Pledge Cards

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by TexasSky, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    I've never really been fond of them. I grew up thinking a man's gift to God is between a man (or woman) and God.

    However, they are very popular these days.

    And lately - I've discovered that yes, they do haunt you.

    My church had a lot of people sign pledge cards and then went into debt over a new Sanctuary. I refused to sign one. I've always given privately, usually cash, sometimes a check, when the offering is gathered. I don't deduct my offering on my tax return, but I do give.

    I didn't sign the pledge card because at the time they asked for them, I was having major conflicts with the person I worked for. I was afraid if I pledged something I couldn't live up to it.

    Now, the church has discovered a lot of people can't meet their pledge, or just aren't meeting their pledges. In any case - the church is having budget problems.

    So, they are begging people to live up to their pledges, etc.

    Enter - the "situation."

    During the discussion about all of this at a church event the other day, I noticed that there was one particular person who kept glaring at me every time she made a comment about people not supporting the church. The person happens to be the wife of a treasury committee deacon.

    Now - I ~might~ be wrong, but frankly, the feeling I got was that since she (or perhaps her spouse) hasn't seen my name fly by, she assumes I don't tithe. I actually thought about sitting down and telling her what I do give - then it hit me. Its REALLY none of her business. As it is some people in the church actually know what I give, and that it is usually cash. They know because it either came up in conversation, or they sit next to me in church on Sunday.

    The thing is - - - this woman's apparent assumption is one of the things that bothers me about pledge cards.

    The other thing is the mess the church is in financially.

    And another .. thing that bothers me, is that now I keep hearing a lot of people drop the phrase, "Well, we don't feel guilty, we meet our pledged amount." Then a pregnant pause during which everyone else snaps out, "So do we!" Well, I'm sure many do who aren't rushing out to tell the world they do. Why should people eager to "look good" make them "look bad" because they choose silence?

    I do see how the cards can help you plan a budget, but I can see the negatives too.

    So - pro or con - how do you feel about the things?
     
  2. Johnv

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    We're not talking about a man's gift to God. We're talking about a man's gift to the church.

    Churches need to know what to expect as far as planned giving over the nest year. Otherwise, how can they operate? I have no problem with plege cards or commitment cards. In fact, for me, they help me to remain committed. If I've committed to giving, say, $2000 to the church over the next year, and make the statement formally via a pledge card, then I will hold myself accountable to the commitment to doing so.
     
  3. Gold Dragon

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    Churches asking for and receiving pledge cards should not consider a pledge to be "money in the bank" and should budget accordingly. They can use them as an estimate with the expectation that it could be lower or higher depending on unexpected circumstances.

    About the treasurer's wife, your thoughts about her are purely speculation at this point. If she confronts you, you have a ready response. I wouldn't worry about what you think she thinks.
     
  4. TexasSky

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    John,

    You indirectly bring up some interesting points. Pledge cards didn't become popular until around 1980. How did churches operate before that?

    Wouldn't your commitment be to God anyway? Wouldn't you feel obligated to live up to that?

    Or are we talking about "beyond your tithe"?
     
  5. Thankful

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    I don't think I have ever signed a pledge card.

    I think though that when people sign a pledge card that they really intend to give that specified amount. The problem is that one can experience unforeseen expenses during the year and possibly do not have the money to give.

    Further, TexasSKy, don't fall into the trap of defending your giving practices. You are correct it is no ones business.

    Just recently, the woman who was counting the money in my Sunday School Class let me know in a subtle way that she had given more than I had. I was tempted to fall into her trap and play her little game, but thought better of it. She really has no idea how much my husband I give. We give our tithe and more.

    A pledge card is not going to cause me to give more or less. The cards may be necessary for projection of the Budget or to show a bank that the church supports a certain project.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Considering I didn't get saved until after 1980, I couldn't tell ya [​IMG]

    But seriously, there are a lot of things the church does now that it didn't do before. "We always done it that way" is usually not sufficient. But I don't think pledge cards are mandatory or anything like that. I think they're a good tool that the church is welcome to use if it is beneficial.

    A financial commitment to the church is a commitment to God, but not every commitment to God is a commitment to the church. I've mentioned a few times that I'm a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I also support them financially. It's my commitment to God, but not to the church.

    Let's face it, we humans are lousy at making reall commitments. Making "private" commitments typically fail, because of the lack of acountablity. Just look at all the failed New Year's resolutions. We sinful humans simply don't keep commitments that lack accountability. Sad, but true.
    No, I don't distinguish. But, presuming the tithe to be a scripturally permissible principle (some will argue that it's not), the tither is to give the tithe to God. That doesn't mean give the tithe to the church. A person who tithes is free to give half of the tithe to the church, and, say, to Samaritan's purse, or the Red Cross, or Boy Scounts, or whatever other organization that the giver feels is acting in a Godly manner and worthy of the resources.

