Legacy Ministry Training Cultivates Generosity
Rev. Dr. Kevin Murriel, Senior Pastor of Cliftondale Church in College Park, Ga., is a spiritual leader who thinks outside of the box. Shortly after his appointment in June of 2015, he proposed the creation of the Cliftondale Foundation to ensure the longevity of the Church's mission, ministry, and legacy giving. The Church turned to the Georgia United Methodist Foundation for help in implementing this vision.
"As a Pastor, I would like to thank GUMF for their willingness to train and equip churches like ours to fulfill the mission and vision that God has given us," Murriel added. "More churches need to tap into this very important resource, which has worked wonders for us. You don't have to be a megachurch to do this. You can be a church of several hundred or several dozen people, and it can still work to sustain your ministry for years to come."
Don Winston serves as Director of the Cliftondale Foundation, which oversees the Church's Legacy Ministry. "GUMF's Legacy Ministry Training Program is a source of expertise that provided all of the videos, materials, and processes needed to establish an endowment. Our endowment program will enable us to provide scholarships, support the youth program, fund the capital and future needs of the Church, and provide opportunities for members to support the ministries that are dear to their hearts," he said. "GUMF emphasizes the biblical nature of giving. Since establishing our Legacy Ministry, we have seen parishioners' attitudes toward giving change. They are not only giving over-and-above monies, but also increasing giving to the general offering. We are also seeing life-changing stories of transformation as some members have received divine revelations resulting from giving to our Legacy Ministry."
Phyllis Gordon of Austell, Ga. is a perfect example. Three months after joining Cliftondale Church, her brother died suddenly. It was a difficult time as she grieved his loss and struggled with what to do with his and her future estate. Fortunately God had a plan.
"I invited her to a Legacy Ministry Committee meeting by mistake," Winston said. "When she shared what was happening, it was unfathomable to think that she ended up being the sole survivor in her family."
"At the meeting, they talked about the Legacy Ministry and planned giving, which I didn't know anything about," Gordon said. "Then suddenly I realized that God had sent me to Cliftondale for a reason, and everything fell into place."
Thanks to God's intervention, Gordon now knew what she needed to do with both estates. She gave her brother's house to his Methodist alma mater. Then she named Cliftondale Church as a beneficiary in her will so funds from her property can one day be used to provide college scholarships.
"As a former educator, I have a passion for education. I love to see children succeed in college and grow in their knowledge, as well as in their understanding that once they complete their education, they should also give back," Gordon said. "I am thankful to God for leading me to this church, which has been so supportive. I have grown so much spiritually and have come a long way in my giving since becoming a member of Cliftondale. I know that I am giving in the right pathway and with the right heart. It's like a miracle. It has changed my whole life, and my whole way of thinking about giving."