In a year of upheaval, when economic times are particularly tough, churches might be tempted to hold on tightly to their financial resources. Contributing to ministries beyond the congregation, much less making extra gifts, may not be a very high priority.
But recently, two Disciples congregations did just that.
Full Gospel Christian Church in Detroit, MI, is a small congregation, part of a church plant 15 years ago. The congregation has lived through lots of changes in those 15 years and has seen its share of ups and downs, says pastor Dr. Gwendolyn Pettway, but “this year, we’ve experienced a bit of stability and our financial health has improved.” When DMF Day rolled around last month, Pettway saw the invitation to the online giving day, and Full Gospel sent a contribution to Disciples Mission Fund, an offering made in gratitude in the midst of an uncertain time.
First Christian Church in Jefferson City, MO, also made an extra gift to the Disciples Mission Fund this summer at a time when they knew budgets were stretched. A surplus from 2019 gave them a little extra, and they decided to pass it on to the denomination.
“Our congregation is committed to tithing our budget,” said John Blosser, the congregation’s Mission Team chair, “which means that 10 percent of what we take in has to be shared beyond our walls. Supporting DMF is a major part of our mission giving because we know the lives touched and transformed through our collective witness as Disciples.”
A study of congregations across religious traditions, recently published by the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, found that overall, giving to churches has declined since the pandemic began last spring. However, more than half of the congregations surveyed in the study indicated that participation in their virtual worship services had increased. The study also found that many congregations – like First Christian and Full Gospel – found ways to serve their communities and contribute to other causes, even when finances were tight.
Both congregations could have tucked that money away, saving it up for an uncertain future. Instead, they chose to think beyond their own survival and to be part of the work God is doing through the whole church. Their contributions to Disciples Mission Fund will support over 70 ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), from virtual regional assemblies to support groups for pastors, from congregational resources to global mission partners. Contributions to DMF make it possible for Disciples to be a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
Congregational giving reports likely have landed in church mailboxes. Be sure to review your congregation’s DMF year-to-date contributions. You can also visit www.disciplesmissionfund.org, where you can find shareable DMF graphics to use in your e-newsletters, social media, or virtual worship. Questions about DMF or your church’s giving? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.