Making a Pledge -- Dr. Robert Richardson
Being asked to make a pledge is not anything new in our society. In fact, it is a very common experience in a variety of ways.
Students at school will pledge allegiance to the American flag. Elected national government officials will pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Soldiers will pledge to defend this country at all costs including the ultimate sacrifice of death.
However, most of the time when we are asked to make a pledge, it involves the giving of money.
Charitable organizations are frequently calling to ask for a pledge to very worthy causes, such as cancer research or muscular dystrophy.
National Public Radio will urge listeners to pledge to help keep public radio stations on the air.
Most churches will ask their members to pledge the annual budget. This is what we are doing this Sunday.
But our pledging the budget has a unique history. Members are asked to walk down the aisle to make their pledges.
In fact, First Baptist members have been walking the aisle to place their annual pledge cards into a sizable replica of the church building since Sunday, 27 November 1949, some 61 years ago.*
It appears that the model First Baptist building was constructed in the early 1940s by H. C. Moore and was first used to accept pledges to a planned YMCA building in Macon. It was several years later that the idea was born that it could be used to pledge the annual budget.*
It is interesting to note that making a monetary pledge to cover an entire year was instituted at First Baptist in 1874 when three men and seven women were charged to canvas the membership and take pledges for contributions to the benevolence fund. (History of FBCX, pp. 64-65).
Pledge Sunday is not designed just to pledge money to the budget. It clearly involves the commitment to missions, education, a dynamic music ministry, meaningful worship experiences, and well-developed children and youth ministries.
For all these ministries to function, it requires a professional team of ministers and scores of members to be involved in the planning, development and function of the church’s basic mission.
These are difficult economic times. The needs have not diminished, rather they have increased significantly. The mission of Christ and His church remains the same.
Therefore, it is important that you prayerfully consider what you can contribute to the mission of First Baptist. You are encouraged to do your part in making this Sunday a great day in the life and work of the Kingdom of God in this place.
Blessings upon you as we give together!
*Info provided by Bob and Vineta Sanders. Photo credit: Joe Newman.