As a member of a United Church Congregation I have also wanted to invest in the great ministry that happens there, and in the wonderful ministry that happens when United Church folk from all across Canada and Bermuda put their money in a common pot to do mission and ministry together through the Mission and Service Fund. I believe in this ministry enough to want to contribute regularly and well. It made sense to me then to do what financial planners have been telling me to do with my retirement savings – in this case - pay God first. In fact, I think it says something about that in the Bible as well!!
What if every year I decided in advance what I could afford to give, and then had that money come out of my account, even before my pay cheque was cashed? Would I miss it if I made that commitment before the money was there in my bank account to spend? Would I contribute more if it came out regularly? I decided to test these things out.
As it turns out, like my retirement savings, as well as my mortgage and car payments, when the money comes out of my account automatically, I don’t think much more about it; I focus instead on how I will spend what is left. I also discovered that I could indeed contribute more to the ministry and mission of the church because I decided in advance. Instead of week by week seeing what I had in the bank, or in my wallet, and then deciding on the amount for the collection plate, now I already knew … and it was already gone. I also appreciated the fact that if my financial situation changed, I could adjust my givings accordingly.
Is your church’s ministry making a difference in the lives of others? Are you enthusiastic about the wonderful things that happen because of the Mission and Service Fund? You too can avail of the opportunity to decide in advance how much you want to contribute to your church’s ministry next year. You too can also have your contributions come out automatically once a month. The United Church has just such an automatic church contribution system. It is called “Pre-Authorized Remittance” or “PAR” for short. PAR can enable you to choose up to three funds to contribute to every month (e.g. local ministry, M&S, and building fund). Better yet, this investment costs the giver nothing** and enables that person to give more – cause they never miss a Sunday! What better investment can there be than that? Oh, and I almost forgot to mention … like an RRSP, every contribution to the church means you save more on your taxes every year!
To learn more about the United Church PAR program, see this page on my website: http://programleadershipdevelopment.weebly.com/pre-authorized-remittance-par.html
*The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton
** It costs the church a small administration fee: 50 cents per giver, per month, to a maximum church fee of $45 for 90 givers or more!