Stewardship: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Annual Stewardship?
A. This is a four-week campaign every fall where we invite members to make a financial pledge for the church’s annual operating budget in the coming year.
Q. What is a pledge?
A. An annual pledge is a commitment in faith to give to the church’s annual operating budget in the coming year (in this case for 2020). Typically, people make a pledge in the fall.
Q. Are you asking me to give money in 2019 for 2020?
A. We are not asking you to give anything for 2020 now. The church is simply asking you to make a pledge for 2020. In other words, let the church know what you plan to give for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2020. (However, some members do choose to pre-pay next year’s pledge in the current year for tax purposes.)
Q. Why is the campaign happening now?
A. Receiving pledges now gives the vestry (our 12-person board of elected laypersons) plenty of time to plan and set the budget for next year. It gives the rector time to make staff hires or program changes for the next year if the budget will allow. Traditionally, St. Alban's, along with most Episcopal churches, conducts a Stewardship campaign in the fall for the following year.
Q. It seems like were always talking about money. Why?
A. It might seem this way due to our historic Our One Foundation Capital Campaign, to which many of you have generously pledged. We’ve talked about that campaign a lot because it affects all of us and we believe it’s important to keep you in the loop. The Annual Stewardship campaign, however, is just four weeks as in past years. All healthy families, including church families, communicate openly and honestly about money. For Christians, money is not secret or taboo. It belongs to God. Jesus talked about it a lot. We feel four weeks a year is reasonable.
Q. Is the church asking members to increase their pledge by 10%?
A. The vestry has determined that a 10% overall budget increase is needed to support our ministry goals for 2020. Any overall budget increase will be supported by members' pledges, whether they are from new members making a pledge, existing pledgers increasing their pledge (or maintaining their past pledge amount), or existing members making a pledge for the first time. Stewardship is something the entire congregation does together. Ultimately, whatever is actually pledged will determine the 2020 budget.
Q. What does the vestry hope the 2020 budget will accomplish?
A. Our 2020 budget is designed to support our mission and meet the expanding needs of our rapidly growing parish. It will cover the following items:
- The annual salary for the Assistant Rector for a full year (the Rev. Neal McGowan became our Assistant Rector on July 1, 2019. Before that, from January to June he was on a curate's salary which was partially subsidized by a Curate Grant from the Diocese of Texas; this grant ended June 2019);
- A full-time staff member for communications, hospitality, and volunteer coordination;
- An additional part-time sexton or cleaning service;
- A part-time bookkeeper.
Of course, we also want to continue the excellent ministries and programs we currently have. The cost to maintain those ministries is projected to increase due to rising costs and significant church growth. (To give you an idea of our growth, in 2016, we had 180 people per Sunday. We now have 300 or more per Sunday on average. Each year since 2015, we have grown from 8% to 25% per year. In 2019 alone we've grown by 25%. This growth drives cost increases in everything from utilities, pastoral care, nursery supplies, and staffing needs.)
Q. How can I submit my pledge?
A. If the church has your address, we mailed you a pledge card. Extra cards are available in the narthex (church lobby) or at the church offices (2900 W. Waco Drive). You can return your completed pledge card in the mail, in the offering plate, or by dropping it off at the church office. You can also fill out a pledge card online at bit.ly/pledge2020.
Q. How much should I give?
A. St. Alban's encourages our members to use the biblical standard of the tithe (See Numbers 18:21). Of course, this is a decision for each household to reach prayerfully. We are grateful for all gifts. (Our average pledge for 2019 was $3,771.)
Q. What is a tithe?
A. Tithe means “tenth,” or 10% of annual income. If you feel you can't give at that level, we still encourage you to think about your giving in terms of percentage of income. If you're retired or on a fixed income, a tithe might mean something different at this stage of life. The important thing is that God calls us to joyfully give towards the work of the church from what God has given us.
Q. Once 2020 rolls around, how do I send in monies towards my pledge?
A. There are several ways:
- Place a check or cash in the offering plate on Sundays (if you use cash, put it in the giving envelope provided in the pew rack and write your name on it; please write “Annual Pledge” on the memo line);
- Set up a recurring gift using your bank's online bill pay service (easy for you, no transaction fee for the church);
- Give securely online with a credit card using RebelGive (click the blue logo at the bottom right of this page; use this link to make one-time gifts or set up a recurring gift).
- You can also transfer stock or other securities. Contact our Business Manager, Nancy Bennett, with any questions about how to give.
Q. How often should I make a contribution towards my pledge?
A. That’s up to you. Members give weekly, monthly, quarterly, or in a one-time contribution. The most helpful thing for the church is that you use your pledge card to let us know when to expect your contributions. If your giving schedule changes, please let us know.
Q. Can I prepay my pledge?
A. Yes. Some of our members will choose to prepay: they will give part or all of their 2020 pledge in 2019. If you choose to prepay, the church will deposit the monies now, but will keep these gifts in a separate account. The church will not draw on prepays until 2020.
Q. I give electronically, but I miss putting something in the offering plate on Sundays. What can I do?
A. Our pew racks have laminated offering cards that represent a gift given electronically. So if you give online, we invite you to put one in the plate the next time you're in church!
Q. Who is in charge of Annual Stewardship at St. Alban's?
A. Parish finances are the responsibilty of the vestry. Each year, the vestry delegates a Stewardship Committee of laypeople to oversee the Annual Stewarship Campaign. Our 2020 Stewardship Committee includes Doug Smith (Co-Chair), Laurinda Thorp (Co-Chair), and Dean Riley (Communications Chair). Additionally, the Rev. Neal McGowan and the Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman serve in an advisory capacity.
Q. I've got other questions. Whom can I contact?
A. Send an email to your Stewardship Committee members at email@example.com; You can also contact the vestry; our business manager, Nancy Bennett; or the clergy. We're glad to talk stewardship!