Smart Stewardship for the New Year: 4 Ways to Give and Lower Your Taxes

Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.  1 Chronicles 29:14

As a friend of Langham, we know you have a love for the church around the world and a passion to see leaders equipped to faithfully preach and teach God’s word – especially in hard places. 

We also know you have a desire to maximize the impact of your gifts as you give generously to the Lord and his mission around the world.

The beginning of a new year provides us with a wonderful opportunity to plan our stewardship for the year ahead, and even to make some decisions that will have a kingdom impact beyond our lifetime. 

Many Langham donors have discovered smart ways to give in addition to making a monthly or annual gift of cash.

Here are four giving strategies that make a difference for the global church – and may also benefit your family and allow you to make an even greater impact than you could imagine!

1. Give Directly from Your IRA
If you are over age 70 ½, current tax law allows you to gift up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to charity and exclude that amount from your taxable income. This is called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QDC) and is becoming a favorite way for retirees over age 70 ½ to increase their donation effectiveness.

  • Since the new tax law nearly doubled the standard deduction, this means that many retirees can no longer deduct their charitable contributions because they do not have enough itemized deductions to meet the threshold.
  • Many IRA owners who are over 70 ½ have the best of both worlds. They can eliminate the income tax from their IRA required distribution and take the higher standard deduction.

2. Gift Appreciated Assets rather than Cash
With the stock market near an all-time high, giving stock or other appreciated investment assets directly to Langham Partnership can have a big tax benefit. By contributing long-term (held over a year) appreciated assets such as bonds, stocks or real estate, you can avoid the capital gains tax (up to 20%) you would have incurred by selling the assets.

  • This allows you to give up to 20% more, while also receiving a charitable deduction for the fair, full market value of the donated assets.
  • Donating appreciated assets could also increase your spendable income, because it could take the place of donating cash. This can be a real win-win situation!

3. Revise your Retirement Fund Beneficiary Designation
If you are like many people, your retirement fund (such as a 401K, 403B, or IRA) is one of your largest assets.  Many Langham donors have found that they can make their largest gift ever by naming Langham as a beneficiary of a portion (or all) of their retirement fund. 

  • This gift costs nothing during your lifetime, but can have a powerful impact on the global church in the future. 
  • These gift arrangements are simple and can also reduce taxes for your heirs, since most non-spouse beneficiaries will need to pay taxes when they inherit money from a tax deferred retirement account.
  • If you chose to name Langham as a beneficiary of your retirement funds, we would love to welcome you to our Cross of Christ Legacy Fellowship.

4. Update your Will or Trust
During the past year a record number of individuals have been updating their will or trust.  Is 2021 the year for you to update (or make) your estate plans? While you may want to provide for your children, grandchildren, or others from your estate, many individuals find great joy and purpose in giving to Langham and other ministries through their will or trust.

  • Many Christians will choose to make a “tithe” of their estate to ministry at the end of their lives. 
  • Others will make plans to give a quarter, a third, or even all of their estate to their church and various ministries. 
  • These gifts can be the “gift of a lifetime” and make a difference in the church around the world for decades to come! 
  • If you choose to include Langham in your estate plans we would love to learn about it, and to welcome you to our Cross of Christ Legacy Fellowship.

Your Partner in Planning – As we enter this new year, I would love to help you think about how to align your passions with various giving opportunities and stewardship principles. Please feel free to call me at 314-488-0256 or email me at

Note:  The ideas shared here are not intended as tax, legal, or financial advice.  Your circumstances will impact how the laws apply, and we recommend that you consult your financial and legal professional.

Kevin VandenBrink, Planned Giving Director for Langham Partnership, is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) and a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners. He is passionate about helping people like you who care about the global church and long to be wise stewards. He also brings to the Langham team many years of engagement in theological education, pastoral ministry, and global missions.

Kevin would love to hear your story, celebrate what the Lord is doing through Langham, and visit with you about the options and benefits of including Langham in your planned giving. Please click here to send an email to Kevin, or call him at (314) 488-0256.