Stewardship 2024

Growing a garden of gratitute

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:21

The future of St. Matthew is exciting and we need your help to continue growing. Here are some ways we can work together to support St. Matthew and Pastor Wyma and grow in understanding, faith, fellowship, service to others, and stewardship.

Jesus said this to His closest followers. This connection between treasure and heart is found in much of scripture, but the truth works in reverse as well: you can put your treasure into a place with people you love and trust and let your heart catch up. If you are getting this letter, it already means you have committed yourself to some degree or another to our quirky, affirming, serving, loving, and laughing community. You probably know that during our fall sermon series, we learned about how God doesn’t so much have a rigid plan for us but more that God has a dream for us. I hope you will be a part of all that God is dreaming for our church. This is the time of year when we plan next year’s budget and dream big, and then let our dollars catch up to our dreams.

Maybe you are a longtime financial partner in the great and awesome Prairie Path adjacent, pioneering community of St. Matthew UCC, and you get it. You’re sold. I want to thank you for your years of faithful giving and relentless generosity. You have consistently stepped up, and we would not be here without you!

Maybe you are a newbie or on the edge, still kind of surprised to find yourself in a church, an open & affirming one at that, in the church-saturated city of Wheaton! You are new but committed. You’re excited to see the ways you can be blessed and a blessing in this community. We are so grateful for the ways you will challenge and change us. 

Maybe you have been here a while, amazed that the time has flown by, and realize it is time to step up in this new way. I hope you will consider doing so this year. Doing new things that stretch us in profound ways is often the catalyst for growth and maturity in our faith lives. You are celebrated here, and we hope you will continue to share your time, talents, and treasures in new ways with us.

Our wonderful challenge for 2024 is that we are nearly fully staffed and our rental tenant, Christ Tamil Church, has found their own facility and will be leaving our property in early 2024. While we will work on getting some new tenants to help us supplement this shortfall, this means our budget for next year will need to go up about 16% to support our growing needs.

Our totally doable dream for 2024 is to continue to pass a balanced budget while maintaining our generous outreach giving and achieve our greater dream of expanding our community. We are nearly fully staffed, which is such an answer to prayer and the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes work by our admin staff and lay leaders. But being fully staffed stretches our budget in necessary and also challenging ways. We want to stay fully staffed and even dream of a future youth minister in our midst again.

While we are dreaming big, we also need to maintain our church building. In the last year, we’ve made a lot of aesthetic improvements with signs and color. Still, like our homes, we need to continue to improve the essential maintenance of St. Matthew for the safety, security, and longevity of our campus.

But this letter is not just about the church’s need to receive. It’s also about what might happen if you were to take a baby step and start pledging, or a giant step and pledge more than you did last year. Why give at all? It speaks to what your heart values and who you want to be, as the above scripture from the Sermon on the Mount mentions.

Jesus is speaking of a different dynamic: Give and spend where you want your heart to be, and then let your heart catch up. Don’t just give to those things you care about. Give to the things you want to care about. The things you are hopeful for and dream of. 

Ask yourself, “If I were the sort of person I long to be, then what would I do? How would I spend my money?”

Then, do what you would do if you were that sort of person. Put your treasure where you want your heart to be. And if you do, says Jesus, your heart will go there.

Did you know that I auto-give monthly? Yes, even though I am still paying off my seminary student loans (best money I ever invested in myself). I do it. Regardless of what each month holds. We invest in what matters and who we are hoping to be. I will commit to increasing my pledge by 16%. I hope you will join me!

There are many ways to donate: monthly payments through your bank, electronically through St. Matthew’s Vanco service (monthly or semi-monthly), or from our website (either through PayPal or by Credit Card). Please plan to be with us for the Commitment Sunday service on November 12th and the fellowship that follows.

Beloved, now is the time to invest in the dreams God is dreaming for us and the hopes you have for a future full of the time, talent, and treasures of those we have yet to meet and who will impact us for the better.