Faith+Lead: Why do you give to the church and/or other non-profits?
Grace Pomroy: I give in response to all that God has done for me. Giving to the church, financially or otherwise, is one of the best ways that I can follow Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor. On a more personal level, I give to my church because I believe in the work that we are doing together. Particularly throughout the pandemic, my church has helped me (and so many others) to find God and community in the midst of a traumatic time. We’ve also discerned together what it means to love our neighbor and fight systemic injustice particularly as people of privilege. It’s a community that’s exemplified God’s love and taught me how to get out of my comfort zone to love my neighbor in new ways.
Faith+Lead: How do you prefer to give (i.e. via credit card, check, text message, etc.)?
Grace Pomroy: I prefer to give to the church on a monthly basis via Bill Pay through my bank account. In other words, I schedule recurring payments through my online bank account and my bank sends the church my giving via check. This allows my money to go where my heart is whether I’m in worship on that particular Sunday or not. It also allows me to give to the church electronically (because I rarely ever use cash or check) without my church incurring additional fees. It also gives me complete control over changing the amount or the date of withdrawal if I need to. When I give to other nonprofits, I generally give via credit card for a one-time gift and use Bill Pay or a credit card for recurring gifts.
Faith+Lead: What encourages you to give to the church? What discourages you from giving to the church?
Grace Pomroy: One of the biggest things that encourages me to give is knowing that my gift is making an impact. I believe God’s work in the world extends far beyond the four walls of the church — so the church needs to tell the story of what it is doing with the money that it receives. Giving just because “it’s the church” isn’t enough for me. There should be a missional story behind every expense — including the light bill. One of the key things that discourages me from giving to the church is that my husband is not a person of faith. He understands that giving to the church is important to me and is okay allocating part of our giving budget for this, but I consistently look for opportunities for us to give that express both of our values, not just mine.
Faith+Lead: What values guide your giving?
Grace Pomroy: Justice, creativity, sustainability, and education
Faith+Lead: What does stewardship mean to you?
Grace Pomroy: I’ve always loved the quote often attributed to Clarence Stoughton, “Stewardship is everything we do after we say ‘I believe.’” Stewardship is the way in which we use all of the resources entrusted to our care to love God and our neighbor. It’s about money and so much more! Stewardship is love in action.
Faith+Lead: Do you feel like your giving to the church is making an impact? Why or why not?
Grace Pomroy: Yes! As a very small, new start congregation we have a very lean budget. Our pastor is very transparent about our expenses and where our money is going so it’s easy for me to see the difference that it makes. The money I (and so many others) have given has helped to provide a simple meal after worship (during pre-COVID times), pay our pastor and musicians an equitable wage, and provided virtual space for people to come together to ask curious questions and discuss difficult topics like racism.My church has had a profound impact on my life, but it’s also had a large impact on the lives of so many others especially LGBTQIA+ Millennial and Gen Z folks who wouldn’t be comfortable in a traditional church. It’s easy for me to see how my giving has played a role in making all of this possible.
Faith+Lead: Who influenced your approach to generosity?
Grace Pomroy: My family of origin has had a profound impact on the way I approach generosity. I learned about generosity early on by watching my grandparents. They gave consistently to the church and other causes they cared about but they were also openly generous in non-traditional ways like contributing towards a grandchild’s study abroad trip or paying for me to fly home from college for a family member’s funeral. My dad has also taught me so much about generosity. He is someone who is consistently generous but never seeks recognition for it – he’s a big fan of giving anonymous gifts.
Faith+Lead: How has your giving changed over time?
Grace Pomroy: Growing up in the Assemblies of God tradition, I was taught from a young age that it’s important to tithe. Whenever I received money in high school or college, I gave away 10% before using the rest. When I started my first full-time job after seminary, I instituted the practice of giving 10% to the church and giving above and beyond to other nonprofits. Over the course of the pandemic, I took a deeper look at my husband and I’s finances and realized that the amount of money we give away on a recurring basis to my church and other nonprofits we care about hasn’t changed as our salaries have increased over the course of our careers. While I was certain we were giving away at least 10% of our income, the truth was we were much closer to 5%. One of the downsides of having much of our giving on “autopilot” was that we didn’t take the time to reevaluate our giving as our salaries changed. As a couple, my husband and I set the goal of giving at least 10% of our income away once again. We realized that going from 5% to 10% overnight would be challenging for us, but we are slowly working towards this goal a step at a time. This has also given us the opportunity to find causes that we are both passionate about that aid God’s work in the world. Someday I hope we can give even more than 10% of our income away, but for now we’re working towards growing our giving back to 10%.
Faith+Lead: What role does giving play in your financial life as a whole?
Grace Pomroy: As someone who is naturally a “giver”, when money comes into my life that’s the first thing I want to do with it. Giving has been a constant for me during the times when I had little and in the times when I’ve had plenty. While the specific amounts may change, the desire to give has always been present. Giving is a key part of my budget.
Faith+Lead: Are you a spontaneous giver, a regular giver, or a little bit of both?
Grace Pomroy: I am a regular giver and I have to push myself to be spontaneous. However, I realized a few years ago that by restricting myself to only regular giving I was missing out on urgent opportunities that come up. So I decided to start a “giving fund” in our bank account. This is money we’ve ear-marked for giving that doesn’t have a specific nonprofit tied to it, so we can give as a need arises without busting our budget. We’ve used this money to give to more traditional nonprofit organizations when needs arise but we’ve also used this money to give in more nontraditional ways like buying flowers for a friend who is grieving, buying a meal for a friend who is struggling financially, or leaving an extra large tip on our takeout order.
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