The Endowment Fund for St. John’s United Church of Christ is there to maintain the assets of our congregation so we are free to do ministry. On Sunday, June 14th, 2015, right after church, they will be sponsoring a presentation on how to have your medical house in order through Texas Advance Directives.
What are church endowments good for anyway?
– Here an explanation from the Local Church Planned Giving Manual:
“Old First,” known as the “church of the open mind, the open heart and the open door” ministers in a deteriorated area of the city, where it has served for over 150 years. The surrounding community is ethnically diverse and economically poor. The membership of “Old First” has ebbed and flowed as immigrant groups arrived in the city and eventually made their way to the suburbs. Presently, under vital pastoral and lay leadership, the congregation is experiencing a renewal, attracting new members and reaching out again to the neighborhood. The ability of the congregation to be so engaged is due in no small measure to their endowment. For instance, it provides additional funds for an associate pastor to serve the community and engage in a youth ministry.
St. John’s, located nearby, is of similar age to Old First. It is known as an “ethnic” church, given its historic roots. It is served by a part-time pastor who gathers the elderly few in a cavernous Gothic sanctuary for worship on Sunday, which basically constitutes St. John’s ministry. The outlook of this declining congregation is one of survival. A small endowment, whose principal is dwindling, maintains the congregation. The members are determined to “keep the doors open” as long they live, or “until the money runs out.” Lacking is a sense of mission, an openness to the community, and a vision for tomorrow.
Some congregations question why we have endowments. Some church officers would even say it is not wise Christian stewardship, and perhaps even unbiblical. Some leaders feel that endowments are a deadly influence on the life and giving of a congregation, in the same way that too much capital reserve can lull a business into complacency. Jesus offers a perspective that does not condemn money, nor the accumulation of wealth, as long as it serves a worthy purpose and does not become the object of worship. Money, especially when invested, can tempt individuals and congregations to place undue reliance and trust in it, as with the rich young ruler (Mk. 10:17–31) or the builder of bigger barns (Lk. 12:16–21). In these scriptures, we hear the legitimate warnings and harsh judgments of Jesus. In contrast, the parable of the talents (Mt. 25:14–30) has Jesus commending the servant who multiplied what he had been given, that it might serve an even greater usefulness.
(More on Endowments at http://www.ucc.org/giving/pdf/giving-manual-section-04.pdf)