November 9, 2020
Dear Friend in Ministry:
Your participation in the life of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church is very important and special. By joining together with other members and friends, our congregation continues to share the Gospel here and across the country and world.
During this year's pandemic our congregation played a critical role in bringing hope and love to our community as we sheltered in place. We realized in all of that; the importance of community worship, care for one another, and the impact that this ministry has on our local community. We also recognized the importance of our partnership with the synod and national church as they walked with us to navigate such uncertain times.
As we consider our stewardship response this year, we do so in a different world than we considered our response last year. Some of us are in different places economically than we were. However, all of us are in a place of more gratitude for God’s love in our lives and excitement for sharing the gospel with others.
As you consider your gift for the coming year, you are encouraged to consider how it is you can grow in your generosity. Perhaps an additional $1 per day would work for you, or perhaps you could consider making one additional gift this year to your normal weekly or monthly contributions. As we begin this generosity journey together, please pray about how you can grow in generosity this year.
Please plan to return the Statement of Intent card, you received in the mail, during worship Sunday, November 15. If you won’t be in worship with us that day, please use the envelope, you received in the mailing, to mail in your intent so that we can include your generosity as we share our progress. Another option is to email your intent for next year to Generosity@holyspiritlasvegas.org and your commitment will be recorded from that email. (Any email to this email address is only seen and recorded by our Financial Secretary)
Thank you for all you do to bless this congregation. And, thank you for considering how you can grow in generosity in the coming year.
Sincerely in Christ,
Mark Myers Don Cleveland
Council President Stewardship Team
As you consider your giving to the church next year, please consider how you can grow in your own generosity.
An idea for someone whose income has gone down in the last year:
Everyone can grow in generosity, even if that means the overall dollars given decreases. Perhaps, if before your income decreased you were giving away 2% of your income, now with income being less, can you find a way to grow the percentage of giving to 3 or 4%. There are people in our congregation who will need to decrease the total dollars given because of loss of work or other reasons.
Systematic giving leads to generosity: For most people, we can grow significantly in our giving just by making our gift on a regular basis. Sign up for automatic giving or just add an amount each week or month. Growing giving by $1 per day equates to significant growth over the course of the year.
An extra gift or two during the year: During the crisis, a story was shared in a stewardship workshop about someone who said, “I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but for now I am doing okay, so I will double my giving in the month of April”. Well, what if we decided to double our giving one month or even two months next year?
Grow by a percentage each year: For some, the idea of a tithe is unachievable in a single year, but something people would like to reach someday. By growing giving by a percentage each year, it is achievable over the long-term. If you currently give away 2% of income, perhaps you can reach 3% next year and 4% the year after. This takes discipline, but over the long-term is effective for some.
You may have your own ideas for growing in generosity. As a church family, as we each grow in our generosity, it will have a tremendous overall impact.
Marcia and I were members of a Lutheran Church in Wichita, KS in 1984, During the annual meeting and the discussion of the budget vs. giving, a young man stood up and said "I look at giving not as a tithe of 10% but the fact that the Lord allows me to keep 90%". From that time on we have worked at getting and then maintaining that tithe. We did it a little at a time and we found we never really missed a beat in our standard of living.
What happens to the money given to the church? Holy Spirit has been exceptional in giving 10% of their revenue to other entities that rely on others to fulfill their mission. Just look at the different entities on the budget and you will see where it goes. Every month there are checks sent to these organizations to help keep them going. The church should be quite proud of this. You may think that the small amount you are providing is insignificant, but when you multiply small amounts by the number of members it becomes a larger amount, so anything you can give is helpful. Remember the story of the woman who gave only one coin. She gave everything and I assure you she did not starve because of that.
A few years ago we were listening to television and we heard about all the homeless youth in Las Vegas. Not having been able to have children of our own (naturally) we were appalled. That is when we became involved with Nevada Partnership Homeless Youth (NPHY). Eventually the Tuesday morning women's bible study Women in the Spirit (W.I.T.S.) took up NPHY as their cause. Over the years they have done bake sales, received money from the youth during Super Bowl, supported the annual Homeless Youth bowling event and much more.
To have a culture of generosity you just need to make up your mind to be that way and start somewhere. If you don't have a cause like NPHY you can piggyback on someone else's cause. I challenge each and every member to think about and pray about giving generously. Don't forget to keep that giving going even after you have passed on from this life. A good way is to make sure a portion of your will or trust is dedicated to Holy Spirit so that can be used in perpetuity. What a great gift that would be. Thanks be to GOD
Did you know that that the average protestant church member gives away about 2% of their income to the church? Another statistic shows that the median protestant (person in the middle if lined up smallest percentage to largest) only give 0.62% of their income to the church.
For most people the reason for this has less to do with their wealth or income and more to do with intentionality and regular systematic giving.
Over the course of a year, $1 per day comes to a gift of $365, which for about 35-40% of Americans would be significant growth in their giving to the church. The average Starbucks coffee costs $2.75. This amounts to over $1,000 if one is purchased every day of the year.
Regular, systematic giving can help all of us become more generous. We get overwhelmed when we think about larger numbers like $1,000. However, most of us can find $2.75 per day. As you think and pray about your generosity this year. Consider how systematic giving may help you become more generous.
“More than a decade ago, we personally struggled with meeting our annual church commitment. We tended to treat it like any other bill that was due at a certain time and thus struggled to ensure it was paid. We finally took a stand, and candidly a chance, to take a “First Fruits” approach. We decided on a percentage we would give and when each paycheck arrived we wrote out a check for that percentage and put it in the offering tray. Once we did that God’s abundance became more apparent, even resulting in us exceeding our commitments, and we’ve never looked back. It’s been much easier to give and not only have we not worried about making our commitment but found the rest of our financial lives to be blessed as well.”
