Financial Wellness: Congregational and Personal
Bookmark this spot!
From this page we will be acquiring and sharing information for you, from you. Help us to create a viral site where the church helps all the people during tough economic times.
Financial Literacy: 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, recommended by the UCC Pension Boards offers help for all financial stages of life.
Financial Literacy: Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times. Learning positive money management techniques can help you and your family adapt to tough economic times.
Financial Fitness: America Saves is a nationwide campaign in which a broad coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government groups helps individuals and families save and build wealth. Through information, advice, and encouragement, they assist those who wish to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, save for a home, save for an education, or save for retirement.
Support for Seniors: Benefits Check Up offed by the National Council on Aging includes more than 1,550 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Support for Homeowners: If your congregation has struggling homeowners, let them know about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's foreclosure prevention site.
Ohio State University Extension has a web-site where educational materials are available. More fact sheets about money management can be found here.
Below are some other links you may find helpful:
Job Search Tools:
(this page contains links to MANY resources)
Receipts are Up
Making Sound Strategic Choices in Anxious Times
Alban Institute Susan Beaumont and Alice Mann offer UCC pastors sound answers to tough questions.(click here)
The Church and Tough Economic Times:
What Should Congregations be Doing?
Anthony B. Robinson
The election is behind us, and the economic challenges? They continue. In fact, it seems likely that they will grow worse before they get better. In view of this, what should congregations and their leaders be doing? Get some answers here!
Religious Giving in Uncertain Times: Insights for Congregations and Faith-based Nonprofits
Prepared by The Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University
Keeping Faith Communities Vital in an Ailing Economy
Rising unemployment, gut-wrenching declines in the stock market and predictions of a recession worse than any since the Great Depression can spell sleepless nights for even the most faithful ministry leaders. (read full article)
From the UCC Writer's Group
Anthony B. Robinson: I Don't Deserve This!
You know what they say, "third time's the charm." But in this case, it was more curse than charm. It was the third kick that got my attention....
Lillian Daniel: God's Economy is Not a Roller Coaster
We've been riding a roller coaster in the financial world, and it has not been fun. This is not a roller coaster we stood in line for and got excited about....
Martin B. Copenhaver: Fear or Faith?
Fear in small doses can be a good thing. Fear is what told our ancestors to run from predators and spurred them on to go faster than they could have otherwise. And many of us never would have studied for math tests unless we had been motivated, in part, by fear of what would happen if we did not. So sometimes, in the short run, fear can prompt us to do the right thing....
Anthony B. Robinson: More of Everything?
"More of Everything" is the slogan for one of the big box retailers in our area. Its trucks roll by with those words emblazoned on the side: "More of Everything." Suddenly that slogan seems less like glad tidings than it does a haunting, sad chiding....
William C. Green: Looking Forward
We Americans are known for optimism and positive thinking. But now many of us are negative—and scared. Security as we've known it is being re-thought by all of us, government and citizens alike....
Donna Schaper: The Blessing of Limits
There is nothing like a good dose of reality to yield a blessing. Reality is always about limits, but in some centuries we obscure it with ideas about limitless growth and possibility....
(Click here for more tools and articles)
Stewardship Messages Online! In tough times giving can be difficult for people…even people of faith. Use these messages monthly to offer an inspiring, biblically-based reflection in your newsletter, on your bulletin board, your website, or use as an insert in your giving statement or Sunday Bulletin.
On December 18, 2015 President Obama signed into law the PATH (Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners) Act, which includes not merely an extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover, but which makes it PERMANENT.
The legislation keeps in place all of the previous requirements that must be met in order for the charitable transfer to qualify:
- The donor must be at least 70½ years of age when the gift is made;
- Transfer must be made DIRECTLY from the IRA administrator to the charity;
- The gifts from the IRA cannot exceed $100,000 per person ($200,000 for a couple with separate IRAs) in a given year;
- They can only be outright gifts (can’t fund a life-income gift such as a Charitable Gift Annuity or Charitable Remainder Trust);
- There is no charitable deduction, but the donor does not include the amount distributed in their federal taxable income;
- The distribution counts toward the donor’s Minimum Required Distribution for the current tax year;
- The law is retroactive to January 1, 2015 and is now permanent (2015 gifts must be transferred by December 31st);
- The Rollover provision applies only to Traditional IRAs, not to 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and other similar retirement plans – gifts must be made directly to a qualified charity and may not be made to donor advised funds, private foundations or supporting organizations. Gifts may also be made from Roth IRAs, but distributions from a Roth are generally tax-free to the donor anyway, depending on the donor’s age and the length of time the Roth IRA has been in place.
