At First United Methodist Church of Bakersfield stewardship is taught as a Christian lifestyle. All year our people get the message that God gave His own Son for us. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price,” 1 Cor. 6:20; and God wants us to become generous as God is generous.
In 2009 FUMC completed the construction of our newest building – a $1.3 narthex. There remained a debt of about $250,000 which was paid off in 2010. How did that happen? Everyone was urged to pray for financial blessing. Then one day we were informed of a considerable sum of money left to the church by a long-‐ago member. So the mortgage was paid and the Administrative Council praised God and realized that we needed to show our gratitude to God. So a decision was made to tithe our bequest monies – give 10% – to a local, Christian ministry. That is how we were able to help The Mission at Kern with their “women in transition” program, LOVE inc. and others.
Tithing is taught at FUMC. Does the Pastor tithe? Do leaders of the church tithe? Tithing is a not a requirement for church membership, but it is a biblical standard. So we try to embed the Bible in all our communications. Everyone is encouraged to be in a small group for spiritual growth. The small group experience includes practical knowledge of the Bible, prayer, a stewardship lifestyle, and a service project in the community.
The Finance Committee develops an annual budget that “stretches” us toward God’s purpose. Special holiday offerings go to mission outside the FUMC budget (such as UMCOR projects and local Christian missions). It is our practice to nominate people to the Finance Committee who are tithers or strong and consistent givers.
In the Fall we have a “stewardship emphasis” encouraging our members and constituents to pledge to the Lord’s mission through the church. Each year we have a new theme and logo that appears on our communications and is a theme for a sermon series. The theme for 2013 -‐ Living the Life God Meant For You “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
We continue to pray that God will provide the necessary resources for us to fulfill the mission the Lord has given us.