Like so many others, my wife and I found ourselves without a current and viable estate plan in place. Although we had drawn up a pair of wills years before, it was a shock to see how out-dated and inadequate they had become. Our circumstances, finances, and interests had changed, but our wills had not.
A last will and testament is supposed to provide instructions to family and friends about who and what was important to the will-maker in life. With time, our wills no longer reflected those values. And to just discard our old wills would leave us without wills, causing state laws to take over and leaving our assets to be distributed to distant or unintended relatives, or possibly to the state itself. Neither result was what we wanted to leave behind.
So began our journey to develop a God-honoring estate plan that would include our family and the local church, as well as national and international ministries, after we are gone.
In 1985 my wife and I purchased a small family business from my parents. Over the years, the Lord blessed our hard work and commitment to quality products and services. After operating the business for a number of years we began to realize that we had many employees who depended on us, as well our concern for corporate responsibilities. It became obvious we needed an estate plan that would deal with the business issues as well as our personal goals.
About that time, we were invited to our first World Challenge in Tacoma, Washington. The effectiveness of the JESUS Film was very impressive. We appreciated how the JESUS Film Harvest Partners teams work with indigenous peoples to identify pastoral and lay leadership, and how they help establish preaching points and organize local churches to disciple new believers. As a result of that invitation to the Tacoma World Challenge, we included the JESUS Film Harvest Partners ministry in our new estate plan.
In a more recent World Challenge, my wife and I were struck with the urgency of getting JESUS Film teams and equipment out to the field. We realized we didn't want to wait until we were dead and gone to support this ministry in a more meaningful way. We wanted to be a part of the ministry during our lifetime. So, we decided to make an immediate and significant pledge.
In order to implement this pledge, we engaged the services of the Church of the Nazarene Foundation. With their help, we were able to establish an endowment fund, which will be funded over a five-year period. Each year, 95 percent of the endowment earnings will go the JESUS Film Harvest Partners ministry and the remaining five percent will be plowed back into the endowment to help grow the fund.
After we are gone, our estate will be distributed to various ministries through the Foundation in a God-honoring way. We are so impressed with the Foundation and thankful that we can have the joy of giving now and seeing the results because of our endowments. We are confident the ministries that are important to us will keep on receiving income in perpetuity.
-Tim and Judie Abrahamson
Note: This is one in a series of articles for 'Modeling Generosity' a series where Holiness Today partners with the Church of the Nazarene Foundation and other entities. Learn how God's people model generosity in their lives. Help inspire others to leave a lasting legacy by sending your stories, or the story of someone you know who lives generously, to email@example.com.
Holiness Today, March/April 2011