Time, Talents and Treasures Frequently Asked Questions about Stewardship at Good Shepherd’s
What is Stewardship?
The word stewardship means “the responsible care of things that have been entrusted to you.” At Good Shepherd’s, we talk about Stewardship as how we use the time, skills and money God provides in our life. Many people think Stewardship is just about how much money you give to a church; however, true Stewardship means finding ways to use all of God’s gifts to glorify Him.
How do members practice Stewardship?
Stewardship is a continuous attitude and a focus on how we use our blessings in God-pleasing ways every day. At church, this means willingly and thankfully giving gifts and volunteering our time to the Lord. Members put their skills and abilities to use to help the church continue its mission of sharing the Gospel.
Why do we bring Offerings?
God has given us the greatest gift of all time: salvation and redemption through his Son, Jesus Christ. We can never repay Him for such grace—all we can do is thank Him for it. We bring our gifts to God as a way to praise, thank and worship Him. We give Him the “first fruits” of our blessings because we are to keep our love for Him first in our hearts and minds.
Are Offerings required by the church?
Our Offerings are gifts of gratitude to God for everything he gives to us. The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “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” (NIV). God does not need or demand money, but a faith-filled heart gives to God joyfully. If we are forced to give (or feel pressured to give), we miss the point of giving. True thanks can only come from the heart.
How much are people supposed to give?
As with any gift, how much you give is up to you to decide. In the Old Testament, a 10 percent giving system—or “tithing”—was part of Jewish ceremonial law. Some people still talk about following this rule today, but since Christ fulfilled the Law on our behalf, this is no longer a requirement. Jesus simply tells us “Give to God what is God’s” Mark 12:17, meaning everything in our lives should be used to God’s glory.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul gives us some instruction on gifts to the church in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (NIV). Our gifts are to be a regular, predetermined portion of our income—not what we have left over at the end of the week.
How can I volunteer?
There are a huge number of opportunities to volunteer at Good Shepherd’s, and all kinds of skills are needed. If you want to know more about helping the church, talk to one of the pastors or our Volunteer Coordinator, Brian Gulrud. Contact Brian by email.
How is Offering money used?
Offering money is used to cover the operating expenses of the church and the school so that Good Shepherd’s can continue its mission of sharing the Gospel and strengthening the faith of its members. A portion of our Offerings also goes to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) to support mission churches and synod schools in the United States and around the world.
Will other members of the church know how much I give?
No. The records the church keeps on Offerings is only so it can properly document gifts and provide you with a report on your giving. (This is useful for both spiritual and for tax purposes.) Members receive an Offering Statement twice a year that informs them of how much they’ve given.
What do all the envelopes mean?
Using a box of pre-labeled envelopes allows members and the church to better track, organize and manage Offerings. While most envelopes direct gifts into the church’s standard operating fund, there are some envelopes that members can use to direct special gifts to specific funds, such as Gifted for Praise, Debt Reduction and the Building Fund.
I don't use cash or checks. Can I give Offerings electronically?
Yes. Good Shepherd’s accepts electronic donations through its website at www.goodshepherds.net. Gifts can also be made through the Give+ app available for iPhone and Android. Like envelopes, electronic giving allows you to direct Offerings to specific funds if you so choose.
Are my Offerings tax-deductible?
Yes. As a church, Good Shepherd’s is a tax-exempt institution that is treated like a 501(c) charity. The government considers Offerings to be charitable donations. The semi-annual Offering Statement the church sends out will tell you how much Good Shepherd’s has recorded you giving during the calendar year.
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
~ 1 PETER 3:8