Sunday, November 5, 2017

Share With You Our Very Selves

Homily this weekend covered: 
1) St. Paul's beautiful words about his missionary motive
2) how our parish has tried to emulate Paul this year
3) update on reallocating money from the campaign
4) concrete answers for getting out of our budget deficit 
5) concrete tool to help us achieve our financial needs

Stewardship 2017

Paul to Thessalonians 

“We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. 
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us. 
You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. 
Working night and day”

Paul is in Corinth and he’s writing to his very first letter.

This is very likely the first written piece of the New Testament.

Two things I want to touch on.

First: the beautiful line:

“With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.”

This is what Christian missionary spirit should be, hat Christian life should look like; it is the first written statement of what pattern a local church should be built on.

“we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well”

our very selves

As Jesus was a gift to us, Paul determined to be self gift to his fellow Christians.

“Total gift of self” is a phrase we hear often.

It's at the core of the Christian story, starting with Jesus.

A year ago, as we were again preparing for our stewardship renewal weekend (which is next weekend) I preached on the idea that “Every thing I have I was given”.

All of our talents, abilities, even our breath, is not of our making.

I connected that to the Spiderman principle of “With great power comes great responsibility,” that, my gifts are given to me to be used wisely, 

I have the power; I must use that responsibly.

Jesus and Paul take that a step further with the idea of total gift of self 

“My gifts are given to me, and given to me to shared lovingly, generously, and sacrificially.”

And that ties in then with the second point of the Thessalonians quote:  

“You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. 
Working night and day”

Paul was determined to give his very self and give it fully, holding nothing back.

Paul had become aware on the road to Damascus, not merely of what he was doing wrong, but also of the generous love of God, who would call him and save him rather than condemn him.

So he ran around the known world like he had his pants on fire, giving of himself, because he had been given so much.

That really is the starting point of stewardship.

Not that “We all have been given so much time, talent, and treasure, that we better share it.”

But that we have been given so much more than even that.

We have been given life and breath by our Father.

We have been given the saving death and resurrection of his Son.

We have been given new life and new direction by their Spirit.

And so our first thoughts on stewardship should really be thanks and praise to God and a burning desire to make his salvation and goodness to us known to others

So let’s start with that:

We have been blessed with 723 families

Between July of 2016 and June of 2017 (our fiscal year) we have had 30 baptisms

2 adults enter full communion with the Church

117 confirmations

44 first communions

5 weddings

20 funerals 

I calculate from the number of Hosts we buy, about 60,000 Communions

and hundreds if not thousands of confessions heard in this church 

But let’s not stop there

Dozens of parishioners go on retreats

Dozens of students go on mission trips 

About 160 on Totus Tuus 

Lenten Bible studies and a book study with our seminarian, Tony

Hundreds of hours from Altar society, PCCW, and St. Ludmillas, KofC, Saunders County Mens Group

Weekly Rosary on Tuesdays evenings, and before weekday and Sunday Masses

and probably 4000 or 5000 private holy hours in the church

We have untold hours of service and labor

maintenance and repairs; cleaning and cooking 

Teaching CCD, lectoring, singing, ushering

Committees served on,

Diaper drives, paper drives, and Lord only knows how many pounds of food and toilet paper for food pantry

For all that, I say “Thank you.”

We have a parish that longs to give of its very self and longs to work and live generously.

Just like Paul described. 

Soon you'll be getting your annual stewardship card in mail: sent out Friday morning 

What are those things that we can do?

Don’t look just for service opportunity.

Can you do something to make you grow?

Take a class, bible study, or make a retreat?

Plug: Light of the world, November 18-19th

Sign up by next weekend, 12th 

Contact Sally Gerdes

Can do other things not just on stewardship card 

Ministerial Association: could use fresh beef or pork at pantry

People ask about other benevolence or even a benevolent society: talk to me

Gas requests and lodging calls this week

Put your ideas on card and put them in the collection next week or mail send to office. 

I want to go back to updating you on stuff, let me update you about campaign reallocation

Don’t have an exact number of replies handy, but percent-wise, about 50% of all dollars given, we have heard back about

About $600,000

School: $250,000

Roof: $160,000

Sanctuary: $105,000

Front doors: $40,000

Speakers: $70,000

Budget shortfall: $45,000

Leave in: $50,000

Committee Decides: 155,000

Other: $65,000

Added a new category after town hall meetings: “Access, Safety, Security”

Several “Other” items had been for those type of things

Had been a big component of the original campaign plan

Might be the kind of thing then I would encourage “Committee Decides” to pursue

Might not be a brand new elevator 

But two south doors need help

Council decided on roof bids and I put in order Thursday

Speaker estimate, ready to go

Doors, still working

School: getting a team together to start looking at what we can do for $250-300K

Sanctuary, always going to be the one we could do in stages 

And again, all this is with just have the responses in already. 

