Stewardship is an integral part of our participation in the Kingdom of God….Christian stewardship begins and ends in the realization that all that we earn and all we have been given belongs to God; we are managers of God’s property more than we are owners. Christian stewardship extends the Kingdom of God toward the future, reaching forward to new generations and new spheres of mission and service. Christian stewardship has to do with thoughtful, life-long planning.
Excerpts from Bethel College Mennonite Church
Mission and Service Endowment Fund Policies and Procedures
Here are some of the ways that stewardship is expressed and embodied at BCMC:
Our financial resources
There is broad financial support from members and participants for the annual budget and special projects.. A quarterly contribution report is prepared for each giving unit and serves as a record of giving and as a tax receipt.
The annual budget is built by the Church Board through commissions and committees and approved by the congregation in January. The largest share of the budget goes for staff and staff benefits followed by benevolences and facilities expenses.
Members are asked to indicate their giving intentions for the annual fund through the Pony Express. In addition to budget support for benevolences, individuals are generous in supporting many community and denominational causes. Other special projects are supported through above budget giving and fund-raising events.
Opportunities for giving include Sunday morning offerings and special fund-raising events. Some people like the convenience and regularity of contributing through Electronic Fund Transfers. Members older than 70 1/2 have learned to benefit from the tax advantages of a Qualified Charitable Distribution directly to BCMC from an IRA. Memorials and bequests are also options.
Our facilities are maintained for use in ministry and so they will be available for future use. In addition to traditional uses for worship and education, our building is available for the Community Playschool, Bethel College, and many community events. Living Stones I and II are above budget capital campaigns to make facility improvements and renovate the organ.
Our time and talents
The time and talents of our members are used both in the church and throughout the community. The Gifts Discernment Committee helps connect members with the various ministries of the church. One way this is done is by a bi-annual gifts discernment survey.
Many view their occupation as a ministry that they engage in throughout the week. Others engage in regular volunteer activities that are essential to the mission of community non-profits.
BCMC also supports wider-church organizations and ministries by member participation. This includes Western District Conference, Mennonite Church USA, and various activities of Mennonite Central Committee.
Our care for creation
The Creation Care Covenant adopted by BCMC in 2002 reminds us that
God created the earth and all that is in it and declared it good. God’s creation is marked by wondrous complexity, interdependence and beauty. Human beings are called by God to the task of stewardship–taking care of the earth respectfully for its own sake and so that present and future generations may live on it and enjoy its fruits.
Creation care is an important part of BCMC values in developing a Columbarium and planning for a Garden of Memory and Hope.