Finance and stewardship at First Church
Protecting and preserving
The Bible states in Proverbs 3:9 ESV, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.” Deacon Brandon Evans says, "Giving back isn’t just about writing a check; a large part of being in the body of Christ is the fellowship that comes with serving others in the body of Christ for the purpose to further God’s kingdom.” Stewardship is an essential part of worship, declaring Jesus as the Lord of our lives and our finances. To give back is an act of thanksgiving and it is crucial to our membership in the body of Christ.
Katie Evans, an active member, says, “On our own, our family either wouldn’t know about, or practically speaking, couldn’t stretch to give to each of the organizations and ministries First Church partners with. Giving our portion back to the Lord through our church is a blessing because we feel more invested in the goals we see these many organizations working toward. It develops our maturity to honor a commitment made.”
“There’s something about participating in the Body by giving that makes us feel truly part of the church family.”
– Katie Evans
Our gifts go much further beyond the offering plate than many see on a typical Sunday. Your pledges may help support our youth going on mission trips, the organ leading us in worship, Chef Joseph providing our Wednesday Night Downtown dinners, the needs met through Helping Hands, students at Masterwork Academy learning how to play the piano, teams preparing for international missions, children learning Bible verses at AWANA, or support for Hope Is Alive ministries. The list goes on and on with possibilities that have the opportunity to be impacted by your gifts. As seen in the pie chart, there are many areas touched.
By definition, stewardship means the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care. Longtime member Judith Land expresses, “God has been gracious, kind and generous to me in my life, providing for my every need and granting blessings beyond measure. Because all I have received is from God, I feel compelled to return a portion of that which I have received back to God, through both financial resources and time.” We have been given the ultimate gift through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This grace is freely given so that we may be in right relationship with Christ. In response we can consider how we can give back in gratitude with even the smallest amount. When we surrender our finances to the Lord it is an act of orientating our entire lives toward Him. For active member Pam Hillis, she says it’s an exercise in faith: “It challenges me to think about what I put my trust in … money or God’s promises.”
The finance committee led by Jim Scheiper prayerfully helps to manage and steward gifts given. This committee includes members and elders, Jim Bailey, Elizabeth DeVore, Brett Crane, Jim Eagleton, Rusty Gaddy, Cathy Laird as well as staff, Lynn Fesperman, Toni Moseley and Steve Howe. We are about to enter a season of stewardship where you will be asked to fill out a “covenant of giving” card to help the church responsibly plan for the upcoming year. Please prayerfully consider how you will respond to this call.
About the author: Elizabeth DeVore is a lifelong member of First Church Tulsa. She loves being engaged in the body of Christ and growing with her church family. She currently serves as an elder, is involved in Pathfinder middle school ministries and a Young Adult K Group leader.