    That being said, I believe that every person should financially support the church they attend, and in addition to financially, support it with time and prayers. And, ultimately, how much a person gives, and to whom they give, is no one's business but the giver's.
     
  7. Circuitrider

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    True enough, the tithe belongs to God. However the storehouse for the tithe in the Church age is the local church. While Paul may be speaking in I Cor 16 about giving beyond the tithe he surely makes it clear that the believer's giving to God goes through the church. Samaritan's Purse, Red Cross and the Boy Scouts may be worthy organizations, but they do not qualify as the place for the tithe. Make your gifts to them an offering above the tithe. [​IMG]
     
  8. Johnv

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    I'm not scripturally convinced that the storehouse is the church.
     
  9. richard n koustas

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    never signed a pledge card, never saw a need for one, never was really offered a good (solid biblical) reason for it.

    I didn't know what pledge cards were until i started attending a baptist church. heck, we didn't even have envelopes. a sack came around at the end of the worship service and money was put in.
     
  10. Clean1

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    pledge cards at our church are called missions cards. we support alot of missionaries and even the little kids have missions cards. before i sign my card i always pray to God a few days before we sign the cards about what He wants me to give. Whatever He lays on my heart i give.it doesnt matter how much you give, but whatever God has laid upon your heart. if your only giving more to impress people then its just like a competition. its God's money and He can do anything he wants with it.
     
  11. Brother James

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    I'm still looking for a Levite to give the tithe to. :confused:
     
  12. Johnv

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    Let's not hijack this thread to make it about tithing. Note that I said, "presuming the tithe to be a scripturally permissible principle (some will argue that it's not)...".
     
  13. Alcott

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    I have not signed a pledge card (regardless of what the church or entity chooses to call it) for many years. My reason is that I once did sign such a card for an organization that I did, and do, consider a positive Christian mission. It was really for a 'small' amount, but by nothing more than simple negligence I did not keep that 'commitment.' I thought about it and considered the words of Jesus from Matthew 5-- "Do not swear at all...let your 'yes' be yes and your 'no' be no; for anything more than these comes of evil." While most would probably make a fine distinction that "pledge" or "commit" do not mean swear, it is still true that a pledge is more than a "Yes, I'll do that."

    Obviously churches seem to have little reservation about requiring something more than yes or no, regardless of what Jesus said, but I have not been persuaded to sign any such cards for something like 20 years now.
     
  14. Brice

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    I see nothing wrong with pledge cards. That being said, the church should realize that many of these pledges will fall through.
     
  15. TexasSky

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    I think I started feeling negative about pledge cards many, many years ago when my sister and I moved to a new city and were visiting churches in the area.

    Three churches that we visited sent people to talk to us about possible church membership and all three sent pledge cards. The impression was they didn't care about WHO joined their church, or even if someone DID join - - they just wanted their money.
     
  16. Roguelet

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    I agree with Texassky

    I do not recall George Muller ever using pledge cards, in fact he never asked for money from anyone BUT God.

    If only our men of God could have a 1/4 of the faith this man had [​IMG]

    If churches do use pledge cards they should be for things other than your tithe like missions or building funds. IMHO
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    I believe that pledge cards are a tool for extorting money from the congregation.

    I do not believe that churches should budget their money. Instead, they need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and what He is telling them to do. And I am writing this from the perspective of a former pastor who learned from personal experience that what God orders, God pays for—regardless of the churches “budget.”

    What other members of the congregation think about you is not nearly as important as what God thinks about you. Be obedient to God and let God deal with the busybodies.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. ccrobinson

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    (Stand by while this thread is hijacked.)

    Craigbythesea,

    I find your comment about not budgeting money to be interesting. I believe there is a place for a budget because things like electricity, heat, a/c, etc. need paid for and a budget is a very useful tool for spending the money given to the church. I agree with you about being sensitive to the Spirit, and I think that sensitivity can be applied in the budgeting process, as well as for spending money outside of what's been budgeted as the need arises.

    (returning to your regularly scheduled unhijacked thread)

    I have never signed a pledge card and am not about to start to now. Craigbythesea's last comment pretty sums it up for me as well.
     
  19. TexasSky

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    Interesting points brought up.

    In the first days of the church you didn't have "standard" expenses related to building maintenance, and you didn't worry about your congregation leaving if the thermostat didn't suit them.

    Are we putting human comforts over God?
     
  20. Johnv

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    :confused: If a church does not budget, it is not being responsible. If it is not being responsible, it's being a poor manager of the resources. Doesn't sound very scriptural.
     

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