The Importance of Giving
The work of the Lord requires the talents and resources of His people. Each year, Westminster develops a budget which supports its mission and ministries. This work can only be accomplished through the tithes and offerings of the congregation. In addition to providing the financial needs of the church, giving is a vital part of each believer’s spiritual development and maturity. Giving requires two things of each of us: Faith and Faithfulness.
Giving is an expression of our faith that affirms God as our provider and His ability to supply all that we need. We trust God by giving in faith. Our Lord promises to give every obedient Christian an overflowing, joyous life regardless of his financial position. Jesus told His followers, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”
Faithful giving is not always easy and can come with everyday challenges (growing family needs, fixed income for retirees, loss of a job, an unexpected major expense, saving for retirement, etc.). Faithful giving, based foremost on faith, requires several things which Christians must develop as they mature in Christ, including:
- Proper intent for giving – giving is an act of worship to honor and glorify God (not ourselves) and to show our love for God. To truly trust God for your finances, you must also keep your heart and motives pure.
- Good stewardship of our finances – budget within our means; systematic giving plan is included in our budget; careful use of credit cards, learning “how to afford” giving back to God, etc.
- Giving from our heart that is done willingly, generously and cheerfully.
- Giving at the beginning of the month instead of the end of the month – not literally but figuratively, i.e., we give from the bounty that God has provided not from what is leftover.
- Caring nature for others – Follow Jesus’ command to “Love others as well as you love yourself.”
- Asking God to supply our needs – Faith requires action.
Giving Honors the Lord
Giving is a part of our stewardship of the things that God has freely given to us and is a vital part of our spiritual development and maturity. In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to give a tithe (1/10) of their first fruits. Under the New Covenant, we have every gift of God’s provision including the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus commands us to give freely from the heart (Matt. 23:23). To support God’s work, Paul commands the NT church to “set aside as you have prospered” (1 Cor 16:2). In 2 Cor 8:8-9 and 9:6-8, Paul encourages joyful and generous giving “not of commandment or necessity but out of genuine love.”
As your faith in God and His love and trustworthiness grows, you will learn to give according to the principles noted above. We learn to take God at His word to supply from His unlimited resources. You give as God supplies.
Difference between Tithes and Offerings
Your tithe represents the basis of Christian stewardship in response to honoring what God expects from you as laid out in Scripture. Offerings are gifts made above and beyond the scriptural tithe. Your tithe is used to support the General Budget of the church while Offerings are used to support specific areas for “designated” uses. When giving to Westminster, your donation is applied to the Budget by default unless a Designated Fund is specified. WPC currently accepts donations in the main Budget area plus four designated areas.
- Budget (General Fund) – These funds are used to pay for everyday operations of the church including salaries, office expenses, utilities, maintenance, budget debt service, ministry programs, missions, and benevolence ministries.
- Pledge of Faith – These contributions are used to provide additional supports for various mission activities (above that provided by Benevolences in the General Fund Budget).
- Debt Retirement Fund – All contributions to the Debt Retirement Fund go directly to reducing the principal of the bank loan that the church currently owes.
- Renovation & Deferred Maintenance Fund – Contributions are used for the renovation of the Fellowship Hall and the adjacent classroom spaces.
- Alms – All contributions to this fund are used to provide financial support to congregational members in need. Contributions to Alms may be placed in the special Alms Box at the back of the sanctuary (next to the sound booth).
Ways to give to Westminster
- Sunday Morning Worship Services – Place your check or cash in the offering plate as it is passed during the offertory time.
- At the Office – Mail or bring your contribution to the church office during the week.
- Make a periodic payment from your bank account – Two approaches are available:
- You can set up eCheck/ACH bank draft payments through a secure website. This website allows you to schedule periodic payments to either the General Fund or one the four Designated Funds. Click the following link for a detailed description for how to set up eCheck/bank drafts on the online giving website.
- Use your bank’s online bill payment system to set up a recurring (or one-time) payment that is mailed to the church by your bank. The check should be sent to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3333 Oak Ridge Drive, Bryan, TX 77802. If applicable, specify a Designated Fund in the check payment notes/memo area (one of the four designated funds listed above).
- Please Note: For those who want to automate their giving to WPC, bank payments are the most cost effective approach for the church because there is no cost involved, i.e., the bank does not charge you or the church for preparing and mailing the check to the church. However, ACH bank drafts are safer for both you and Westminster in that payments are transferred electronically. If you have further questions on using bank payments, please contact the church Treasurer, Walter Haisler, at (979) 690-0110 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Give Online – WPC offers two ways to give online:
- Use your credit or debit card at a secure website. This website allows you to set up periodic (or one time) payments to either the General Fund or to one of the four Designated Funds.
- Use your cell phone for giving by sending a text message to this special WPC phone number: 979-200-4600. In order to use text giving, you will need a credit card.
- Click one of the following links for a detailed description of how to use the online giving website or for text message giving.
- Please note: If it is not your normal practice to pay your credit card balance in full each month, the church would prefer that you use a different giving approach.
- Stock and Bonds – Gifts of appreciated stocks can offer tax savings by avoiding capital gains taxes and receiving a tax deduction for the full value of the equity on the date of transfer.
- Giving through Estate Planning – Some church members may wish to provide for future and longer-term giving to the church. This can be done by remembering Westminster Presbyterian Church as you do your estate and will planning or by making a special gift now or later to establish an endowment fund.
- Vehicles – If you wish to donate a vehicle, there are special regulations that the church and donor must follow.
- Other Non-Cash Gifts – In some cases, the church can accept non-cash gifts when they are suitable for the church’s use. You may be able to receive tax credit for non-cash contributions. An acknowledgment of your donation will be mailed within 30 days of your contribution. Per IRS rules, the donor is responsible for determining the value of the item donated. The Church is not allowed to assign a value of the donated item.
For further Information on stock or non-monetary gifts and including Westminster in your estate planning, please feel free to contact the church Treasurer, Walter Haisler, at (979) 690-0110 or by email email@example.com.
Online Giving to Westminster – Using a Credit or Debit Card, or an eCheck Bank Draft
To give a gift to Westminster using a credit or debit card, you can use the secure Westminster giving website at http://www.churchofficegiving.com/dl/?uid=west3333122. You will need to setup an account for this website but the process is straightforward. Detailed instructions on how to setup your giving account, using the website for single or recurring gifts, viewing your online giving record, etc. are provided here. To download a printable pdf copy of the Online Giving Instructions, click here.
My Giving to Westminster – Online Membership and Giving Records Website
Westminster maintains a secure member website which allows church members to view and edit their personal data (and the data for their family members) including: name, address, contact, and other information. In addition, members may view their personal record of giving by date, which fund was contributed to, etc. Members may also view the church membership directory to obtain contact information. Click this link for detailed information on how to use the Online Membership and Giving Website. To download a printable pdf copy of these instructions, click here.