If you love something, endow it. If you truly value something, and want future generations to love those same values, then endow it. That is an important lesson I’ve learned over the years. What does an endowment mean to a church? It turns the good times into great times. It makes strong churches stronger. And it insures that the inevitable bad times don’t destroy it. The churches alive today that will be alive 100 years from now are the ones who have had the wisdom of a strong endowment program.
Over the years, my mind has changed about endowments. For years, people told me that they were not good for churches; that they would discourage annual giving. Then Rev. Robert Bohl, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, asked this question: “If endowments are such a bad thing, then why is Harvard doing so well?” Harvard has a $29 billion endowment. Why is the University of Nebraska doing so well? Their foundation has a $1.6 billion endowment. They have had wise leadership.
Westminster needs to have the same wisdom, and to inspire the same generosity. Our Westminster Foundation was started in 1955 by some very visionary leadership. Currently, we have an endowment of around $2.4 million dollars. This is a great beginning.
Yet as a church growth consultant told us, if we want to be ready for the challenges of the future, we need an endowment of $5 to $10 million dollars. Then we will have the strength to lead as God calls us and to weather every storm.
Parrish and I have put the Westminster Foundation in our will. We are part of the 50 Westminster members who first joined the Westminster Foundation’s Legacy Society. The Legacy Society is simply people who want to inspire others to put Westminster in their will or estate plans. We want others to know how much we value this wonderful church.
We love the Lord Jesus Christ. And we love the experiences of God we have had through Westminster. We want future generations to experience God’s love. I believe you cherish those same values. Please consider putting the Westminster Foundation in your will or estate plans. In the words of Proverbs, “Future generations will rise up and bless your name.”
Rev. Dr. Andrew L. McDonald