Contact your IRA plan administrator to proceed with a Rollover gift.
The United Church of Christ stresses giving a deliberately chosen percentage of income to support God's mission among people everywhere. Our church urges us to set at least 10% of income as our giving goal and suggests that we move toward that goal by giving an additional 1% of our income each year.
Using the information in this brochure, consider some of the ways that you, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, can cause God's mission to come alive through your action. Sections include:
- My Financial Contribution
- Increasing My Giving for the Future
- Weekly Percentage Giving Guide
Sold in 5-packs.
A reflection on tithing by the Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, Rector and Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas:
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse...and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. Malachi 3.10
A Word of Hope
Through the course of my ministry I have attended many spiritual retreats, participated in many Bibles studies, and have been a part of countless church meetings. One of the questions often asked, as a “get to know you” activity, is an invitation to share one's favorite passages of scripture. That is a very hard thing for me because there are so many Bible verses that I love. However, if I were to share the one passage of scripture that has changed my life the most it may well be this passage from the book of the prophet Malachi.
I remember the first time I consciously heard this passage. It was shortly after I arrived at the Cathedral of Hope. I was participating in a New Member Class and Bill Eure was teaching the class about stewardship. He quoted the scripture from Malachi and then explained how he had begun practicing tithing and what an impact it had made in his life. The lesson was so genuine, so heart-felt, that I decided to do what Bill had done, to practice tithing.
It is now six years later and I have never regretted that decision. This one passage of scripture, and the practice of it in my daily life, has changed how I feel about money. Now, if I am honest, I often wish I had more money. I frequently have to limit the things I buy. Sometimes I have to postpone the plans to do something for my home or yard. I have to carefully plan for major purchases. Those are the realities of our living, but since beginning the discipline of tithing, I have consciously given away more of my resources than ever before in my life, much more than just ten percent. What I have discovered is that God is true to God’s promises.
I am happier now than I have ever been and while there are many reasons for my happiness, I believe that one of the most important reasons is that I now spend my days in gratitude. I have shifted from being fearful of what I do not have to being grateful for what I do have. I am learning, day by day, week by week to be a generous person. I am learning the deep and profound joy of giving. In short, I have been set free. Money no longer owns me and I am grateful to God for that.
So, why not try it? What do you have to lose? After all, it is God who says, “Test me in this!” Why not try bringing God the full tithe, a full ten percent of your resources, and see what God does. I am convinced that God will do exactly as God promised and will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings upon you.
Holy One, you are so very generous to me. Let me be wholly yours so that I might be a blessing just as you have blessed me. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rector & Senior Pastor
Rev. Kate Huey
About eighteen months ago, I joined a woman’s exercise club, one of those reasonably-priced, three-day-a-week, thirty-minute-workout women’s exercise clubs that presented a golden opportunity to get in better shape so I would feel better and improve my health. What a great idea! There was only one catch, of course – I would actually have to show up and do the workout, because paying my monthly fee, carrying the ID card, and saying that I belonged to an exercise club wouldn’t take a single ounce off my weight or improve my endurance one bit.
What I did notice, however, when I set a rhythm to my life that included regular trips to the exercise club, was a definite “lift” to the way I felt, not just physically but mentally, too. Clearly, as we all know, exercise is good for us. It may not be easy, and it may take discipline, but it’s definitely good for us.
During the past two years, I’ve been making a similar discovery about generosity, and specifically about tithing. We live in a world that offers many “helps” to get our lives in order, to find a sense of proportion and balance and health, from exercise clubs and weight-loss plans to closet organizers and electronic calendars, from self-help books and Dr. Phil to financial advisors and “lifestyle coaches.” But I am convinced that these supports fall far short of the power of the gospel to transform our lives.
I’ve experienced this firsthand. As a member of the Stewardship and Church Finances Ministry Team of the United Church of Christ, I serve the region of the church that stretches from Virginia to Texas. Two summers ago, on a beautiful June morning, I was about to lead a workshop on stewardship at a meeting in a church in Lanett, Alabama. We were sitting on those little folding chairs in one of the church school classrooms, waiting to begin, and just visiting and getting to know one another. When I asked the folks for their own thoughts about giving, two women, one on either side of me, told me that they had tithed – that they had given a tenth of their income to God – all of their lives, and that they both had found it to be a blessing in their lives. One said, “When we bought a house, we thought we’d better back off from tithing for awhile to make sure we could afford it, but then we thought, ‘No, we’ll just keep tithing,’ and we’ve never missed a house payment.”
