Stewardship - Giving, Standing Orders & Gift Aid

imageIf we are serious about being a Christian, we know that our lives are saved through the gift of grace, and although God asks for nothing in return, it is right to share all that He has given to us with others.  
We have been commissioned by God to be a good stewards. We are to give our time and talents, and importantly, to give generously financially. These three actions are collectively known as "Stewardship"
What is Stewardship?- Click HERE to understand what it means to be a Christian at St Bart's & St Anne's, starting with Time & Talents.

How much money should I give?
The Church of England (and all Christian churches) suggest that giving 10% of NET Income is a good place to start.
With 5% to go directly through and to your church and 5% to other causes and organisations that build God’s kingdom.
Giving 10% to God, leaves the remaining 90% for you to steward wisely.
(A Standing order Form can be picked up from the back of Church)

The Table below provides a rough guide to help you work out your "take home pay" from your gross annual wage. It shows various weekly amounts that can be considered for you to give to the Church based on your spending money. (5% is an obtainable realistic figure)
Either work it out individually or as a couple by adding Gross Wages together to get a "Household income"
You can accurately work out your own "money in your pocket" figure here- Income Tax Calculator

Gross
Annual
Wage
Monthly
Take Home pay
Weekly
Giving
at 1%
Weekly
Giving
at 2%
Weekly
Giving
at 3% 
Weekly
Giving
at 4%
Weekly
Giving
at 5% 
     £10,000   £814 cash £2 £3 £6 £8 £9
     £15,000   £1,114 cash £2 £5 £8 £10 £13
     £20,000   £1,397 cash
 £3 £6 £10 £13 £16
     £25,000   £1,681 cash £4 £8 £12 £16 £19
     £30,000   £1,964 cash  £5 £9 £14 £18 £23
     £35,000   £2,247 cash £5 £10 £16 £21 £26
     £40,000   £2,531 cash  £6 £12 £18 £23 £29
     £45,000   £2,797 cash £6 £13 £19 £26 £32
     £50,000   £3,039 cash £7 £14 £21 £28 £35
     £55,000   £3,281 cash. £8 £15 £23 £30 £38
     £60,000   £3,522 cash £8 £16 £24 £33 £41
  • Scenario: Rob and Susan have two small children. Susan has put her career on hold and is a stay-at-home mom and currently has no income. Rob has a job that brings home £20,000 a year. they would like to give generously to the church but a mortgage, running a car, life events and a single wage makes it difficult.
    They decide they can give 3% of their household income each week (£10) they commit to doing this by monthly standing order. (£40 per month). Because Rob is a taxpayer, the church can claim 25% back on the donation. For every £40 Rob and Susan give, the Church will receive £50. 

  • Scenario: Kevin and Rachel, having graduated and each in a profession have a joint income of around £55,000. They are able to donate 5% of their earnings and therefore jointly give £150 by standing order each month. They Gift aid the amount making their monthly contribution nearly £190. They also commit to other charities with the intention to raise their overall giving to 10% as their income allows.

  • Scenario: Tess comes to church with her child but her husband who is the wage earner doesn't.
    Tess would like to support the Church. They have a household income of £30,000 but Tess feels she can't give as generously as she would like because her husband isn't fully on board with Christianity.
    However, she figures she can easily give 1% of the household income equaling £20 per month via standing order, with the intention to increase giving over time.
The above "Scenarios" address only three stories. Each person or couple or family need to work out how much they can afford to give for themselves. Circumstances are different for each person.
What is your story? The challenge is to give 5% to the church. What do you prioritise financially before giving back a little to God?
Everything you have is owned by God. How much of what is God's will you keep for yourself?
Do you give what is right or do you give what is left? 
 
Giving by standing order is a convenient way to give regularly to St Bart's and St Anne's.
(A Standing order Form can be picked up from the back of Church)

Our church records show that, many people will donate less than 1% of their personal or household income.
The average cash donation per person can be less than £2. 

Less than 1%... only £2 a week...Surely not. I don't do that... or do I?
  • A working couple donates 10 pounds on the first week of the month. But this equates to £5 each. If they miss three weeks at church (holiday/illness) the average giving within that month drops to £1.25 per person per week.
  • Many people simply don't think. They dig deep into their pockets or purse and give all their loose change (a pound or two)
  • People forget to bring a donation They don't bring double or triple next time. but donate the amount they always do.
  • The Service collection is taken, but some of the congregation are seen not to contribute. Why? Because many already pay by Standing Order. New people to the church might perceive this as the majority not contributing. "If they aren't giving, then why should I?"
  • Some are erratic givers. they may put £30 in the basket one week but not again for a while (they think they are giving generously) their average donation drops dramatically when not consistent.
  • Some people think the Church is rich and money comes from the government, therefore they don't bother contributing.
  • The Church gives freely and doesn't want to "Charge"  or have to openly ask for money for refreshments, study groups, books, education etc. As a result many accept what is given as free, thinking the church affluent, with no thought to contribute to running costs.  
  • It's the church's fault, it's bad at telling people what's expected as a Christian! (This page is the exception!) 
How do we help Christians become involved by being good financial stewards?
Our challenge as a Church is to help Christians evaluate the correct response to what God has provided for them.
A Christian should be generous. We should give our whole self to God. All of our time, all of our skills and all of our money. However, it is also true we need to live, eat, pay for a roof over our heads, socialise and live each day to the full. This takes a significant toll on us financially, so the correct proportional response is required.

