Lectionary Reflection for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, October 23, 2016
Why be stingy with mercy toward others when God desires all to be held in the divine grip of grace? When we let go of the need to be right, to be an insider, and to be better than others, we find that life opens up–real life. (Photo: Jimmie, Creative Commons)
Today, church leaders must appeal to the congregation from a variety of vantage points. There are no magical programs, processes or words that fund a church budget automatically, but some broad understandings of what people are looking for can help. Here are three essential aspects of stewardship, all beginning with the letter ‘i’.
Lectionary Reflection for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, October 16, 2016
Like Jacob, are we willing to encounter God in our dark nights of the soul and hang on for dear life? Ultimately, are we able to submit to the blessing—named and claimed and never forsaken? (Photo: Michael Swan, Creative Commons)
If generosity is how we honor and express human value, than any act of kindness counts in the bigger picture. We can all be kind. We can all be generous. This is one of the key teachings of all the world’s religions. So we decided to look into our databases of quotes collected from our reading and see what teachers of our times and earlier ones have said about the spiritual practice of generosity. Read this assortment of quotes and observations, share them, and make them a part of your own development. (Photo: Bert Haymans, Creative Commons)
Most of us some of the time, and some of us most of the time, need help in managing our money. How we earn it, save it, spend it, and give it is a persistent challenge for every follower of Christ. In our culture many of us are crippled by debt, but what we need is not more money but more wisdom. (Photo (c) tanawatpontchour – fotolia.com)
There’s another way besides a line-item budget to present your congregation’s proposed annual spending plan. A Narrative Budget tells the story of how your church practices good stewardship of the gifts entrusted to it. It provides a vision of where the church hopes to be in the coming budget cycle. It reflects how the congregation spends its time, talent, and treasure rather than paying the bills.Check out this free 12-page resource. (Photo: Rob Nguyen, Creative Commons)
One of Christian theology’s most prophetic voices offers a challenging biblical analysis of the role of money in our culture. Wealth in America, Brueggemann says, acts as a narcotic, numbing us. “The great contradiction is that we have more and more money and less and less generosity — less and less public money for the needy, less charity for the neighbor.” (Photo: Prisoner 5413, Creative Commons)
This year help your congregation make the connection between God’s creation and something very near and dear to them — their food! A worship service that celebrates and gives thanks to God for the bounty of the earth will also remind parishioners of the seasons of the year, the cycle of life, the value of farms, the need for sustainable care of creation, and the source of our nourishment. What local agriculture can you bring in? Here are some planning resources. (Photo: StJohn’sFlowerGuild, Creative Commons)
It’s the question you frequently hear about tithing — do you base it on gross income? Or after-tax income? This feature presents different viewpoints from three writers — Frederica Mathewes-Green, David A. Croteau and Steve Stewart. Which viewpoint resonates with your own view? (Photo: Tax Credits, Creative Commons)
“Why is stewardship so stinking difficult?” That’s a question you hear many congregational leaders ask, and it’s also a chapter in the new resource offered by Charles R. Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy. “Embracing Stewardship” addresses that age-old question by offering both a solid theoretical/theological grounding and practical, down-to-earth approaches for making stewardship an everyday part of a congregation’s life together. An accessible, affordable resource.
Here is a real gem! This 50-page resource includes a leader guide and participant materials for use in a faith-based small group context: adult or older youth Sunday school, Christian Education classes, women’s circles, men’s groups, congregational “Green Team,” or in a retreat setting. (Also can be ordered for $5 from the ELCA Resource Catalog.)
A how-to booklet for congregations to develop a Planned Giving ministry. Includes sections devoted to establishing and promoting a Planned Giving program, congregational endowments, wills emphasis, how life-income gifts work, and more. Free download from the United Church of Christ! (Photo: Tracie7779, Creative Commons)
Here’s a free online course on biblical stewardship that you can really sink your teeth into. “Four Gospels” pays attention to the stewardship-of-life underpinnings of the four Gospels as it provides a scholarly overview. From Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.