So there I was, the “expert on stewardship from Cleveland,” about to teach them about generosity and faithfulness. I don’t think so. The day I returned home from that trip, I stood by my kitchen counter (I can still see it now), and I opened my pay envelope. I looked at my pay stub. I thought about all the blessings in my life, and I felt so profoundly grateful. I thought, what was I waiting for? Until I could “afford” to tithe? Until I wouldn’t feel it if I did? I took out my checkbook and wrote a check to Pilgrim Church (my home congregation) for one-tenth of my paycheck. And it was the best feeling I’ve ever had when I wrote a check. I’ve been doing that ever since, each time I receive my paycheck, stopping to think about my blessings and give thanks, writing a check of the “first fruits,” and then living on the rest. Along with the other money I give to the special mission offerings (Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing, Strengthen the Church, and the Christmas Fund) and to other ministries of the wider church, and to charities I support, and the money I give to my children…all of those are the happiest checks I write.
But then I discovered two more things. First, I feel calmer about money in general. I have a better sense of priorities in my life; things feel like they’re in better order. For me, the gift of tithing is like the gift of the Sabbath – both of them establish a kind of balance and proportion in our lives – they are, quite simply, good for us. Didn’t Jesus say, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath”? (Mark 2:27)
Second, I discovered something that can best be related with a story about my two-year-old granddaughter, Allyson. Last spring, Ally stayed with us for eight days. Of course, I’ve loved playing grandma, giving her lots of affection and attention, and enjoying how cute and loveable she is. But for those eight days, I had to be aware of her at all times, to provide everything she needed, to think about where she was and whether she was safe, feed her, bathe her, clothe her…I had to invest a lot of my time and my self in her. When the time came to hand her back to her parents, though, I thought my heart would break. I had bonded with her in a very special and powerful way.
That was what I discovered when I decided to increase my giving dramatically, all at once, to the church. I found that I love my church even more. I know I loved it before, but the more I give, the more I care about Pilgrim Church. And, mysteriously, at the same time, the more I trust that the leadership of the church will use my gifts well. Generosity, I have come to understand, is a discipline to be practiced and yet, mysteriously, at the same time, it frees our spirit. This experience, which transformed my life – this movement into a spiritual, everyday practice – would not have happened if two women of faith had not quietly trusted that group with their own stories of giving that summer morning over a year ago. They showed me by their example and their calm faith what it means not just to say “I believe” but to really follow Jesus, not just on Sunday morning, but seven days a week.
In your life, how have you thought of the tithe?
How are rules and laws rather than freedom often connected with tithing, and how would exercising the tithe in freedom be a new and liberating “discipline” in your life?
What steps might you take to increase your giving, a little bit at a time, to reach a tithe in the future?
When have you experienced freedom and a “lift” because you exercised generosity?
Is generosity – like health – something that happens without effort on our part?
This page is under construction. While we are in the process of evaluating the year-round stewardship resources we provide on this page, we encourage your use of the archived stewardship resources below. Thank you for your patience.
Here is a PowerPoint overview of this resource. (10MB)
Supplemental resources for the Theme of the Month
May – Covenantal Relationships
Walking Together in All God's Ways
June - Stewards in Formation: Children,
Youth and Young Adults
February – Relationship with Others
On Holy Ground
March– Relationship with Money
Financial Health for Families & Congregations
April– Relationship with the Earth
May – Covenantal Relationships
Walking Together in All God's Ways
June - Stewards in Formation: Children,
Youth and Young Adults
July – Stewards of Responsible Freedom:
Saying Yes and Saying No
August – Gifted by God Our Talents, Vocation and
September – Peace and Justice
Restoring God's Intended Shalom
October - Stewards of God's Extravagant Welcome
MM, ONA, A2A, JP Church
Order these resources from UCC Resources or calling 800-325-7061
Annual Stewardship Theme Materials
Newly designed every year, these colorful, coordinated materials based on scripture can greatly help your congregation with its annual stewardship effort. Materials include full-color poster, four motivational bulletin inserts (including giving chart), worship folder, letterhead and envelope, note card, and commitment cards. Check out these NEW materials: 2017 Stewardship Theme Materials & Supplemental Campaign Resources
Not Your Parent's Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship, a completely revised edition of J. Clif Christopher’s classic. Written with the needs of pastors and stewardship teams in mind, Not Your Parents’' Offering Plate provides immediate, practical guidance to all who seek to help God’s people be better stewards of their resources.
