As we prepare to consider our new budget, a proposed strategic plan for ministry, and our celebration of Atonement’s 50th anniversary, I would like all of us to take stock not only of our financial giving in the years past, but also of our stewardship of all that God has given to us. Here are five practical steps you can take to assist you: 
1. Attend the Divine Service to receive God’s gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. If you’ve not been faithful in attending worship to hear the preaching of God’s Word, to receive forgiveness and feast on the rich food of our Lord’s body and blood for the eternal benefit of your body and soul, then repent and come to receive the gifts God freely gives.
2. Pray for the Lord’s Help. God desires that we call upon his name in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Go to the throne of his grace and ask for strength and wisdom to follow him faithfully.
3. Consider what the Church is and what the Church does. The Church is a mercy place. It inhales the mercy of God, our Father through the death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son through the preaching of the Gospel and the Sacraments. It exhales this mercy in love toward others. Through our stewardship, even the generous giving of our income, we spread that mercy.4. Take stock of your current giving in light of the New Testament’s teaching on supporting the work of the Church. Are you giving of your firstfruits, taking it out of your paycheck first, or does God get what’s left over? Are you giving voluntarily and cheerfully? Are you giving proportionally and generously? We are free in Christ to be generous.
5. Commit for the year a generous proportion of your income. You will have an opportunity to do this through your pledge card.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! As he has risen so too you have risen to new life in his name. May you believe and trust in this promise from your reliable God and his reliable word all the more and let this promise in Christ lead you in your faithful stewardship.
 The following five steps are part of an article by Jason Braaten titled, “He Wants You” in The Lutheran Witness, February 2014, 14-15.