A journey to becoming more generous followers of Jesus

Do Good. Be Rich in Good Works.  Be Generous and Ready to Share.  1 Timothy 6:18

Trinity has started a generosity journey called Ignite. This journey is intended to help us all become more generous followers of Jesus in every aspect of our lives. We will also consider how we can prepare for and resource a new decade of ministry at Trinity.

Commitment Weekend - We Have IGNITED!

As we worshipped together via Facebook on March 29th, we made our IGNITE generosity commitments. Thank you to everyone who made a commitment. Many of you posted a pic on Facebook. What a great witness that was!

When we started this journey – even more than our financial goals –  we have been praying for 100% engagement – that every household at Trinity would join the IGNITE journey and make a commitment. IGNITE is, above all, about becoming more generous people in every part of our lives. 

So there’s still time to join the journey. If you haven’t made your IGNITE commitment yet, would you please do that? Think about it, talk about it, and pray about it. Then fill out your IGNITE commitment and unleash the new generosity God has laid on your heart.

Everyone is encouraged to now send their commitment by May 15th. (Please see details below). Then, on Sunday, May 31st, the Feast of Pentecost, we are going to dedicate them to the Lord.

So what’s next in the IGNITE journey? Here are the 2 main things . . .

Please send in your commitment by May 15th

1. On the Feast of Pentecost (May 31st) we are going to dedicate our commitments to the Lord. You can do that by mailing your card to the Church Office (30888 C.R. 6, Elkhart, IN 46514) or filling it out electronically either download the PDF or go to the online form

Below you will find a video of how to fill out the commitment card. Open the PDF using Adobe Reader.

Start your IGNITE giving.

2. As we are sending in our IGNITE Commitment Cards, as you are able, would you please begin to give your IGNITE offering and fulfill your commitment? As we remember how Jesus gave His life for us, we want to gratefully expand our generosity and give back to Him.

If you are interested in transitioning your giving online here is a short explanation of setting up your account with Tithe.ly.

Mobile App Explainer Video

For best viewing experience click the full-screen icon in the lower right corner.

Text to Give Explainer Video

For best viewing experience click the full-screen icon in the lower right corner.

Ignite Small Group Study

As we grow together in generosity, join us for a four week book study in March titled “Plastic Donuts”. This book will help us better understand our relationship with our loving God and how it relates to generosity. It’s a whole new way to look at giving! Each family will receive a free copy of this book and adults are asked to sign up for a group, or meet with their current Connection Group. Books will be available on February 15 in the gathering area. You can sign up for the study online or by visiting the ignite station in the gathering area.

Plastic Donuts Session 1 Video

Plastic Donuts Session 2 Video

Plastic Donuts Session 3 Video

Plastic Donuts Session 4 Video

Plastic Donuts Session 1 - Not All Gifts are the same!

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with the study on your own time.  Please read chapters 1 & 2 before working through the study guide below.

Plastic Donuts Session 1 Study Guide

Plastic Donuts Session 2 - The Amount Matters

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with the study on your own time.  Please read chapters 3 & 4 before working through the study guide below.

Plastic Donuts Session 2 Study Guide

Plastic Donuts Session 3 - 2% Perspective / Because I can

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with the study on your own time.  Please read chapters 5 & 6 before working through the study guide below.

Plastic Donuts Session 3 Study Guide

Plastic Donuts Session 4 - The Heart of the Matter

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with the study on your own time.  Please read chapters 7 & 8 before working through the study guide below.

Plastic Donuts Session 4 Study Guide

Our Ignite Journey

Here are the stories that we hope will help to Ignite your journey with generosity

The Harman Story

The VanderVliet Story

The Stallman Story

The Rupel Story

Generosity Stories

Our Ignite Initiative Goals

Igniting an Expanded Ministry

Early Childhood Ministry

We will reach more young families, through our expanded Early Childhood Ministry, sparking faith in the hearts of little ones and their parents, and opening a new and bright future with Jesus. This includes:

 

  • Developing a strategic plan for the next decade; adding improvements, staffing and resources for that plan
  • Providing financial aid to families who need it
Ministry to Children, Youth, and Families

We will fan the flame of faith in our children and youth through our expanded Church and School ministries. We will partner with families in the sacred task of raising children in today’s world and help each child discern the future God has planned for them. This includes:

  • Providing a continuum of classes, gatherings, events, and other faith-formation experiences
  • Investing in the staff who are called to teach and model faith
Jesus; Love for our World

We will learn to be greater witnesses of Jesus’ love through our words and deeds as we extend the reach of our Trinity family to the world around us. Through us, the Holy Spirit will create faith in the hearts of those who do not know Jesus and lead them to their eternal future. This includes:

  • Inspiration, training and events that will teach us to become better witnesses of Jesus’ love
  • Reaching “outside our walls” with Jesus’ love by supporting local and global partners

Igniting a Stronger Community

Our facilities and property serve as a “Home” for the many families who come to Trinity. We will care for and improve what God has entrusted to us for the present and future generations in order to provide an environment where faith is born and grown through worship, learning, relationship-building, and service. This will build a stronger sense of community with each other and open our home to our Michiana community.

