Consider It Nothing But JOY!

St. John’s Stewardship 2021

 

Dear Beloved, all friends of Christ at St. John’s,

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. . . .
                                                                        - James 1:2-3

 

These words remind us that trials and difficulties are a part of this world throughout Christian history.  The year 2020 has certainly brought challenge, change, faith and perseverance!   

 

In this year of challenge, St. John’s has not shrunk from service to God in the face of difficulty!  Our pastors, staff, and leaders rebuilt our worship experience, first putting Sundays in video online and then imagining and inventing parking lot services starting this summer!  ACE has been renewed online, youth programming and Sunday school has persevered on Zoom, in videos,  and in lessons even on our sidewalks!  Wednesday night services restarted, while Ablaze and Affirm blazed ahead around gorgeous campfires across our lawns.  Leadership Team meetings and adult Bible studies have continued faithfully on Zoom.  And a new, important team – the Return Team – has arisen to take deep dives into the reality of COVID in order to prepare our congregation as best it can to return to activities and in-person worship in due and safe time. 

 

Life is not the same, but in creative, faithful service, life abounds!  We are undaunted, and it shows!   

 

And yet, St. John’s, and all of us as leaders and members, are not unaware that real hardship and real loss also has found us in these times.  Sorrow and struggle are real.  For some, job loss is real.  For many, isolation is real.  St. John’s is here, doing our best to be God’s light and to bring a sense of new normalcy and support in these times. 

 

The words of James encourage us not just to face hardship with faith, but to do it JOYFULLY where we can!  Of course we will feel fear, worry, and weariness.  But when we can overcome these feelings with creative, joyful, loving, faithful ACTION, we are doing God’s work in the church and in the world.  It is with this spirit that St. John’s has persevered through the year!

 

Thank you to all of you who have supported St. John’s JOYFUL ACTION with your time, your work with our creative programming, your presence in our worships and education, and your continued giving.  We could not continue St. John’s work and ministry – God’s work and ministry - without all of you! 

 

In a few weeks, it will be Celebration Sunday 2020, and we will ask you as members to pledge your gracious giving for the coming year.  Celebration Sunday is Nov. 15.  We are asking you to think about this next year’s giving in four ways:

  1. Pledge if you can!  In these uncertain times, the more St. John’s can know in advance, the easier it is for our pastors, staff, and leadership to charge ahead in God’s work

  2. Give JOYFULLY!  Your JOYFUL faithfulness is the tool of our endurance     

  3. Have each other’s backs.  Not everyone is experiencing the pandemic the same way.  If you can give, please do!  And consider pitching in something for those whose circumstances are not as well-off as your own.  If you are less-well-off, know that we love what you can do and that we as the whole of St. John’s will aim high for God!

  4. Above all, know this:  “A gift opens doors;  it gives access to the great.” - Proverbs 18:16.  The pandemic world needs God’s work.  It needs St. John’s ACTION – and all of us as St. John’s - to do our part to shine light in the shadows of a weary world

 

We praise God for each and every one of you and for all you do for St. John’s, and for God in the world!  Thank you, in advance, for your prayer, pledging, and giving when we open the new year of 2021 as The Year of Joyful Action at St. John’s.  God bless you!   

 

The St. John’s Stewardship Team

MAKE YOUR PLEDGE IN THESE WAYS

  1. Bring the enclosed pledge card to parking lot drive-in worship on Celebration Sunday, Nov. 15

  2. Mail it to church at:  St. John’s Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 955, Lakeville, MN  55044

  3. Pledge Online by going to www.sjlcl.org, scroll to bottom of homepage and click on “Stewardship 2020-2021,” then click on “Online Pledging” and fill out the form

 

STRONGLY CONSIDER ELECTRONIC-RECURRING GIVING

 

        See the next page below for instructions on giving via tithe.ly, our electronic giving platform

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ST. JOHN’S CURRENT FINANCIAL STATUS

  • Staff and leadership have been proactive, careful stewards of your gifts:

    • Careful cost savings and in-person ministry reductions have reduced expenses about $78,000 compared to budget through September 30, 2020 (about 15% of 2020 budget).

