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Giving to Messiah

by Doug Ruecker, Financial Secretary | 

As the Financial Secretary at Messiah congregation, I am responsible for monitoring, tracking, and recording the financial gifts that the congregation receives and the tuition and fees the Preschool collects. I would like to take a few moments of your time to share some observations about our giving patterns, different giving methods, and a few changes we will make starting in 2020.

We have approximately 235 households that make a financial contribution in excess of $100 per year to Messiah's general operating fund.This number is down about 19% from 290 households 4 years ago.This downward trend is primarily due to the loss of members from death or moving out of the area and this exceeds the number of new households joining Messiah.

Changes in How We Give 
Traditionally, congregations received the majority of their financial gifts via the weekly offering plate passed on weekend services. This has been the history of Messiah's giving and for years we have been providing members boxes containing 52 numbered offering envelopes.After observing increasingly unused boxes of envelopes, I decided to analyze in depth our giving patterns.Here is what I discovered;

  • 36 households use envelopes on a weekly giving pattern
  • 90 households use envelopes on a monthly basis
  • 47 households give electronically – online, automatic checking account withdrawal, bill pay, etc. These folks rarely, if ever, use an envelope in the offering plate method.
  • The balance of households make contributions 5 or fewer times a year; quarterly, semi-annual, annual, or sporadically during the year.

Based on this information, it is not a good use of Messiah's resources to continue to purchase offering envelopes for the entire congregation.

Something New for 2020
Instead of providing 52 numbered offering envelopes to everyone, we will print labels for members and contributors.These labels will have your name and giving number. Your giving number is the same number that you have had on the provided envelopes in the past.With these labels, you can use any envelope you wish to make a contribution to Messiah. We also have left over 2019 offering envelopes that you can pick up and use as well.The numbers on these old envelopes has been blacked out, so you will need to put your personal label on it when enclosing your contribution.

When using a non-standard envelope, please designate on it if you want any of your contribution to go toward special ministries or the capital campaign.If a contribution is not designated in writing, the default is that the money will go toward the general operating fund.You will be able to pick up your labels and offering envelopes, if you choose to use them, from the middle of December through January.If you have questions, please do not hesitate to email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or call me at 360-903-4416.

More Way to Give
A few final thoughts on some additional ways to contribute to Messiah.

  • A number of our members are taking advantage of the IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). If you are over age 70.5 and have an IRA, using a QCD to contribute to Messiah may give you some tax savings. Questions?Give me a call.
  • We also have a few families using Donor Advised Funds to make their gifts to Messiah. Intrigued? Contact me.
  • We have also received gifts of appreciated stocks and/or mutual funds.Again, there can be tax advantages using gifts of appreciated assets to Messiah.
  • Some of the members we have lost over the last year generously remembered Messiah in their estate plan and will.Our Mission Endowment Fund continues to grow because of these bequests, which means we have more resources to fund different ministries from the income that the endowment provides.
  • Because of a unique bequest gift – Messiah has a second endowment fund, called the Christian Education Endowment Donation (CEED).CEED will seed Christian Education opportunities in and around the Messiah community.
  • If not done already, please consider including Messiah as part of your estate distribution plan. Gifts can be designated to either endowment fund or to the general fund of Messiah.Questions concerning how to go about this – please contact me.

Thank you for your financial support of Messiah Lutheran church,

Doug Ruecker
Messiah Congregation Financial Secretary

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