Why do I have to give to church?
It’s important that you are here journeying with us but when you hang out with us, you aren’t required to give financially. However, the church does pay rent and utilities, helps people financially and we have a pastor and an office manager that like getting paid. So we rely on the generosity of folks like you to make small and large gifts so that we can meet our financial obligations and so that we can be a force for change in our communities and our world.
What is tithing?
Does one need to pay dues to join the church?
I don’t have a big income – am I going to be made to feel guilty about not giving enough?
Yes, some churches have ‘dues’, some require you to submit a pledge indicating the amount you plan to give each month, some place heavy emphasis on tithing (giving a certain % of your income, usually 10%) and some just ask that people give as they are able and hope that pays the bills. At WPMF, we tend towards the latter option, with regular financial updates to the congregation so that all are aware if there are financial issues. Most of the time this has worked for us.
How are financial gifts to WPMF used?
This changes slightly from year to year but for the sake of transparency, here is a breakdown of the larger budget categories and their approximate percent of the total budget.
Compensation: 64% (FT pastor, PT office manager and PT custodian)
Children’s Ministry: 1.4%
Community Outreach: 1%
Elders Expenses: 1%
How can I know more about the budget and provide input?
I want to know how the church is doing financially throughout the year. How can I do that?
This topic is discussed in detail below but here is a summary. Every year in December, the deacons hold a budget meeting where the budget for the upcoming year is unveiled, discussed and hopefully approved by the congregation members present. Your voice is welcome and needed. The deacons have also been asked to hold a mid-year financial check-in meeting, where we discuss the YTD budget, giving and expenses. Your input is also welcome there. Lastly, if you are interested in church finances, it’s quite likely that your interest might have an outlet as a deacon of the church. Feel free to talk with one of the current deacons about this kind of giving of your energy and expertise.
Can I give to a certain part of the budget?
No, gifts made to the church go to the General Fund and are used to meet the needs of the general budget. However, we do have several Designated Funds, to which people are allowed to specify in the memo line the portion of their check to be given. For instance: The memo line of your $200 check may say, $50 College Fund, $150 Offering. Checks with no designation will be applied to the general fund.
These Designated Funds change over time but currently you can contribute to the following funds: Sharing Fund/Mutual Aid, Youth Fund, Mennonite College Fund, Comegys School Fund and the Youth & Young Adult Ministry Development Fund. The deacons monitor these fund balances and decide when there is a need to ask the congregation for help supporting the specific fund.
I want to know more about the current designated funds.
- Sharing Fund/Mutual Aid: We set money aside to give financial aid to folks in our congregation when requested (these requests are reviewed by the elders and the deacons) but you can also contribute directly to this fund. We also leverage our own mutual aid fund with the Everence Sharing Fund provided via our connection with Everence and because of those in the congregation that own financial products via Everence. Talk with the WPMF Everence Advocate for more information about this connection.
- Youth Fund: This is the “account” where our youth collect the funds they raise throughout the year. In the past, these funds have been used for going to convention or participating in missions projects.
- Mennonite College Fund: This is a gathering place for scholarship monies for current students at Mennonite colleges. Funds are divided equally between these students on an annual basis.
- Comegys School Fund: Comegys School is a neighborhood public school where individuals from WPMF have spent time working with school administrators to help provide supplies and better facilities, at a time when public school funding is being cut by the state government.
- Youth & Young Adult Ministry Development Fund: This fund is used to help young people participate in leadership roles in ministry programs. In the past we have helped individuals in ministry programs at camps and at Crossroads. The church sets aside a certain amount each quarter ($100) to help fund populate this fund but individuals may also contribute to it.
- Building Fund: This fund hold monies given to the church in the distant past as a nest egg in case we were to ever purchase our own building.
- Sabbatical Fund: This fund is a place where each year the deacons stash money in order to save up for the extra expenses in a year in which our pastor goes on sabbatical. This is eventually used to pay someone to act in a pastoral role during our pastor’s sabbatical.
- Redemption Housing Fund: These monies were granted to WPMF from Franconia Conference as we began our support of Redemption Housing. The funds were given for the purpose of providing education to the congregation concerning support of returning citizens.
Can I write a check to the church and designate in the memo line that it be used for an individual?
Technically, no. Someone cannot make a tax deductible gift to the church and request that the church forward that gift to a non-tax exempt entity, thus incurring a tax gain to the giver by funneling their gift via the church. Money given to the church is given to the church to do with it as it sees fit. This becomes an issue when there is a specific family need and the church wants to provide mutual aid. The church can give aid but individuals giving to the church and hoping to aid the same family, must designate their check to the church’s Mutual Aid Fund. Any further designation, the church is legally not bound to honor. Outside of the issue of tax law, the church will note any gift intent noted in the memo line and seek to honor that intent.