Giving to St John's
Money isn’t everything, but it sure ranks up there with oxygen and water
That applies as much for us Christians as it does for those who do not share our faith. Having it can cause heartache around what to do with it, or how to hold onto it; not having it can exclude us from achieving our full potential. That is as true for the life of a congregation as it is for individuals. A church starved of sufficient resources, including money, cannot properly proclaim the Gospel to a predominantly material world.
So yes, St John’s needs our money and the good news is that we, individually, have an inescapable need to give – snap!
The Bible is a rich source of information and teaching about this. The Old Testament encourages us to give the first part of our harvest (identified as a tithe) back to God as part of our worship. In the New Testament we are released from religion by rules into faith as love, with love and giving being inseparable whether giving of self or possessions.
How much we give is a personal matter between us and God. Jesus teaches us that it is not just the proportion of our gift which is important, but also the priority we give to it. As a further help in making this very personal decision, the Church has generally suggested that half our tithe should be to and through our church.
The pervasive influences we all face everyday from the secular world, of which we are unavoidably part, cannot be put aside by one short article. Hopefully it may whet some appetites to delve deeper, but as with all matters of faith, it is only when we try it for ourselves that we discover the power of giving to transform our lives.
Giving – the practical bits
It costs around £1,000 each day for St John’s to meet all its commitments. Around 40% of this goes on staff costs and 30% on maintaining our buildings. That leaves 30% for everything else. In addition there will be unplanned maintenance and emergencies, if not now then at some future date.
Around half of this needs to be covered by the committed giving of our members. That equates to an average of £10 - £15 each week from each individual member (ie: up to £30 per couple). That is obviously beyond the reasonable means of many of our members, so we invite those who are able to do so to commit substantially more. Averages don’t mean a great deal, but proportional giving does. That is why the Church generally invites individuals to work towards giving 5% of their income. If we all came close to achieving this, our financial needs would be met.
We also rely on anyone who pays income tax to use the Governments Gift Aid Scheme. This allows St John’s to reclaim the tax they have already paid, at the standard rate. Higher Rate taxpayers can claim back the difference between the standard and higher rates through their self-assessment tax returns. With the top rates of tax set to increase this may enable a few individuals to increase the amount they give in line with the additional tax they can personally reclaim. Gift Aid can be used by all taxpayers who use the church's envelope scheme (weekly or monthly), who pay by standing order, or who give by occasional personal cheque.
If you choose to pay by standing order, please also consider taking a set of envelopes, both so that you can feel that a token of your whole gift is visibly contributing to the worship each Sunday; and to enable any additional gift you wish to make to be given tax efficiently. It is not necessary to commit to a specific sum for such envelopes. In fact making a specific pledge for your giving has relevance only for the Treasurer in planning the church’s budget and cashflow; and for you – to help you to be disciplined and regular in your giving.
If you need help over this or about other matters, such as Payroll Giving, gifts in kind, or giving through your Will please speak with a member of the Ministry Team, the Finance Committee, or your accountant.
The following links will take you to the forms you will need to start, or change, your regular giving to St John's:
Standing Order – A commitment to pay directly from your bank account to St John’s, preferably on a monthly basis but other frequencies may suit you better.
Gift Aid Declaration – A tax-efficient means for taxpayers to increase the value of their giving to St John’'.
Envelope Scheme Request – For those who wish to give by weekly or monthly envelope. If this is in addition to a regular standing order an amount need not be specified.