"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7
At The Falls Church Episcopal, we sometimes to refer to ourselves as “one of the oldest and one of the newest Episcopal Churches in the nation.”
What we mean by that is while our 1769 Historic church structure pre-dates the Revolutionary War, our congregation, having to rebuild almost from scratch after being exiled from our property for several years, has the character of a brand new church plant.
First-time visitors to our church often comment on the warm welcome and authentic hospitality they receive. Those who put down roots here and make it their spiritual home often comment about how easy it was to be quickly accepted as full members.
Above all, people sense other people’s deep love for this church.
Out of that love, you’ll find that this is a church where people are generous givers.
Once connected, they happily and generously give their time, talent, and treasure.
We give generously, not out of a sense of obligation – you seldom hear the words
“ought,” “should,” or “must” around here – but out of a sense of gratitude. We are
sincerely grateful to God for our blessings and we seek to pass those blessings
along to others.
And so, in just a few short years, we have made huge strides in caring for our
property, in our children and youth ministry, in our outreach efforts, in striving for
excellence in Sunday morning worship, and in increased pastoral care for one another.
With such a vibrant faith community, it can be easy to think that we have all the resources that we need to fund all of our activities. While it is true that our past generosity has supported a vibrant community, the reality is that we are just keeping pace with what we need to “staff for the present” – not to mention for the future as we grow in numbers and depth of ministries. That is why we ask new members to join others in generously supporting their church.
But here’s the thing: “supporting your church” -- as noble a purpose as that is -- is not the most important reason to be generous in your giving.
As much of a positive difference The Falls Church Episcopal makes in the lives of its members and in the wider community, the most important reasons for increasing our giving are spiritual ones:
to remind us of our dependence on God – that all good things come from God
that all our giving is giving back to God, in thanks-giving, year-round
to re-direct our hearts toward God’s greater purposes.
As Jesus points out, “our heart follows our treasure.” In other words, we strongly believe in what we financially support, or as Eugene Peterson puts it, “The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
The Falls Church Episcopal wants to be the place where you most want to be, and end up being.
We do not take our blessings for granted. In that sense, we celebrate thanks-giving year round, as we come together weekly to count our blessings, and encourage all members to find new and creative ways to pass blessings on.