-warming but straightforward act. For you, maybe it’s making a phone call or sending a card to someone who is shut-in, serving in a new capacity at church, or perhaps offering that additional financial gift to help outreach and discipleship ministries. I pray that our eyes and hearts will be open to using our gifts and giving all we can to bless those around us.
Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Other Scriptural References:
1 Timothy 6:17-19; Mark 12:41-44
All giving (general ministry, missions, and infrastructure) plus additional generous gifts will be combined into a single fund from which all accounts will be paid. The ONE-FUND approach allows us to celebrate the total giving of our congregation with a clear, focused vision. Visit our blog to read our monthly one-fund highlights.
"Because of your giving, the sports ministry was able to provide families with hope, fun, and a sense of normalcy while spreading the love of Christ to nearly 400 families in 2020 through Upward basketball, flag football, and cheer. Praise God!"
"As the facilities manager, I use your tithes to fund many aspects of my daily work! I’m responsible for everything from the electric bill to repairs in the church and parsonages. To maintain the church, many vendors come to service equipment, repair the building, mow the lawn, and polish the floors, to name a few. Here are some of the things I have paid through October 2020. Insurance - $29,257, Utilities - $49,334, Maintenance - $65,756. Right now, I have authorized an additional $35,954 in repairs! These include office heat, elevator repairs, and ventilation installation. I am exploring the repair of broken heaters in the gathering space that could cost over $24,000! Without you, none of this would be possible! Thank you for all you give!"
"Through the generous giving at Camp Hill UMC we have been able to adapt and stay connected with visitors and members of the community. When the pandemic started we realized that many people were not comfortable or able to meet in person. The church invested in technology that allows us to track and connect with first time visitors, provide online classes and small groups and we can now receive new members virtually. We have used funds to train small group leaders, buy online curriculum, create digital teaching materials and provide safe opportunities for everyone to participate even when it can’t be in person. These investments have been fruitful. Some of our new members found us online during the pandemic. They began watching the streamed worship services and filled out a virtual connection card. The church was able to reach out to them and start building a relationship. We’ve been able to provide classes and small groups for them and many are in the process of becoming members of church. All of this has been done online from the comfort of their home. None of this would have been possible even a year ago. It is because of these investments that the church has been able to reach and exceed it’s goal of welcoming 27 new members in 2020, even during a pandemic. Thank you for making this possible and continuing to support Camp Hill UMC."
"Communication is something we do every single week that impacts every person in our church. We recognize that during this COVID-season, we were not fully prepared to communicate in a new and effective way to our entire congregation. If it has been difficult for you to connect with us and stay informed, we are sincerely sorry. We will continue to adapt and improve our communication strategy. Thank you for your continued patience with us. Despite our shortcomings and because of your faithful giving, we have made strides to improve our church management system, which should enhance our church-wide communication between church leadership and the congregation. We opted to go all-in with a new technology platform called Planning Center. Planning Center is a comprehensive church management software. Planning Center will allow us the freedom to focus on what matters in our ministry, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, instead of focusing on administration. Planning Center helps us manage our church database and calendar, organize small groups, develop engaging worship experiences, and register and check people in for events (for contact-tracing purposes). It also helped us launch a new mobile app! If you haven't done so already, we encourage you to download our app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store (search "church center"). If you don't own a smart phone, you can view the app on any browser window by visiting camphillumc.churchcenter.com. The app will help keep you connected when you are on the go!"
"As church administrator, I get to see how the generous contributions of the congregation are used in all ministry areas. The area where I am most involved is the church office and the facility. When I first started the job three years ago, I was shocked at the cost of keeping our facilities in shape. Just like an older home, something is always breaking, and when it breaks, we rely on the funds donated by the congregation to fix the problem. Maintaining our church, the Potter’s House and two parsonages takes constant attention and funds, and I am so thankful for the congregation’s generosity which allows us to keep all of our facilities ready for ministry."
"Your Financial gifts help bring new faces to our church! One of the happiest parts of my job as Minister of New Members is to meet and greet new faces when they come into our church. Everyone appreciates being welcomed! You can see it in their faces and their demeanor. I have been welcoming and greeting people for more than 15 years, and I never get tired of it! It gets even better when I have the opportunity to move these individuals in the direction of church membership through the Next Step Membership classes (NSM), which I have also been teaching for 15 years. I now have an added joy in this class by sharing the teaching with the Rev. Jenny Streeter, our new Pastor of Discipleship. Her presence brings even more happiness to our gathering. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” We experience a lot of that joy in our NSM class, which is always a fun-filled experience. Thank you so much for supporting this ministry, which brings so many new and happy faces to our church. You help us grow in numbers and in our Christian faith. We appreciate it, and I am certain that Jesus appreciates it!"
"We have been given the gift of safely worshipping outside together in person. Your generosity has made it possible to acquire necessary equipment and rentals to gather together outside."
"As the Pastor of Homebound Ministry, I can attest that in this particularly challenging season of quarantine, your generosity has made a difference in the lives of those who have long been homebound - and those who are newly homebound. We had three 55 Plus luncheons in 2020 until COVID struck. On schedule for a banner year in attendance, even with 50 cancellations in March, we averaged 112. This year, after recruiting and training some additional drivers, we were excited to offer the CHUM bus for transportation from Bethany. The Planning Team looks forward to planning for a September 2021 restart. Throughout the year, I’ve visited with over 60 Homebound folks on a regular basis. Our visits include scripture, prayer and communion as well as pastoral care, counseling and conversation. Due to COVID, our visits went from in-person to phone and, more recently, porch visits. Prior to COVID, I would take Upper Rooms, Worship CDs and prayer lists to folks. I've also sent cards and multi-page letters of greeting, encouragement, and updates from church this year. Each week they receive the News and Notes, Pastor's Blog, and Prayer List from the office. Currently, 14 shepherds also visit and keep in touch with their Homebound by phone and mail, reporting back to me with updates. I've also worked with several folks and groups this year to provide names and information for additional contacts, some that are weekly, to let them know others are thinking about, caring for, and available to help and assisting them with connecting to worship. Another person graciously volunteered to make masks for any Homebound who needed them. We are blessed to have so many caring folks to assist in our Homebound Ministry. Prior to COVID, our CHUM Worship Bus was running weekly to bring folks to worship from Bethany Village. While it's intended to provide transportation for folks who otherwise would not get to church, we witnessed a miracle of God through it. One of our faithful Homebound had fallen in her apartment Saturday evening. When she wasn't there for the bus pick up Sunday, another rider called Bethany to have them check on her. They found her still lying on the floor as she could not reach the phone to call for help. She was immediately taken to the hospital. Thankfully she did not break anything but what a wonderful miracle of God using those who faithfully serve to help others in ways we could never have imagined! We've been recruiting drivers to help people in need of transportation to doctors or other errands, while also assisting several folks in finding in-home help. I’ve had pastoral care calls with several other people and presided over 5 funerals this year. I am so grateful for all the volunteers who assist, lead and serve with me in ministry, from the 55Plus Planning Team, to Shepherds, to Drivers and all the others who step up in various ways to support this vital ministry. God has blessed us richly with many willing servants and much-needed funding to help one another!"