One of my favorite hymns is How Firm a Foundation. When Michael asked me to substitute for him one of the weeks he is away and write an E-Pistle about my time as Treasurer, it got me thinking about how the administrative work into which I have poured much of my energies at Old First for the past fifteen plus years has been working towards providing a foundation for the ministries of Old First. Which, for me, has been a ministry in its own right!
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;
As Treasurer of Old First, you can imagine, I think about the Church’s money a lot. In the early years of Michael’s Covenant with us, I was often worried and Michael would pastor me and reassure me that it would all work out. And, usually, it did! We have had multiple consecutive years of budget performances in the “black” (i.e. we spent less than we received in) and we have even been able to make our Office Administrator a full time position and make some needed repairs around the Church.
How is this all possible, you ask? Well, I would like to let you know that the primary means by which Old First functions, financially, is its faithful members. Member Giving at OFR is almost always in the high 90th percentiles of budgeted amount. Angels, from our members and friends, when needed, come in to make dreams realities and, in the “bad times” the “See Us Through” or “Close the Gap” offerings have balanced our deficits.
It is also apparent, recently, that online giving has increased in past years. I love the first Sunday of the month when I open up the mail and all of the monthly pledge checks come out! Some people even give online, via our Network for Good linkage. It has been mentioned to me that some people do not want to give online because they like that their offerings are blessed in the weekly service. I want to reassure you all that, when we get the checks in the mail, we DO bring them over to the service, and place them in the envelope. This way, ALL money that is flowing into our bank account is blessed, even the City of Philadelphia’s $90 offerings when they use our Social Hall as a polling place.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The time, talent, and, yes, treasure that the members of Old First give to us is amazing. Sometimes, it even takes my breath away. It is obvious that Old First is close to the hearts of not just its members, but also its many friends and partners throughout the city and across the country and, with Michael in Germany and our trips to Cuba and Guatemala and our members from Africa and other places abroad, Old First has a world-wide reach.
1 Samuel 2:7
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
So, I told you that I was worried a lot a few years ago. Lately, I do not worry. Maybe it is because Michael has finally gotten through to me, and I realize that God will provide for us what we need to get us where we need to be. That, of course, does not mean we should all decide no longer to give (because GOD will provide) because we are the earthly vessels by which the Lord brings to Old First the arms and legs and feet and motivation to do the work that we are doing on our corner of 4th and Race.
And I love that my work, and the work of the other members of the Administrative Standing Leadership Group assists in providing the resources and the foundation upon which the Church can move and grow and continue to be a Wellspring of Faith for the City and the surrounding community.
See You in Church!