Recently, I received a call from Don Cleveland, a member of the Stewardship Team. My immediate thought was, “I don’t want to be a part of your team, Don, and I can’t afford to give more money than I am currently giving.” But … I listened to what Don had to say. Boy, was I wrong! There is more to being a ‘steward’ than sitting on a team or giving a monetary donation to the church.
Don asked me to tell you about Holy Spirit’s generosity through the involvement with the Senior Meals Program. As you may or may not know, the Senior Meals Program is sponsored by Lutheran Social Services. I volunteered several times per week serving the seniors who came to Holy Spirit for lunch. Initially, each senior came in, filled out paper-work, and sat down at a table (hoping he or she didn’t sit in someone else’s chair!). Within a short time, the new senior was in conversation with others and all were waiting for their food to arrive.
My involvement with Senior Meals was to either set up the trays, fill the plates, distribute the food trays to the seniors, collect the trays when the seniors finish eating, and then running the trays through the dishwasher. Of course I wasn’t alone. There were close to a dozen volunteers who generously gave of their time each week.
Because of Holy Spirit’s generosity - offering the use of our kitchen and fellowship hall, each day the participating seniors were offered food, fun, and fellowship … three words that are very important to me. Hopefully, in the near future Holy Spirit will once again be able to serve the seniors of our community through the Senior Meals Program.
~~Ruth Ann Isaacs
Dear Partner in Ministry:
Building on a Culture of Generosity is our fall stewardship appeal theme. This theme points us to the generosity that we have witnessed around Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in the past, but also points us to know that we can grow into this in even more profound ways.
As we come out the other side of perhaps the worst national crisis of our lifetimes, we all have stories to tell of acts of generosity and we all have stories to share about how important this faith community is to us, even as we had to engage in social isolation. We needed worship. We needed to check in with each other. We need our congregation to remain strong and vibrant.
Our grateful response in generosity helps to demonstrate to us and to the world around us that in fact God has provided us everything and we have enough, even enough to share.
Many of us are still recovering from the economic downturn that resulted from shutting down the country for so many weeks. At the same time, we emerge knowing that we can make a difference and we have a shared vision that this congregation, and the ministries we support are more important than ever.
So, in the coming weeks, please watch for generosity stories from the congregation. Pray about how you can become more generous. Then, on intent Sunday, November 15, please bring your intent card with you to declare the generosity that you intend to share with this congregation. We’ll be mailing these out a week or so before and will have various options for responding depending on how we are worshiping on November 15th.
Thank you for being part of this exciting congregation. Pray for our common work together as we continue to reach out with the Gospel.
Sincerely in Christ,
Mark Myers & Don Cleveland
Council President / Stewardship Team Leader
Dear Friends at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church:
Remember back in March when we thought that the coronavirus would impact our lives for a few weeks or maybe even a month? For most of us, we recognize that this has been one of the most, if not the most difficult years of our lives.
It is in this difficulty that the world has seen the importance of the church and our message of grace more clearly than at any time during my lifetime. It has also been through the ways in which our church has responded in these last months that I have had a tremendous sense of awe in the giftedness of our leaders here.
First, let me say thank you for the ways in which you stepped up to continue to worship, to care for one another, and to look for opportunities to share the Gospel when our community so clearly needed the Gospel.
Now, let me encourage you that I believe what God has shown us through this crisis is our need to walk together, continue to innovate, and step up the ways in which we share God’s love to a world that still so desperately needs to recognize God’s love.
Your generosity this year is as important as it has ever been to not just keep our congregation healthy, but to also help us develop the church to continue to impact the world in significant ways.
As we enter into our stewardship appeal this year, let’s think about all the ways that we have seen generosity this year.
Pastor Jeremy Nausin
We have never experienced a year like the one we are currently living in. In-person worship and other gatherings canceled, learning to provide worship and other experiences online, and caring for one another from a distance, just to name a few. At the same time, God has very clearly been active in our life together.
Here are just a few of the ways in which you have shared with us:
“These last few months. The sermons that Pastor Jeremy Nausin has given me such peace. I’ve also been able to grow in my relationships with others learning forgiveness and extending my compassion. I am so grateful God can use a pastor even on YouTube.” Rebekah S.
“HSLC has been my church for 6 or 7 yrs now. I miss going to in house services right now but I love the fact we are still connected by video. I have moved to the opposite side of Vegas but would still make it to church there because I love the people and the pastor. Wouldn't think of changing.” Janet H.
“HSLC ministries have meant a lot to me. Pr. Jeremy has reached out to someone at my request and I appreciate his support. His caring and leadership have brought an energy that motivates me. I have, personally, witnessed the ministries of NV Partnership for Homeless Youth and Sunday School and am very thankful for their efforts. HSLC is a family that I have been blessed to be a part of for 30+ years and it keeps getting better and better.” Lynne C.
“When we first moved here almost two years ago, when ever we passed by the church it was as if it was inviting me to stop in. After months of hearing its silent invitation, we decided to check it out. So happy we did because it is now our home away from home and our new family is awesome and love our pastor.” Rose M.
“It has been a source of love and strength for us during a year of faith-shaking losses. “ Tim F.
It has been a hard time for a lot of people. All of the above and so much more, that we didn’t have room to list, has been made possible by all of your support through your time and financial giving even during the pandemic. All of your “Generosity” is making a difference here, and in the community, as we continue… "Learning to reflect the love and light of Jesus Christ, into a world loved by God."