In Touch – February 2, 2013
Posted on February 2, 2013 by under Touché,

 Paying Our Dues

I no longer receive envelopes for offering.  We give directly through our Fidelity Bill Pay to the church; therefore I no longer look at that odd envelope that says “Classis Responsibility.”  I always thought it odd that we would have a special giving envelope designated for Classis and nothing else. If you are new to your envelopes, new to the church or new to the Reformed Church in America, you may have no idea what that envelope is about.  If you give without your envelopes you may not bump into the Classis question at all.

What is Classis?  Classis is a group of twenty RCA (Reformed Church in America) churches in the Hudson Valley.  The geographical boundary extends from Fishkill to Red Hook and across the river to Saugerties and Blue Mountain.  We serve in ministry together as part of the Regional Synod of New York (a body made up of eight classes). There are eight Regional Synods in the U.S. and Canada that make up the Reformed Church in America.

The Classis collects the membership dues that support the rest of the denomination. Most of that money goes to the region or national level.  Currently for Hopewell that stands at about $100 per active member.  An active member of our church is somebody who has joined the church and regularly attends worship and participates in the life of the church.  The elders go through the roles every year to determine the active membership.  For this past year our membership was over 450 members.  We are paying over $46,000 a year to the denomination.  We are the largest church in the classis and also a growing church so our share of that assessment goes up every year.  This past year our assessment went up 8%, while nothing else in our budget increased to that degree.  The elders are looking closely are our rolls so that we do not continue to see such large increases in this area of expense.

All that is to lift up the challenge to be faithful in giving, not simply the $100 per active member, but the tithe that is a reflection of treasure following your heart.  It certainly helps to have people give with the classis responsibility envelope, but it is better if our giving comes in total and the amount that we pay to the denomination is an afterthought.

This year we made the stewardship challenge of each family increasing their giving by 1%.  Whether you are a tither or just starting out in learning faithful giving, this was the challenge.  So far as we have moved through the first quarter of our fiscal year we have not seen that materialize in our giving numbers.  In REVEAL one of the revelations is that as people grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, tithing is a catalyst in going deeper with Christ.  Today I give you the challenge to not just give to Classis assessments, but to give as you grow in the grace of Jesus Christ.

In Christ,