How to Make an Over & Above Gift to Open Doors
Fulfilling the Open Doors vision will depend on Ward’s members making gifts over and above their current level of giving to the church. The best path to increased giving is the spiritual path, where we set our hearts on things above. When we do that, our financial priorities take shape from our spiritual priorities. We call this “lifestyle stewardship.”
We may be tempted to give in such a way that it makes little impact on how we live. But doing so really misses the point. The challenge of lifestyle stewardship is to boldly and prayerfully find ways to let our giving transform our living!
In 2 Samuel 24:24, King David declared, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” David understood the value of the gift presented to God is determined by its value to the giver. The greater the gift’s value and significance to the giver, the greater its worth before the Heavenly Father. The gift that would touch the heart of God must first touch the heart of the giver! This is the spirit of lifestyle stewardship.
Taking it down to the personal level, understand that this is the type of giving that affects me – it shapes my plans, my activities, my attitudes and my approach to life. It means giving up something in one area so that I can give more of myself in another. Lifestyle stewardship comes down to three key things:
- Reassessing my lifestyle
- Rearranging my priorities
- Reallocating my resources
Many Christians have been amazed at how much more they could give after going through this process. The following scenarios are offered to help prompt your thinking in this regard.
Many families may rearrange their priorities and give up something in their current budget in order to give more. This could mean postponing a planned expenditure such as a new car, vacation, home remodeling or other major purchase.
Redirect Present Expenditures
Often, families have significant short-term expenditures for special needs. An example is the large expenditure a family incurs while a child is attending college. If a child will complete college during the giving period, the family might consider increasing its commitment after that point. Another example is the cash flow that is freed up after a loan is paid in full.
Increased Income, Increased Giving
Some people receive periodic increases in salary or bonuses from their employers. The temptation for many of us is to increase our lifestyle to fit the higher income. In many instances, families have decided that they will commit the full amount of salary increases.
Giving From Excess
A young man decided that two collectors’ baseball cards worth over $20,000 he had been holding for a number of years would be the most appropriate means of touching sacrifice for his family. Some families save money over a period of years for a special project. A couple had saved $80,000 to build a lake cabin. When their church entered a stewardship campaign, they decided the needs of the church were greater than their need for a second home.
Often, people pray for God to show them a way they can give beyond what they can presently see or afford. Sometimes, the answers come unexpectedly. A couple had been praying for weeks about their commitment to the church capital campaign. Much to their surprise, they received an inheritance of several thousand dollars. They gave the entire amount to their church as part of their two-year commitment, in addition to a commitment from their regular income.
Some family members have extra time they would be willing to use in a part-time job to be able to give more to the church. This is particularly true for families whose children are grown and away from home and for semi-retired or retired couples.
Many people own assets that have achieved unrealized gains in value over the years. That is good news. The bad news is that if these assets were sold, a significant portion of the gain could be lost to taxation. Gifts of appreciated assets – typically investment securities or real estate – can be very advantageous to both the donor and to the church. By transferring ownership of the asset to the church, the donor avoids income taxes on the sale of the asset. Unlike gifts of cash that have already incurred an income tax, gifts of appreciated assets avoid the incurrence of capital gain tax. In addition, the donor receives an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the asset. That, in effect, makes gifts like these less costly to make. However, before making a commitment of this type, please consult your CPA, tax attorney or other financial advisor.
Planning Your Giving
Giving does not have to be in equal increments over the two-year period of Open Doors. You might be able to give more in the second year than the first. As you think about your financial commitment, think not only of your potential to give right now, but also of your potential to give in the future.
A Final Word
Finally, as you consider your financial commitment to the Lord’s work, you might want to consider estate planning. Many sincere, committed Christian people have not made provision for God in their wills and estate planning. Now might be a good time to do that. It might be as simple as including a provision in your will that 10 percent of the value of your estate will be donated to Ward Church at the time of your passing. Or, it could involve a planned gift such as a charitable remainder trust. While such gifts do not provide immediate financial benefit to Open Doors, they are marvelous gifts of faith to carry on the work of the church for future generations.
REACHING OUR GOAL
|Number of Gifts||Amount of Each Gift|
|250||Up to $2,000|