What we do with our money is important—to our sense of mission, to our health as creatures of God’s kingdom, and to our relationship to our faith and to each other. Stewardship is caring for the things that are entrusted to us, which in many cases means money and property. Part of caring is embracing the generosity and love of the God who created us and investing our resources—time, talents, and treasure— in the ministries that we feel called to support.
Many people wonder, “How much should I give?” In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, a tithe, or 10%, is often cited as an appropriate offering. Jesus mentions the tithe in the Gospels more as a criticism of legalistic adherence (although Jesus does affirm the virtue of tithing) (Matt 23:23 and Luke 11:42). But in our day, we have many opportunities to complicate tithing (before or after tax? on earned income only? what about investments?). Additionally, a literal 10% is very regressive, as economists would say (a bigger burden on less wealthy individuals, like sales tax), since $1,000 is much less sacrificial to someone earning $10,000 per month than $100 is to someone with income of $1,000 per month. So, we shouldn’t get too hung up on 10%, either as a source of guilt if we fall short, or of smugness if we give 10%. But we should reflect on the degree to which our giving reflects our priorities.
While we are careful with our expenditures, it takes a lot of money to support Catonsville Presbyterian’s ministries. We are committed to paying our staff fairly, maintaining our buildings, and ensuring that we support ministries and causes beyond our walls with time and money. Our official 2019 membership is 415, not including pre-confirmation age youth. Our total expenses for 2019 are $587,000. The income from facilities usage and related is $143,000, leaving $450,000 to come from members and friends. This means that the average cost of our church’s ministry is about $1,100 for each member ($2,200 per couple).