Category Archives: Stewardship and Tithing

$10,035.14 for the Crisis Center

We’ve met our $10,000 goal for a contribution to the Crisis Center for their new building. If you haven’t yet had a chance to contribute, don’t worry: the cost of the new building is around 500k, so every dollar still counts. We will continue to accept donations through August 31, 2022.

More information on the crisis center can be found at their website:

Dickinson County Donate Day 2022

The annual Dickinson County Donate Day with matching funds from the Community Foundation of Dickinson County will be on Friday, March 18, 2022. Whatever you give to the First United Methodist Church in care of the Foundation will be matched up to $5,000. Checks should be dropped off at the Foundation at 418 NW 3rd from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 18, 2022, or you can give online on that day at If Friday doesn’t work with your schedule, you can bring your check to the church office prior to that day. Make checks out to the Community Foundation with Abilene First UMC in memo line.

A Stewardship Clarification

In Sunday’s stewardship moment, I encouraged those who could afford to do so* to tithe their stimulus checks, especially if you’ve been wanting to step up to tithing. I had a question from someone seeking clarification, and I want to share my answer with everyone. I did not mean for you to give the entire $600 to the church**. What I meant to suggest was that you take a tithe (10% = $60) of the $600 and give that to the church as a supplement to your regular giving.

*Allow me to use myself as an example as someone who could do this. The COVID-19 pandemic has not been a financial hardship upon me. The $600 stimulus check is an unexpected windfall. When I tithe it and give $60 to the church, I’ll still have a $540 windfall that I’ll be looking to put to good use.
**Speaking on behalf fo the church, we would not say no to the full $600, but I was in no way suggesting that.

Dave Ramsey vs. Jesus Christ

Jenny and I have taken Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” It helped us a great deal, and it made a lasting change in our lives. But there were parts I was uncomfortable with because he encouraged people to move beyond good stewardship and to aim for great wealth. This came to mind recently because Dave tweeted:

“If you do rich people stuff, eventually you will be rich. If you do poor people stuff, you will eventually be poor.” [1]

I don’t think it’s that simple. Certainly, if you do “rich people stuff” like being born into wealth and privilege or inheriting a fortune, you will be rich. But the world is filled with too much inequity for everyone to be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps—especially since some people don’t have boots. Furthermore, the above statement seems to imply that the financial state we find ourselves in is the financial state we’ve earned, even if that were true it would still be problematic. Long before twitter, Jesus Christ said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20, NRSV)

and a few verses later,

“But Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:24, NRSV)

Wealth is not one of the goals of the Christian life. We are called to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, but storing up treasure for ourselves in this life is not the way of Jesus Christ. We are instead called to be good stewards that we might be good Samaritans.

[1] [1] James Martin. Twitter post, March 7, 2019, 8:02 a.m., Video

This past Sunday, I announced that we’re beta testing an additional new system for electronic giving online or on your phone (we’re keeping all the current ways of giving right where they are). Here’s a 34-second introductory video. I really have found it easy to use. Please contact me if you’re interested in helping us beta test this new service.

Expendable Fund Established

The following was received from Nancy Gugler, the Chair of the Finance Committee:

The Finance Committee proposed an expendable fund that could be used to facilitate non-cash gifts to the church.  The Church Council accepted the proposal and the “The Fund” has been established at the Dickinson County Community Foundation.

  • This fund will be helpful for those who wish to give stock to the church.  If they give the stock directly to “The Fund” it can be used twice as a tax deduction for the giver.  (The giver will not need to pay capital gain taxes on the stock given and will reap the tax benefits of the charitable gift).
  • Someone might want to give part of or all of their yearly withdrawal from their IRA or 401K.  If they give it to “The Fund” directly from either of them, they have the same advantages as above for tax purposes.
  • One could designate that their IRA or 401K be given to the “The Fund” when they die.  This would supersede what is in your will.
  • If a person designates in a will that they want a percentage of the estate or a set amount be given to “his or her” church, this is a great way to again avoid some taxes.  
  • You can make a charitable bequest of money, a specific property or even what’s left over after the rest of your estate is settled.  This type of charitable gift may qualify the estate for special tax benefits.  However, it will be part of the probate process so it might take some time and will be public.

“The Fund” has been established so that any funds put in it can be used at any time for expenses at the First United Methodist Church and the Church Treasurer can ask for whatever amount is needed from it to cover any expense of the church.  The money in “The Fund” will grow, tax-free to make the most of each person’s gift.

Online Giving Now Available

The Abilene First UMC online giving page has been launched. This secure page has options for viewing on a mobile device and is hosted by Vanco Services. Donations can be made through a checking account or a savings account. (Let us know if you’re interested in giving through a credit or debit card. If there is enough interest we’ll consider expanding the range of payment options) Donations can be set up on either a one time or a reoccurring basis.

We will continue to accept cash and checks on Sunday morning and regular direct EFT contributions through the church office. We are simply hoping to provide online giving opportunities to those who prefer them. You can learn more about online and EFT contributions on the “Giving” page of the church’s website.

2014 Contributions

generousTo be counted for the year 2014, contributions must be brought into the church office before noon on Wednesday, December 31, 2014, so that the money can be deposited prior to the New Year’s holiday. Any contributions received after the noon deadline on December 31, 2014 will be counted as a contribution for year 2015. If you choose to mail your contribution it must be postmarked by December 31, 2014 to be counted as a 2014 contribution.

2014 Stewardship Campaign

generousThis year’s stewardship campaign will be different than in previous years. Instead of the usual campaign which lasts four Sundays, we’ve been preaching on stewardship throughout the year. For this reason we’ll simply use the Sunday before thanksgiving as consecration Sunday and allow people to make a commitment for 2015.

For those who aren’t able to attend, we’ll follow up as we always do. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Our Tithe

It is November, and we are in the middle of a sermon series on stewardship. Because we will soon be encouraging you to carefully consider your giving to the church in 2014, it seems only fair that we share with you what our commitment will be. We believe you deserve to know whether or not we are practicing what we preach. We are committed to giving $8,400.00 in 2014. This represents a tithe on our income in the amount of $7,200 and an additional $1,200 because the church provides us with a parsonage rent free.