As I write this I’ve just finished watching the evening news, which included a number of items about the rising cost of living. Interest rates, gas prices, petrol prices, food prices… it seems the impact is unavoidable. So, last Sunday might have seemed an odd time to give a church finance update with an encouragement for people to increase their giving to church. And yet I’m convinced that it’s exactly the right thing for us to be talking about at this time.
As we make our way through the book of Ephesians we see again and again how gracious God has been to gather us together as his people, what a remarkable thing he is doing through something so seemingly mundane as church, and what a privilege it is to partner in his great global-church-building project at the local level.
As we’ll see in the coming weeks, all of that boils down to some very practical application in the way we live as Christians. I’m convinced that an important aspect of this is our growing passion to be generous with the finances that God blesses us with. This may mean that there are seasons when our financial capacity to give is reduced, but our hearts long all the more to be generous in all kinds of ways. And it will mean that for some of us there is great capacity to give more.
So, allow me to briefly go over the figures again.
In short, God has been kind to provide generously through the giving of our church family such that we’re right on track for our budgeted giving for this year. However, that budget was set expecting a deficit at the end of the year. So, if we continue on our current trajectory, we will require the other churches in the Trinity Network to cover our expenses at year end. It will also mean we are not able to retain Matt Winter as our Associate Pastor into 2023.
I’d like us to be more ambitious than that, even noting the present economic situation. Of our 64 households at Trinity Church Brighton, we currently have 40 ‘giving units’ (the pastoral staff don’t know who gives, or how much, but our administrative team are able to provide us the overall numbers). If those 40 households could increase their giving by $10 per week starting this week, and if 15 people who have not been giving to date began with just $10 per week starting this week, then we would cover our costs through to the end of the year. $10 per week equates to two large coffees, or perhaps a fast food meal each week. Please see the graph below for a visual representation of this.
For some of us, there simply isn’t that kind of flexibility in a very tight weekly budget. For others, God has blessed us with capacity to give well beyond that amount. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we are told that ‘each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’
I think our church has many reasons to look to the future with great expectations that God will bring growth in a number of areas. As we saw in Ephesians 4, the key tool that he uses to brings that growth is by equipping his people through the teaching of his word by his appointed leaders. Matt is such a leader and I’d love us to dig deep to enable him and Annika to remain with us, prayerfully anticipating how Jesus might be glorified in us as God grows us in our passionate devotion to him.
Can I ask that we each give real and prayerful consideration to our ability to increase our giving as an expression of our gospel partnership. Further information on how to being or update your giving can be found on our website here: https://www.trinitybay.church/more/about/giving-information/
If you’ve got questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, or feel free to speak with our leadership team: Mike Hern, Jane Unsworth, Stephen Watson and Paul Wight.
May God give us the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep his love for us in Jesus is, that he’d grip our hearts with the wonder of knowing him and making him known.
Your brother in Christ,
Trinity Church Brighton
0401 387 908