Another half million, unalloted

Other updates:

No more Campaign auto-withdrawls after Dec 31


Confusion between 2nd collection, green envelope, yellow envelope, Capital Campaign

One green envelope “Building Maintenance Fund”

Second Collection still sometimes might go elsewhere (disaster relief), but Building Maintenance would remain in 2nd Collection

Note: recorded for taxes too

Heard at the town hall meetings on the breaking up the building campaign a lot about informing people more

Hard: some people want to know everything, some don’t at all.

“Don’t clog up Mass with it”

We have had Finance town halls but always had poor turnouts 

What we learned: when things are good, no one shows up; when struggling, people wish they have been told sooner

Bulletin will now include:
Sunday collection
Collection YTD 
Collection vs. Budget YTD

Track our health 

$1,268,176 = 2018 budget 

Divided by 52

$24,388 = need weekly 

So, in the 10th week, Mid March, total collection vs. $243,880 

You know we are hurting

Told you for two years now, serious deficits

and next year projected $196,000 shortfall, and that for a third year in a row 

What do we do?

Don’t just yell we need more money

Finger pointing:
Givers say ask the non-givers
Non-/small-givers point to those who have the most to give
Both point to the middle group, thinking they could increase more than either end

How do we all help? 

Rather than targeting one, how do we make a plan to move everybody up?

Finance committee been working on this for over a year now

Old saying: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.”

Well, when elephant is $200K deficit, gotta figure out how big a bites to take and how fast to chew.

Committee worked hard on the numbers to create a plan to help 

(Found in the bulletin, in the back of the Church, and on stewardship card.)

Pyramids/“Candy corn” 

5 ranges (from $1-499 up to Over $5,000)

And 178 families with nothing recorded 

10 And 10 Plan


10% of each level to move up one level

$2300 right now, can you bump up to above $2500?

Other part of the 10, give 10% more of current amount

So. If $1500, then another 150 for the year?

and then $50 per month challenge

178 no recorded giving

Another 148 under $500

Put together, of these 326 families giving less that $500 a year, 

can we get 100 families to give $50 a month, $12 a week?

Committee ran the numbers, and 

If we got that next year, we could half our shortfall 

Yes, only half.

It's an elephant.

One bite at a time.

How do we encourage new givers and make current givers more regular?

One more thing to share with you


We know that many people rely on electronic banking, 
rely on phones, 
don't carry cash

Text 77977

Message: SWCCNE 

(St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church Nebraska)

In about 3 seconds you’ll get the link

Take it to the PushPay portal

Doesn’t cost you anything 

Just to take a look

Electronic tithing is great for greater regularity...

But e-tithe is a a pain for many

Hard to set up, 
hard to change, 
can't monitor, 
can't do special collections, 
can't print contributions at year-end

All that is different now

In the site:

Top: Shows you the charity name 
(Our school eventually, other charities)

Two big buttons, one-time gift and recurring gift

Try both, see difference 

Amount, just make it a $1 to see it

Fund, click this to see option

St Wenceslaus CC (main Sunday collection)
Second Collection Bldg Maintenance 
All Saints Day
Bishops Appeal for Vocations

We often add special collections, hurricane and wildfires 

But also, like today, KofC Tootsie Rolls Drive

Perfect example: Walking out, your kids want tootsie rolls but you have either no cash on you or you have just $50 bill…

Well, refresh that screen and click Funds again. You’ll see that I just now, in 10 seconds, added another fund there “Tootsie Rolls” 

What PushPay gives us new:
Special collections 
Second collections when no cash

Go ahead “Next” and click see what the Payment screen looks like

Important: We’re not trying to switch everyone

Some people are Check People and are always going to be that

And if you currently do e-tithe, keep doing e-tithe

Our e-tithe through First Bank is free

PushPay is a service, so they get 
1% for checking account transfers, 
2% for debit card
3% for credit card

These numbers are pretty standard. It’s like what the Joy of Gospel used

But it's worth it for flexibility


Links to secure portal

It will offer you to download the PushPay app, which is password secure because it keeps info

Mine= thumbprint instead; remembers my sensitive data 

Process is constantly pushing you to make this easier on yourself. App, password, save data, refuse.

Personalized St. W parish app coming with same mechanics but connected to our website, content, bulletins, calendars

Not just smartphone, desktop too available here

Or just go to our parish website and click “Giving” in top right.

This is ideal:

continue what we have done,
no one has to switch 
add for special collections, 
and pick up new regulars

Once you have an account you can:

Go on and see all transactions 

Change as need be

Do second collections without envelopes

Print out contributions, but also know that we can and will combine all your numbers: PushPay, e-tithe, checks, cash in envelopes

You don't have to do this

But it’s easier for many people 

It helps people move up the pyramids 

More regular (and regular pays the bills) 

Catch those who can't help on special collections because "I never carry cash"

So today I just wanted to: Inform you about all this, thank you for what already do, and  encourage you with Stewardship card

We have already been blessed with loving, generous, involved parishioners...

And between stewardship cards 
and PushPay 
and the "10 and 10" plan 
and the $50 challenge 

We're just trying to make it easier for people to organize their already generous, loving work. 

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