    • While keeping up creative alternative ministry and programing!

  • Strong core giving continues (thank you!)

    • But we are behind budget about $91,000 in giving and program income through Sept. 30, 2020 (about 19%).

  • St. John’s leadership will make great use of federal PPP forgivable loan program funds.

  • We have been blessed to keep all staff on board and working hard for God and for you!

 

Now, some realities:

  • Since the pandemic began, even with all good efforts, giving is behind expenses about 10%.

  • The building fund is strong, but mortgage giving is behind expenses about 5%.

  • There are very few, if any, places left in our budget to cut expenses without adversely affecting St. John’s ministry and making choices we do not want to make. 

 

St. John’s request for prayerful consideration:

  • Pledge what you can!  Even if you don’t usually pledge, and even if you give electronically, a pledge this year will help us plan!

  • Give electronically!  Regular giving is especially helpful!  Automated, recurring giving is loved!  

  • Can you bump up general giving by 10% and mortgage giving by 5%? 

  • Will you include a one-time gift to help meet the current challenges?  

 

St. John’s is aiming for a vibrant, accelerating ministry through the pandemic and beyond!  We need our staff, our leaders, and you to help! 

HOW TO GIVE OFFERINGS ELECTRONICALLY USING TITHE.LY

 

  1. Login to www.tithe.ly/user?/

  2. As an individual you Do Not want the “Admin User Login” page so in the paragraph below click on the GREEN “please click here” button to log in to your personal account.

  3. If you don’t have an account please create one and then use your account      information to proceed with step #6.   Click on the “Create Account” bar, then create your account log in information by inputting your name, email address that you want associated with this account

  4.  Create a username and a passwords.

  5. Create a PIN number.  Keep these somewhere safe as you will need them each time you log in to tithe.ly

  6. This will bring you to a green screen with “Find a Church” bar at the top of the page.  Type is “St John’s Lutheran Church of Lakeville”.  No “period” behind the “St” and the full name as I just printed it.   This is our official name on tithe.ly.  You may have to repeat this step each time you log into Tithe.ly.

  7. Next to Set up a Payment click on the “Payment” box at the bottom of the screen. 

  8. Then click on either Credit/Debit or Bank Account at the bottom of the page.   Once you have selected a payment type click on the “+” to set up your account information.

  9. Now go back to the home/green screen by clicking on the “< “at the top right of your screen.  Select the “Give Now” bar.

  10. “Amount” enter what you want to give.

  11. “Give to” Select from the drop down arrow.  Select either “General and Benevolence” or “Mortgage.” ** See Note below

  12. Your payment method will be listed next.  You already inputted this information in step #7 & #8.

  13.  You can add a note or memo if you want.  This note will not have any impact on where your offering is directed.  The note/memo section is used for Registrations.

  14.  “Cover Fees?”   This means if you want to cover the credit card or banking fees associated with this transaction then you would click outside of the circle but inside the oval to move the circle to the right.  It is activated when it turns green.

  15.  “Setup automated giving?” This means if you want this payment to reoccur you would click outside of the circle but inside the oval to move the circle to the right.  It is activated when it turns green.

  16.  If you setup automated giving then “Give” select a timeframe from the drop down arrow and then “On” select a day from the drop down arrow.

  17.  Then click on the “Give (Your Amount)”bar.  Your offering amount should be listed.

  18. Then a Confirmation box will pop open where you can confirm your automatic giving by clicking “Ok”.

 

  • NOTE:  If you want to give to both “General and Benevolence” & “Mortgage” you will have to set up two separate accounts in tithe.ly, one for “General and Benevolence” and another for “Mortgage.” You will need to repeat steps 9-18 for each of these accounts.

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© 2019 SJLCL. All rights reserved. P.O. Box 955. 20165 Heath Avenue. Lakeville, MN 55044. (952)469-4916.