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Acts2 United Methodist Church
My Giving Testimony
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By Kyle Kaneaster

 

kaneasters family pic

 

My name is Kyle Kaneaster, and I serve as the Finance Committee Chairperson here at Acts 2. 

 

I was raised in the church but had an event in my teenage years that caused me to distance myself from God. I stopped going to church until I was married. My wife, Shannon, was raised in the Methodist church. We found Acts 2 in 2003, and after attending for about a year, participating in Disciple Bible Study and many discussions with Mark, I opened my heart and mind to God's plan once again.

 

When Shannon and I joined Acts 2, tithing was just part of the deal for both of us. In my somewhat legalistic mind, it was a biblical requirement. It felt like a lot of money since we were not making very much in residency and had college loans, medical school loans and a new mortgage. We tithed every month, but I often struggled with thoughts of what else I could do with 10 percent of our income, what other "bills" could be paid. Over time, I pushed those thoughts away each month, and it became just a part of our routine. It kind of became a requirement box to check off, and not a lot more.

 

In 2005, Shannon became my sugar mama when she moved up to chief resident. Since we were already tithing, expanding the dollar amount of our giving by maintaining the percentage was relatively easy. Though I admit, I still thought of what else I could do with some of that money. Shannon finished residency in 2006, and I finally completed residency in 2008. We were both employed at area hospitals, and she was able to retire her title of sugar mama.  At that point in our lives, we more than doubled our income. Without a second thought, we also doubled our contribution to the church, maintaining our tithe. It was rewarding to write bigger checks to the church, to feel like we were making a difference in the ministry at Acts 2.

 

In 2011, I left hospital-based employment and went into private practice. For 6 months, I had no income, and our contribution to the church fell dramatically. I knew this was temporary, but it forced us to shift our priorities about what gifts we could give to Acts 2 at that time. It also forced us to plan a little more diligently about our tithe as the practice picked up speed. I felt a little bad about this, and Jeff, the business administrator of the church, felt really bad! No, Jeff wasn't actually annoyed, and I realized that reducing our dollar amount while continuing to tithe was ok. It was the giving to God what is His that made a difference, not fretting over whether our changing financial situation was reflecting a change in our commitment.

 

The ministry of the church continued to thrive. Apparently, it wasn't all up to me, and certainly not all about me. A little humility allowed me to see how much others were doing. The faithful members of Acts 2 were increasingly impacting the world through their mission work. Mark's reminder, "God is going to get done what God wants to get done. Do you want to be a part of it, financially or otherwise?" began to sink in.

 

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Over the next year, our finances rebounded, but private practice brings a new type of uncertainty. I was no longer on a salary. My income depended on how many patients I saw and how many surgeries I did; I didn't know how this would look from month-to-month. My nature really likes predictability and consistency so this was difficult for me. Even though we were consistent with our tithe, the dollar amount varied. This uncertainty kept me from completing pledge cards. Eventually, Shannon realized I wasn't making a pledge and set me straight. Her background as a preacher's daughter had shown her the importance of the church having some idea of the gifts it would receive in the coming year.

 

To make a budget, you need to know your income, and without pledges from each member family, the church is missing key pieces of information. So I faced my uncertainty and put together an amount I thought we could commit to giving. That actually went well for a few years; I had a goal to reach, which helped us give a little more when we could to cover for the months that we couldn't.

 

Then in 2015 and 2016, the number of ENT surgeons in the city increased by nearly 20 percent, significantly reducing the patient volume per physician. Due to this unexpected turn, we weren't able to reach our pledged amount in 2016.  Again, a little humility crept in, as I did not like the fact that I couldn't uphold the "promise" I had made. This made completing a pledge card for 2017 very stressful for me.  

 

When we began to prepare for this series, “Taking the Next Step,” the stress was still around. Through the process, I have found a new way of looking at it, though. By renaming the pledge cards "estimate of giving cards,” I could see that predicting the exact amount was not the most important part of being involved in the work of the church. I changed my thinking of tithing as simply a biblical requirement and mathematical burden, into thinking of tithing as generosity to God's church reflecting our own gratefulness for His gifts to us.

 

There is a balance of financial service and physical service to God, and the balance tips with the ups and downs of a family's or individual’s journey. Finding that balance for yourself as a Christ-follower and a church member is a heavy responsibility, but having insight and commitment over time can be liberating, too. This is especially true when you see the results of that service, whether that be in walls and roofs, children laughing and families worshiping, or the peace and security of moments alone with God. Your balance will shift, but your dedication endures.

 

I appreciate that all of you are willing to reconsider the role of generosity in your own lives, in whatever form it might take. I'm sure that for at least some of you, like me, it won't always be easy. But I hope that seeing the world-changing work that Acts 2 is performing, locally and globally, becomes reassuring that your contribution to Acts 2, in your gifts, your prayers, your presence and your service, are an important part of the Kingdom.


WORSHIP TIMES
Friday Evening
 6:30 p.m. - One Church Worship

Sunday Morning
 9:15 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2
10:45 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2

CONTACT INFO
4848 W. Covell
Edmond, OK 73012
Click here for directions
Phone: 405-359-2287

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