3 Reasons Estate Stewardship is Beneficial for the Local Church
By Rev. Bill Gruenewald
As leaders, we all want to build long-term financial stability in our churches. While regular tithes and offerings help ministry happen today, what about tomorrow? If church membership and giving decline, it could prove harmful or even fatal for a lot of churches. But, there is a way to build long-term financial stability to compliment the regular giving of your congregation – through Estate Stewardship!
Churches need to be intentional about planned giving, and having an Estate Stewardship Plan is the first step. Most churches already have members who are committed and invested in the church’s ministry and vision. Why would a church not want to have a plan in place to allow these faithful members to continue to be a part of what God is doing even after they’ve gone home? There are many reasons Estate Stewardship can benefit your church, but I will give you three reasons to consider it.
1. Generational Wealth Transfer
While numbers vary, many pundits estimate that close to $60 trillion will pass to the current generation by the year 2061. We are in what is called the “Golden Age of Planned Giving.” In the past, the church has been passive in requesting estate gifts to help fund ministry. This needs to change. We need to “make the ask” and provide faithful members with the opportunity to give. The reality is that everyone will leave an estate, but NOT everyone will leave a legacy! Help educate your church members on the value of legacy giving.
2. It is Biblical
A Google search reveals there are over 2,000 verses in the Bible that relate to money. That is significant. I believe God knew that money and finances would be a problem for mankind, which is why he spent a great deal of time trying to teach us to use His resources in the best way possible.
Of these 2,000 verses, many relate to inheritance or legacy giving. One significant verse is found in Proverbs 13:22 – “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Inheritance is not limited to just money – it includes our faith, character, and integrity. But, this verse speaks to the long-term view we should have as we steward the resources God has given us. We need to be thinking, “what I can leave that will benefit future generations?”
For the church, it is the same question: “What can I plan for now to provide resources so my church can continue to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Stewardship does not stop when we die. We have to “finish well”, and have an estate stewardship plan that benefits our families and also leaves a legacy of faith to help the church reach the next generation.
3. The Potential
An article in USA Today in 2015 stated that 64% of Americans do not have a will, trust, or estate plan in place. Almost 7 out of 10 people in your church have not planned for the future. The church is the logical place for us to have this conversation with our members. What if the church educated them in the Biblical mandate of estate stewardship and provided resources for them to put a plan in place? We can show them how they can leave a financial legacy of giving that will benefit the Kingdom of God for years to come. Many of them already know how to give; they do it each week with their tithes and offerings. Help them take the next step of generosity to put a plan in place to make a legacy gift from their estate.
That is a great question. The Tennessee Baptist Foundation can assist you in putting together a plan to educate your members and help you establish a Legacy Ministry that will bless the next generation with the Gospel of Christ.
The first step is scheduling a Faith-Based Estate Planning Seminar for your church. The Foundation will explain what is necessary for a well thought out estate plan and show them how they can be Legacy givers by leaving a portion of their estate to carry on the cause of Christ. Just click on the link below, and we will contact you to help you get this scheduled.
The Tennessee Baptist Foundation wants to help all our churches in Tennessee and partner with them in the ministry God has for them in their communities. Contact us today. We are ready to serve you.
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You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.
Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.