Giving to St Mary's
The Lord provides the finances for St Mary's mainly through the generous giving of our congregations. We plan our spending carefully in order to make the best use of the resources God gives us.
We do not pass collection bags at our services. Instead, there is a collection box in the Church Welcome Area. Gift envelopes are available from the document rack in the Welcome Area. We thank God for any gifts that are made this way. However it is also a great help for us to know how much income to expect from those who call St Mary's their church family and belong to our congregations, so that we can budget more accurately.
That’s why we run a Regular Giving Scheme (RGS). It's a simple way to give regularly (you choose how often), allowing both you and St Mary's to budget and (if you pay tax yourself) its also tax efficient for the church. You 'pledge' a certain amount per chosen period, but this is not a 'contract' and you can change this at any time.
Finally, it's all confidential and there's neither pressure nor regular paperwork.
Regular Giving Scheme (RGS)
To find out more about the Regular Giving Scheme, follow this link. Also, please use this if you wish to make irregular, ad hoc gifts.
The Bible's Teaching on Prioritising our Giving
The Bible is not prescriptive about where we should give our money. However, here are five broad principles God has given us. They are in a rough 'order of priority'.
(1) Meet your own needs
You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
The Bible encourages us to work and not be dependent on others. It is foolish to give so much money away that you end up having to be rescued from a financial scrape by others. Equally, our 'needs' may well be less than we tend to think.
(2) Meet the needs of your family
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. [...] Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:3-4,8
The Bible strongly warns us against neglecting the needs of our nuclear family. If we do so we have 'denied the faith'! It is wise and godly to use our money to care for elderly parents or other family members who need our support.
(3) Support your local church
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Acts 2:42-45
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain', and 'The worker deserves his wages'. 1 Timothy 5:17-18
This is the hub of our spiritual growth. Unless we provide financial support, church leaders cannot give time to teaching the Bible, the church building where we meet cannot be maintained, the Bibles cannot be bought, the evangelistic events cannot be run and so on. Supporting our local church financially shows a godly concern for our own spiritual growth, the spiritual growth of others, and the mission of the church to reach out in Jesus name. St Mary's gives about 13% (in 2018) of its income to our various mission partners, so your money is also used to support gospel work across the world.
(4) Support Gospel advancement
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
There are many wonderful organisations dedicated to spreading the good news of Jesus, home and abroad. Supporting the advance of the gospel is always a wise investment in eternity.
(5) Support the poor and vulnerable
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
Often this requires wisdom; for example, giving money to people begging on the streets is not always wise. But our hearts should long to help those in need wherever we come across them. This should be especially true of fellow believers in need.