Planning to give: a guide for planning yearly giving

plan-to-give

Most people intend to be generous, especially in the future, but few actually plan to be generous. Though we make specific plans and commitments to pay monthly utilities, mortgage payments, and other household expenses, deciding what and where to give is more often left to chance. After all, we don’t know what our needs will be this coming year, so how can we commit to giving a certain amount each month? And doesn’t giving a predetermined amount each month seem like a cold, mechanical way to give? If we decide in advance how much and where to give, doesn’t that squeeze out God’s guidance in this matter? Shouldn’t you be led by your heart instead of the calculator and calendar? But I believe God’s spirit can direct people twelve months in advance as well as on the spur of the moment. If you are waiting for all the right circumstances to come together before you give it will never happen.

Planning to give is very different from intending to give. Good intentions are simply that— intentions. When we plan, we review the circumstances, plan a course of action, and then commit to do it. It may help to choose a worthy cause and start giving, even if your heart seems to lag behind. I have it on good authority that if you give to God and His work, your heart will soon warm up to the cause. Matthew 6:21

If we see our giving as worship of God, rather than as giving to people, most of our excuses for not giving will evaporate. Starting out with an evaluation like this may also make giving priorities clearer.

1. My/our total charitable giving last year was $____________
2. I/we estimate our income for this year to be $____________
3. Expecting God to be faithful this year I/we plan to give $___________
4. I/we have chosen to prioritize our giving as follows:
____% to our home church for local and community needs
____% to our Conference in support of the programs we do together—missions, publications, church planting, etc.
____% to our preferred university, college or high school for investing in the education of our young people
____% to our favourite charity
____% to ____________________________________________
____% to ____________________________________________

Excerpted from: Giving your first fruits: Money, faith and worship by Edwin Friesen

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