Stewardship for Vital Congregations, by Anthony B. Robinson Theologically and biblically informed, it offers particular strategies and "how-to's" relating to money and giving. Stewardship for Vital Congregations includes questions for reflection, discussion, and action in each chapter.
Are You Ready to Talk about Money in Your Church? is a humorous quiz that takes a light approach to the serious subject of money. A great ice-breaker for stewardship conversations! Format is small, 8-page pamphlet, suitable for distribution in pews or to groups. From the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.
The Gratitude Path: Leading Your Church to Generosity, by Kent Millard. A new approach for local church giving that is accessible, achievable, and effective.The Gratitude Path is a five-session study designed for use by churches, leadership teams, and small groups. This step-by-step guide helps congregations grow in generosity by focusing on gratitude for God's blessings.
Local Church Planned Giving Manual, 4th edition. From wills seminars to church endowments and more, you and your church can explore theological, rational, and hands-on worksheets enhancing your ministry through the stewardship of planned giving.
Funding Your Future: A Capital Campaign Manual from the United Church of Christ
A capital or major fund campaign can be the greatest faith-raising experience in the life of your church!The more challenging the campaign goal, the the more heightened the experience for your congregation.
God's Gifts, My Gifts
Teaches that God is the source of who we are and what we have, and is our model for being generous and faithful. Elementary-age children will have fun in class or at home using these five colorful and snappy foldout sheets with individual and group activities, including scriptural texts and prayers to reinforce the church; personal decisions, loving God, self, and others. Use for confirmation and new member classes. Set includes five active lessons: Share Love With Your Offering (available as a single sheet for $.75 each), Seek God with Your Whole Heart, Rooted in Love, Love is the Greatest, Dare 2BU. Set of all five activity sheets plus stickers: 1-10 sets, $5.00 each; 11-25 sets, $4.50 each; 26 or more sets, $4.00 each.
A Stewardship Resource for the Local Church
This resource looks at ways to understand and approach money and mission realistically, given the changing conditions in congregations of the United Church of Christ today. Intended for use by lay leaders as well as clergy, it includes the theological background on the motivation for giving, as well as four programmatic approaches to fundraising in the church.
The Gifting God
This compact, 5-session group study based closely on the Bible will break open the subject of giving for everyone-no matter how much or how little they are currently giving. Excellent for small groups, for ysing one session at a time with committees (especially stewardship or finance committees, and trustees). Also very effective as a personal Bible study/devotion. Available in print or as downloadable PDF, $1.50 each.
What Scripture Says about Giving
This brief brochure for distribution to all church members looks at the question of how much to give to the work of the church and why. Also available in Spanish. $3.00/50.
a reading list of best books
Order from United Church of Christ Resources by calling 800-325-7061.
Barna, George. How to Increase Giving in Your Church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1997. To order call 800-446-7735 and ask for trade paperbacks.
Barrett, Wayne C. The Church Finance Idea Book: Hundreds of Proven Ideas for Funding Your Ministry. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1995. To order call 800-685-4370.
Bell, Perry. Effective Approaches to Growth and Stewardship in the Small Church, Congregations. September/October 1994. Vol. XX, No. 5, page 9f. An Alban Institute Publication. To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Borreson, Glenn L. A Step at a Time: Growing Givers through Stewardship Letters. Lima, Ohio: CSS Pub., 2001.
Burkett, Larry. Giving & Tithing. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991.
Callahan, Kennon L. Giving and Stewardship in an Effective Church: A Guide for Every Member. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
Coles, Romand. Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997. (excellent but technical)
Chaves, Mark, and Sharon L. Miller, editors, Financing American Religion. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira Press, A Division of Sage Publications, Inc., 1999. *
de Soto, Hernando. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
Dick, Dan R. Revolutionizing Christian Stewardship for the 21st Century: Lessons from Copernicus. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1997. To order call 800-685-4370.