Igniting the Possibilities of Our Future

Together we can aggressively pursue debt freedom so that we are open to any new opportunities the Holy Spirit might place before us in the future. By paying down the principal of our loan, all of the money we would spend on interest – possibly millions of dollars –could instead be used to grow ministries that inspire faith and strengthen families.

Discovering the Possibilities

Many faithful Christians are amazed at their ability to give ‘over and above’ to our Lord, particularly when they go to him in prayer to guide the way.  We offer six steps and possibilities to help you in this regard, as your prayerfully consider your desire to act in faith, for our family, ensuring our future as a church and school.

 

Pray

The very first step is to pray. Simply, humbly and with an open and listening heart, ask the Lord, “What would you have me do, Lord?” If you are struggling with how to do it, ask Him to make that clear, too. The Lord wants us to be generous just as He is generous. When we come to Him sincerely in prayer, He will show us the way.

Practice Priorities

Many Trinity families may choose to rearrange priorities, choosing to give up something in their current budget in order to give more in response to Ignite.  Priority budgeting may mean postponing a planned expenditure such as a new car, vacation, home remodeling or other major purchases.  Many people who desire to accelerate their generosity find a way to give through sacrificial commitments made in faith, coupled with priority budgeting.

Redirect Present Expenditures

Often, families have significant short-term expenditures for special needs.  One example is the large expenditure a family incurs for a child to attend college.  This family realized that their daughters would be graduating from college during the initiative’s giving. As a result, they were able to increase their commitment during the second year of the initiative’s giving season by thousands of dollars, investing what they had been spending on their daughters’ tuition for the Lord’s work.  Another example would be cash flow that is freed up when a current debt is retired.

Increase Giving with Increased Income

Some people receive periodic increases in salary or bonuses from their employers.  In many instances, families have decided that they will commit the full amount of anticipated salary increases to the vision of Trinity’s future.

Give from Your Excess

In 21st century America, many of us have lots of stuff. We suspect a number of Trinity families have resources available to them beyond their day to day living expenses.  Many Christians find joy when they give generously out of their excess.  Excess doesn’t always equate to money.  

 Maybe you own items that still have value, but are not useful to you any longer.  For example, one woman in another Lutheran church decided to sell some inherited jewelry for the Lord’s work, rather than have it remain unworn in her jewelry chest.  An avid hunter decided to sell two guns he already owned, but no longer needed, returning the proceeds to the Lord for his church’s building project. As you look around your home, the Holy Spirit may help you discover surprising ways you can help Ignite our Lord’s work at and through your church.

Donate Appreciated Assets

Over the past several years, we have seen a historic rise in the stock market.  Many stock holdings have a tremendous level of unrealized gain.  That is good news.  The bad news is that if these stocks are sold, a significant portion of the gain would be lost to taxation.  Gifts of appreciated assets – typically investment securities or real estate – can be very advantageous to both the donor and to the church.  Unlike gifts of cash that have already incurred an income tax, gifts of appreciated assets aren’t subject to capital gains tax.  In addition, the donor receives an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the asset.  That, in effect, makes these gifts less costly to make. Take a look at this example:

 

Sell Asset and Gift the Net Proceeds

Gift the Asset Directly

Value of asset

$12,000

$12,000

Original Purchase Price

$ 3,000

$ 3,000

Amount of appreciation

$ 9,000

$ 9,000

Capital gain taxes*

$2,340

-0-

Proceeds to church

$9,660 (asset value minus taxes)

$12,000

*Assumes 12-month holding period and a 6% state income tax rate 

Though it is important to invest your giving to further the mission of the ministry God has laid on your heart, it is also important to consider the tax implications of making a gift to the church.  Before making a commitment of this type, consult your CPA, tax attorney or another financial advisor.

Giving does not have to be in equal increments of the two-year period of the campaign (April 2020 to March 2022).  However, you may even want to consider an initial gift in 2019 as you prayerfully consider accelerating your generosity during the coming two giving years.  For many families and individuals, this will be a sacrificial gift and one that will need time and planning to realize.  As you think about your financial commitment to Trinity’s future, think not of just your potential to give right now, but also of your potential to give in the future.  It might be that you can make a three-year commitment in which 20 percent is given this year, 30 percent in 2020, and 50 percent the next year.

Those who are 70 ½ years or older and own a traditional IRA account can elect to make Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) which can satisfy your required minimum distributions for the year. A QCD provides greater tax benefits than regular contributions, particularly in light of recent federal tax reform enacted by Congress. 

As you consider the best options for you and your family, we strongly urge you to consult your tax professional or licensed financial services, representative. They can help you determine what are various giving options for you as you prayerfully prepare for commitment weekend.