I was in Salt Lake City recently on a trip for work and was involved in an interesting dinner conversation. When I visit the teams in Utah it is quite common to end up at dinner with half the group being members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The other half of the table usually consists of non church going people and on this particular evening I was sitting in between both groups. Waiting for dessert, the conversation moved to the subject of pledging financial support to your church.
One of the non church goers expressed amazement that the LDS members were committed to tithing a significant portion of their incomes. Most of the LDS guys at the table were in modest jobs with growing families but they were passionate that significant pledging was a crucial part of their community. They viewed it as their responsibility and a major part in supporting the foundation and growth of the church. They simply presented it as part of the deal in their faith community. Naturally the non church goers at the table found this all astounding and wanted to know where the money went and all the other details. I found the whole conversation pretty fascinating (and entertaining) and it led me to thinking through my process when considering my pledge each year.
Foremost to me, whether pledging money or time, it is a personal process. I love supporting our clergy specifically…Matt and Salying are a real blessing for us. I want to make sure they are fairly compensated for all their work and that they have the right resources in their ministering. I want to make sure the staff that support them are happy as well. I also want to support the work our commissions do…Outreach, Children, Teens, Buildings & Grounds are some examples that are all run by volunteers who need financial support to get things done. I also want to support the complete maintenance of our physical plant…we are lucky to have such a beautiful building to worship in. In the end it all adds up to supporting a community that we are lucky to have been part of for the last 14 years. I want to make sure our small community here in Palo Alto endures and remains a special place for generations to come. That is why I thoughtfully pledge each year to St Marks.