At First Presbyterian Church we speak of giving not as support for the church but as a building block of discipleship. The implication of this idea is that generosity is learned behavior. To be sure, some people are generous by nature - "He would give you the shirt off his back." But most of us have to discover that generous is something we really want to be and then work to achieve it.
In 2013, as part of our Vision 2016, we set for ourselves the goal of becoming a congregation of generous people. That is a significantly different objective than raising enough money to underwrite the budget. This is not to say that the dollar amount of congregational giving is irrelevant. Of course we have to have enough money to pay the bills. So, yes, the amount of our giving will shape the ministry of our church for another year. But becoming a generous person and sharing in good measure will change our lives forever.
The Journey to Generosity, like faith itself, is a life-long endeavor. We don't reach a point at which we "have it'. Rather we "press on toward the goal…to which God has called" us. (Philippians 3:14)
We measure the church budget by the dollars and cents the people give; we measure generosity by the congregation's attitude about giving. Both measures have to be taken.
At FPC we've seen a significant increase in giving over the past five years. In addition to an average annual increase of 8%, we raised $250,000 in three months for renovation of the worship center.
More importantly, we've created a healthy giving climate in the congregation. We have a new understanding of the purpose and value of material resources and how we use them for the cause of Christ. We have virtually eliminated any discomfort with talking about money. We've cultivated the gracious art of saying "no". We've enjoyed a positive response to conversations about wills and bequests. We still have the annual Stewardship Campaign. But it is no longer seen as a necessary evil. Now the annual appeal is seen as a challenge to stay the course on the Journey to Generosity.
200 South Lone Oak Dr.Leesburg, FL 34748