I grew up attending Church. From when I was too young to remember, I went to church - I participated in mid-week programs. My mom was Sunday School Superintendent, VBS Director, helped run the mid-week programs, and when our church started a preschool program, she volunteered so that my sister could attend the first year of classes, even though she was a year too young. Church is in my DNA. I don’t always remember the specific Sunday morning lessons, or every VBS I ever attended, but I remember spending hours at the church over the summer as my mom set up the classrooms for VBS, took inventory of classroom supplies, and laminated every name tag. From a very young age I understood what it means to give your time and talents to a church. And felt the community and friendships that form when you jump all in, and participate in all that you can. Many of my closest friends have been ones I’ve made through church - and I can say that’s still true today.
I also remember, getting little boxes, the cardboard boxes that you fold together on your own. And my Sunday school teacher said - now take this home, and collect coins, and after a few weeks, bring it back in, and we’ll see how much our class collected. A popular one when I was growing up was collecting coins for Heifer International. All the Sunday school classes would have coin boxes, we’d collect our money and buy someone a goat, or a pig, or chicken.
And as I got older, I realized that churches didn’t only collect money to give people in other countries livestock. I started noticing that once a month, during worship, my mom would put an envelope in the offering - my family’s monthly tithe. And I learned from confirmation class what it means to tithe. And my mom talked to me and explained that our family tithes - and that it was important to her - and that even though my dad doesn’t attend church, he supports my mom’s decision to tithe. Even in 2008 when my Dad lost his job, we still gave. And my mom made sure that my sister and I knew that. That even though we didn’t know how long our savings would last us, or how long it would take for my dad to find a job, we would still give to church. The church was a second home for me and my sister- it gave us friends, and family. It was our place, our safe-haven. And so we do our part to support its financial needs.
I give, because the church is my family. It’s a relationship, and like any relationship, it takes two. I have to do my part to support and care for it.
But that’s not the only reason I give to Trinity. When I was in college, I learned a lot about leadership. Leadership styles, how to empower volunteers, mentoring teens, and one lesson that is so simple, but is always in the forefront of my mind, is leading by example. I even took a few psychology classes and developmental psychologists talk about how much children learn by looking to the examples of others. As leaders, if we are asking others to follow us, we must lead by example. And I don’t just mean paid staff, or even just the leaders on Governing Board. Trinity is blessed to have many volunteers, so many people that are willing to serve and lead by example when called upon. All of us, whether we are paid leaders, ushers, greeters, kitchen or maintenance volunteers, are leaders and can make a huge impact when we lead by example. So leaders, if we are asking the congregation to consider increasing their giving, we should also increase our giving. If you gave to Trinity last year you will remember that Ryan had asked everyone to consider increasing their giving commitment by 3%. So I went home and looked at my budget and said, yup! I can do that! This year we are hoping to increase our giving commitments to be be able to allocate money from our budget for our Caring Fund, a ministry I work closely with in the office. And so this year, before I fill out my estimate of giving card for 2019, I’ll be looking over my personal finances to see how I can help Trinity.
Because Trinity is not just my job, it is my place of community and connection, and I want to support our ministries and our building with my time, talents, and financial contributions.
--Melissa Kramer, Director of Congregational Ministries
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