Christ UMC Promotes Legacy Giving

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In May 2016, Christ UMC in Warner Robins, Ga. enrolled in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Self-Directed Legacy Ministry Training. We caught up with Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Matthew Stewart and Endowment Committee Chair Dave Razo to get their thoughts on jumpstarting an endowment program.

GUMF: What prompted you to start thinking about legacy giving?
Rev. Dr. Matthew Stewart: The GUMF did a presentation for all the pastors in the North Central District of the South Georgia Conference at the same time a church member gave us her home as she moved to assisted living. The Church sold that home, put the funds into the general budget, and in a little while the monies were gone. There is nothing left that says she gifted her home to us. The other part is that a lot of our founding members are now in their 70s and 80s. We have even had several members pass away. I thought this Legacy Ministry program would be good to begin so our members can leave a planned gift that would continue to support our church ministries as opposed to giving one last gift that is quickly used up.

GUMF: Why did your church leadership decide to enroll in the GUMF’s Legacy Ministry Training?
Dave Razo: We felt both spiritually and practically compelled to move in this direction because our church leadership has a great commitment toward our mission, which is to grow all in knowing, loving, and serving Christ. Then, from a practical standpoint, there is the realization that our church has gotten smaller and older like many churches in the United States. To be able to continue to fund that mission into the future with the same vibrancy, we needed some longer term financial commitment. An endowment is a great way to do that.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.