A Vision for Giving

In October 2013, St John’s launched ‘A Vision for Giving’. This was a way for members to deepen their understanding of their faith and join with Session and others at St John’s to support our Ministry and Outreach. The congregation have responded very positively.

The short version:

Giving is an essential part of worship and we are looking for our members to double their giving so that we can keep up and grow our Ministry and Outreach.

We want to make it easy for you to understand why we launched this programme and how you can be part of it. Below are links to information on the Vision for Giving and how you can give.

  • Summary brochure – the main elements of our vision, including why we need your support
  • Ways to Give – different ways you can give to St John’s
  • Automatic Payment form – our preferred method of receiving donations – easy for you and our Church office
  • Trust Fund paper – details about our Trust Fund (where it came from, why it helps and why we still need your support)
  • Future Finance Group report – everything that Session and Council considered while they developed the vision

Rev. Allister Lane stated:

This Vision for Giving at St John’s goes to the centre of our faith and how we live out our faith.

Read Allister’s sermon from 13 October 2013 launching the Vision for Giving. Or listen to it (mp3).

Listen to Allister’s sermon from the following week, where he talks about giving to give (mp3).

Anton Ojala, Chair of Council, made the following remarks in church on 3 November:

I’d like to share two reasons why I’m committed to the Vision for Giving.

The first could indelicately be referred to as ‘sweat equity’. I was a member of the Future Finances Group that put together the Vision for Giving. This was a very thorough process involving a group of ten members from St John’s with a wide range of expertise and approaches who meet many times over about six months, with most meetings going for at least three hours. We looked at giving from many angles including financially, theologically, psychologically and prayerfully. The report itself was put together and discussed in an exhaustive process to ensure the conclusions and recommendations were thorough and logically rigorous. The report was a consensus report personally supported by all members of the Future Finances Group and subsequently endorsed by the St John’s Session. This is probably the most comprehensive report I’ve ever been involved with personally or professionally.

So that’s one reason I’m committed to the Vision for Giving. But while that explains my position I can see that that might not be so persuasive for others. Which brings me to my second reason, relating to the substance of the report.

Allister has been speaking about the substance and thinking behind the Future Finances Group report for the last few weeks. But one aspect stands out for me. Membership of the church is primarily about relationship – with God and with each other. This emphasis on relationship sets our membership of the church apart from other groups or clubs we might belong to. And like any healthy relationship, this requires active participation. To be a member of St John’s requires us to participate and that involves giving of our time, our talents and our money. This aligns closely with Session’s priorities for St John’s: growing faith, increasing participation and building community. The core of the vision – the doubling of financial giving – doesn’t necessarily require all of us to give more, but it does require us all to carefully consider how we are participating and what we are giving, be in terms of our time, our skills or our money. And that’s why I’d encourage you all to consider filling out the pledge card, if you haven’t done so already. It’s not so much about the church keeping track of giving, but it’s about a physical symbolic action to represent your response to the Vision for Giving.