A Spiritual Guide to Giving

Why should you make an annual financial commitment—a pledge—to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church?

First, making a financial commitment to St. Patrick’s is making a commitment to God. You see, pledging is a powerful spiritual practice – it is a material acknowledgement that all we have comes from God, from the air that we breathe to the money in our bank account.

We live in a consumer society that has a disposable mindset. A couple of years ago, I bought a car. Not six months later, the dealership started calling me to see if I wanted to trade it in. They considered my car purchase as a short-term transaction, instead of a long-term commitment.

A pledge to your church should be something more. A pledge should be a thoughtful, intentional, and longer-term decision that represents your values and commitment to God. Another way to say it is that a pledge is a vow, a sacred vow to support and participate in the worship and ministry of your faith community.

Second, making a financial pledge to St. Patrick’s has profound material effects on the mission of the Church. Because of the gifts we make to God through St. Pat’s, kids get to meet Jesus for the first time through Sunday School, Youth Group, and Vacation Bible School. We are able to have inspiring worship with glorious music and spirit-filled preaching in a comfortable climate-controlled worship space. We welcome people into the Body of Christ through baptism and confirmation, bind people together though marriage ceremonies, and bury loved ones with dignity and sacredness.

Because of our financial commitment, the Christian community is fed in body, mind, and spirit. Simply put, the Kingdom of God is grown through the blessed support of our giving. St. Patrick’s is able to do all of God’s work because of your pledge.

How Should I Calculate My Pledge?

There are as many ways to calculate a financial commitment to God as there are people in the pews. You might have heard the word “tithe,” which means giving ten percent of your income annually. Tithing has frequently been taught as the biblical standard, or minimum, of giving. This isn’t a bad method of calculating a pledge, and it might be the right answer for you at this time. However, there isn’t a lot of evidence that tithing was routinely practiced in the Old Testament or in the new Christian communities of the New Testament. Indeed, the expectations were quite a bit higher in the early Christian communities, just check out Acts 4:32-5:11.

Furthermore, 10% of your income might be too much for you. Making a financial commitment to God should be an act of gratitude and thanksgiving that fosters flourishing. It is not to be a financial burden. Consequently, there are situations when giving 10% of your income would hinder rather than enhance. On the other hand, 10% might be too little. Most of us live far more extravagantly than the people we read about in scripture. In some cases, limiting our giving to 10% would not be an act of faith nor would we be doing as much good as we could with the wealth we have been given.

So, how should we calculate our pledges? Early in our marriage, Jodie and I pledged an annual giving amount equal to our monthly house payment. We did this because we wanted to be as invested in the kingdom of God as we were invested in this earthly plane. So, if you have never pledged before, I recommend this as a starting point.

Eventually we were able to give more. We set forth on a path to become “tithers.” We did this incrementally over a few years. If this method intrigues you, see the chart below for how different percentages of income equate to different monthly amounts of giving at different incomes.

Pledging by Income

  • Find your current income on the left-hand side. 
  • Scroll over to the current amount you give each month.
  • Scan to the top and you will find your current percentage.
  • Prayerfully consider increasing your pledge by one percentage point.

Regardless of how you calculate your pledge, it is imperative to start with prayer. Specifically, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you to the amount you need to contribute so that St. Patrick’s can continue and grow in God’s mission of worship and service.

—Father Jason

Make your 2023 pledge today online with Realm at https://onrealm.org/patsdublin/-/form/pledge/pledgefund2023 

Or print the Pledge Certificate linked below.