Greetings in the Love of Jesus Christ:

I continue to enjoy meeting and learning more about the Disciples in Arizona.  There is so much to learn – some BIG things, and some little things.  It’s exciting, energizing, and a little overwhelming to have so much to learn.

My favorite part of the job so far is meeting people and learning about you and your congregations.  The past two weeks have included learning about Saguaro’s “Sol Kitchen,” FCC Scottsdale’s pumpkin patch – which unfortunately got cancelled this year due to pumpkins freezing in New Mexico, Alfa y Omega’s “One World” evangelism project, meeting the wonderful people on Coolwater’s search committee, and sharing in a meaningful litany of ministry at an East Mesa CC board meeting.

But another important part of the job has been learning about how the Region’s finances work.   For instance, I’ve learned that many congregations struggle with income in the summer because many of their members are winter residents.  I’ve learned that other congregations are in good shape because many of their former members made gifts in their will, and the legacy gifts from their estates provide a buffer during the low summer months.

In terms of little things to learn, I recently made a funny discovery:   if I want to donate money directly to the Region, I didn’t know how to do it.  As a pastor, I’ve always paid my tithe to my local congregation.  But now as the Regional Minister, after completing the commitment I made to the church I just left, I figure I will divide my tithe between the local congregations I visit each week and the Region itself.   I know how to put a check in the offering plate during worship, but I had no idea how to give money to the Region.  So here’s what I learned:

The Christian Church in Arizona has something called an “Annual Fund,” which is open for donations year round.  There are two ways to make donations:

  1. Send a check directly to the regional office, with “Annual Fund” written on the memo line.Mail to:  Christian Church in Arizona; 917 E. Sheridan St.; Phoenix, AZ 85006
  2. Make an on-line donation via our website: http://azdisciples.org/annual-fund/.  (The only downside to this option is 3% goes to the credit card company – but we’ll still be grateful for the 97%).

Being the careful steward that I am, I wanted to avoid the 3% fee, so I went to my bank, had them set up an “auto-pay,” and now I will have a donation sent to the Annual Fund on the 1st of every month – with no extra fees.  It seems a little thing, but it was a delight to figure out how to become a regular supporter of the ministries and work we do together as the Christian Church in Arizona.

I would invite you to join me in setting up an automatic monthly contribution to the Annual Fund.  Whatever amount you choose, you will be an important partner in the work we do together.  And for that matter, I also invite you to set up legacy gifts in your wills and automatic payments to your congregation to help make their income more consistent even if you leave Arizona during the months when it’s something like 140 degrees outside.

Pastor Jay

Regional Minister and President
Christian Church in Arizona