Lectionary Reflection, 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, October 4, 2015
Do you have too much spiritual, emotional, and mental plaque clogging your arteries and hardening your heart? Jesus has a prescription to reverse the damage. Dig down deeply and find the child within that longs to be held in Jesus’ arms. Then you will experience the reign of God here and now. (Photo: hannes.a.schwetz, Creative Commons)
Churches today are seeking newer and easier ways to set up giving to benefit their congregations. Online giving has its own set of complexities and options, but is becoming easier all the time. Giving kiosks are popular. New options for online giving are being developed all the time. Here is a sampling of the most popular innovations. (Photo by Creativity 103, used by Creative Commons license)
What does it mean to have enough? Writer and retreat leader Erin S. Lane explores this question through scripture and observation of natural world and our human interactions. (Photo: Lisa L. Wiedmeier, Creative Commons)
Don’t undervalue the power of the letter that accompanies your annual stewardship campaign materials. It’s the invitation your congregation extends for folks to participate in its exciting ministries, a case statement for why their time, talent and treasure are worthy of investing. This resource explains some of the key elements of a good stewardship letter and provides some wonderful examples. Good luck! (Photo by Beate Meier, used by Creative Commons license)
Your church budget is a moral document, reflecting the priorities of your faith community. Likewise, as Christians we are called to be good stewards of all resources, whether they be individual or communal. This paper was produced by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice program (now Creation Justice Ministries) and examines two areas of our federal budget where Christians may wish to gain greater understanding in order to more effectively advocate for faithful use of these resources.
As I work with congregations in their stewardship ministry, I’m always surprised how few annually ask members and friends of the congregation to increase their giving. Most people won’t increase giving if you don’t ask them to. “Because of God’s Great Mercy” is a complete program that provides everything a congregation needs to make a direct, respectful request, along with a simple way for people to calculate an increase of 1/2 of 1% of household income.” (Photo by Artotem, used by Creative Commons license)
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.)
This resource outlines the six most popular financial response models used by ELCA congregations. An easy-to-follow guide for new stewardship leaders. Available in PDF as a free download.
Some of the brightest minds of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have collaborated for this collection of essays exploring “How Much is Enough: A Deeper Look at Stewardship in an Age of Abundance.” Each author looks at one aspect of what it means to be a well-formed stewardship leader — the basic competencies needed.
Got a creative idea for stewardship eduction? The Stewardship of Life Institute is offering grants to help fund projects to advance stewardship in the ELCA. Applications are submitted online and due on September 15 for the next funding round. See details inside! (Photo by Steven dePolo, used by Creative Commons license.)