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This Week at JMPC 10.21.18

When I want to catch up on the news, I generally tune in to NPR’s Morning Edition as I drive to the church. This week, I turned on the car and the first words I heard were “fall pledge drive”. Ugh. In between every story, there was Kevin Gavin asking for 4 more calls or $500 to meet a challenge pledge. And, if you pledge, you will get … not the usual Morning Edition mug (I have several) … but an entry into a raffle for Hamilton tickets! Wow! That is the way many non-profits encourage giving. Offer something in return for the donation. What does a church have to offer in return for a donation? Mugs? Pens? Pledge envelopes? How about this? A man received a letter from a large Christian media broadcaster seeking financial support. They needed money to maintain their broadcast. Based on their ratings, the broadcasters calculated that if every listener would send in $76 (yeah, it’s an old story), this financial need would be met. So far so good. Members of JMPC got a letter like that this week. But then the letter went on. God cannot be out-given, the letter said, and so if someone gives to God, God will give back to that person more than that person gave. The letter then guaranteed, on the principle that God cannot be out-given, that God would find a way to give that $76 back three times over. “Send us the $76 and God will give back to you; just watch how he does it.” Um … really? The recipient of the letter thought about that and concluded that the broadcaster had it backward. He wrote a letter back and said, “I believe what you have written; I believe it is true that God cannot be out-given; and I believe you have a tremendous need for funds. So, I would like to suggest that you send me the $76 and God will give back to you three times over. You can get rid of your debt a lot faster that way.” Too funny.
Actually, both had it wrong. Donating money to a church has little to do with financial rewards (or tchotchkes) for either the church or its benefactors. It is actually an investment in the work of the church, its missions and ministries. What is the return on that investment? Come and hear about Sunday, October 21 when Pastor Jeff preaches, “A Good Investment” at John McMillan Presbyterian Church at 8:30 and 11. There is one reward offered this week. Hot dogs and chili after the 11 o’clock service! We look forward to seeing you.

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