The Answer: What God has given to us in abundance, we share a little with others.

The very best way to give and be involved financially, is to to set up a "Standing Order", this puts you in control of any amount you wish to donate. It solves the problem of dedicated commitment of financial giving over time.
By knowing that Christians around the world are giving at least 10% of their income back to God, we can be reassured that giving as little as 5% to the church is realistic and the right thing to do.
If you are a Taxpayer you can instantly give St Bart's an extra 25% for free. If you choose to Gift Aid your donation, we can claim back 25% of your giving. eg. for every £20 you donate we can claim an extra £5. Your £80 could mean £100 to the church if you Gift Aid it.
(A combined Gift Aid & Standing order Form can be picked up from the back of Church)

Frequently Asked Questions: 
1 ) Should giving be from Gross or Net Income?
The most important element to stress is that there is no ‘right’ answer. It is important to set our giving at a level that is generous, rather than one that ‘fulfils the law’. We might note, that if we give from after-tax income, and give through Gift Aid, the end result is that the tax is added back in. 

2 ) Should those in debt give? The answer to this depends on what we mean by ‘debt’. Many people will have structured, manageable debts such as a mortgage or a student loan. These debts should not prevent us from giving generously from our income. However, when debt becomes unmanageable, and it is spiralling out of control, we would suggest that giving is inappropriate. At this point we are living on money which is borrowed, not our own. Rather, it is suggested that the priority is to take action over our finances and to make a token offering as a pledge to return to a higher level of giving once finances are under control. 

3 ) Should all 10% go to the Church? No. Our giving to God can go through a range of channels. The Church of England’s policy is to encourage its members to give 5% of their income to and through the Church, and a second 5% to other causes and organisations that build God’s kingdom. St Bart's and St Anne's give 10% of all donations to charities and good causes.

4 ) How do I know if 10% is right for me? Look at what is left. If your lifestyle is very comfortable, and you are able to afford lots of ‘extras’, then you might consider increasing your level of giving. If you are sincerely trying to give 10% , but find that you just cannot afford it and your generosity is causing family members to suffer, then consider reducing your level of giving. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees' practice of consecrating their possessions to God while their parents were in need. (Matt. 15:5-6,) 

5 ) What about when things get tough? A sudden change in circumstances will naturally force a review of your finances. It may be that you need to reduce your level of giving for a while. The acid test is whether all aspects of your lifestyle are being affected - giving shouldn’t be the soft option to cut back. It is important to avoid the trap of legalism - reducing a level of giving to 8%, 6% or 5% for a while may be the right thing to do. 

Common myths about Giving:

  • "People on low incomes simply cannot afford to give, the poor & unemployed for example." No, we are asked to give what we can, not what we can’t, so no one should feel guilty on a low income. Giving is about priorities:do we give our first fruits or second thoughts or last minute scrabbling for something to put in the basket? 
  •  "I can’t give; I’m self employed/seasonal worker and my money comes in irregularly." But it is possible to put a sum aside after last year’s profits or stock sale, invest it and release monthly?
  • Giving is for other churches; it’s just not Church of England!  All Christian churches are asked to give generously. It is true that traditionally parishioners from the CofE go quiet when the F word is spoken (Finances) but this is no excuse not to do our part.
  • "The Church is Wealthy, it doesn't need money." No, St Bart's and Anne's rely wholly on donations given by its congregation. Everything you see is paid for by you. Our current finances mean we only just break even each year, which is why we need you to help us to invest in the exciting projects planned in mission outreach.  
  • "10% is beyond me, so should I give nothing at all?"  No, we start where we can, maybe give half and work towards 10% over time. Giving at this rate means 10% for God, 90% for me to enjoy. (The 10% reminds us that God allows us to use, or steward, 90 %!) 10% is all that’s asked of me. (10% is an initial target, not a limit.)   
  • Giving is hard for the wealthy who will end up giving so much. No, it’s harder for people with less disposable income – i.e. Luke 21: "As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'"

(A Standing order Form can be picked up from the back of Church)