Dunham, Laura. Graceful Living: Your Faith, Values, and Money in Changing Times. Grand Rapids: RCA (Reformed Church in America) Distribution Center, 2002. Replaces Christians Doing Financial Planning (1984). To order call 800-968-7221.
Durall, Michael. Creating Congregations of Generous People. An Alban Institute Publication, 1999. To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Foster, Richard J. Money, Sex, and Power: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.
Godfrey, Neale S., Caroline Edwards. Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children. New York: Simon & Schuster?Trade Paperbacks, 1993.
with Tad Richards. A Penny Saved: Teaching Your Children the Value and Life Skills They Will Need to Live in the Real World. New York: Simon & Schuster? Trade Paperbacks, 1996.
Grimm, Eugene, edited by Herb Miller. Generous People: How to Encourage Vital Stewardship. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994.
Hacker, Andrew. Money: Who Has How Much and Why. New York: Simon & Schuster/ A Touchstone Book, 1997.
Hargus, Clark. Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation (now includes two previously separate pieces, "Biblical Principles of Stewardship", with a "flexible worksheet", and "Faithful-Hopeful-Loving: A Three-Week Stewardship Program". Indianapolis: Ecumenical Center for Stewardship Studies (now Ecumenical Stewardship Center), 2000. To order call 800-835-5671.
Hadaway, Kirk. Behold, I Do a New Thing: Transforming Communities of Faith. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2001. *
Hammond, Dawn. A Handbook for Church Treasurers and Trustees. Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1998. Available on the Massachusetts Conference web site www.macucc.org., or by calling 508-875-5233.
Hinze, Donald W. To Give and Give Again: A Christian Imperative for Generosity. New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1990.
Hoge, Dean, and Patrick McNamara, Charles Zech. Plain Talk About Churches and Money. An Alban Institute Publication, 1997. * To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Hoge, Dean R., and Charles Zech, Patrick McNamara, Michael J. Donahue. Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Joiner, Donald W., and Norma Wimberly. The Abingdon Guide to Funding Ministry: An Innovative Sourcebook for Pastors and Church Leaders. Volumes 1, 2, 3. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995, 1996, 1997.
Klainer, Pamela York. How Much is Enough? Harness the Power of Your Money Story and Change Your Life. New York: Basic Books, 2001.
Levan, Christopher. Living in the Maybe: A Steward Confronts the Spirit of Fundamentalism. Manlius, New York: REV/Rose Publishing, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.
McFague, Sally. Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril. Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortess Press, 2000.
Mead, Lorin B. Financial Meltdown in the Mainline? An Alban Institute Publication. To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Meeks, M. Douglas. God the Economist: The Doctrine of God and Political Economy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989.
Moore, R. Laurence. Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Needleman, Jacob. Money and the Meaning of Life. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
Otfinoski, Steve, with Kelly Kennedy (illustrator). The Kid's Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1996.
Rodin, R. Scott. Stewards in the Kingdom: A Theology of Life in All Its Fullness. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Roehlkepartain, Eugene C., and Elanah Delyah Naftali, Laura Musegades. Growing Up Generous: Engaging Youth in Giving and Serving. An Alban Institute Publication, 2001. To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Ronsvalle, John L., and Sylvia Ronsvalle. Behind the Stained Glass Windows: Money Dynamics in the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996. Out of print; available in seminary libraries, or at www.bakerbooks.com, phone 606-957-3110.
with U. Milo Kaufmann. At Ease: Discussing Money and Values in Small Groups. An Alban Institute Publication, 1998. To order call 800-486-1318, ext. 4.
Schwarzentraub, Betsy. Afire with God: Spirit-ed Stewardship for a New Century. Nashville, Tenn.: Discipleship Resources, 2000.
Smith, Kenwyn K. MANNA In the Wilderness of AIDS: Ten Lessons in Abundance. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2002. *
Vallet, Ronald E., and Charles E. Zech. The Mainline Church's Funding Crisis: Issues and Possibilities. Manlius, New York: REV/Rose Publishing, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
Webb, Stephen H. The Gifting God: A Trinitarian Ethics of Excess. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. (excellent but technical)
Wuthnow, Robert. The Crisis in the Churches: Spiritual Malaise, Fiscal Woe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. *
Unknown. God and Mammon in America. New York: Free Press, 1994.
Use Mission Moments every week to tell a story about your congregation's connection with the wider church. Each issue - which is designed to be inserted with your newsletter or Sunday worship bulletin - is an effective way to inform your members about what they make possible through their gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission.