Stewardship Committee Members: The Rev. Jason Collins and The Rev. Bob Horowitz
The Diocesan Stewardship Committee will assist the clergy and parishes to make Biblical stewards that grow the kingdom of God in the Diocese of South Carolina.
The Diocesan Stewardship Committee will be a clearing house of the best written, oral, visual, and digital resources on Biblical Stewardship for the clergy and parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Visit our Stewardship Blog at http://malachi310blog.com/
New: The Four Ls of Sacrificial Living: A Stewardship/Teaching Preaching Series for 2016 :
Because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we who have faith in Jesus are reconciled to God. In gratitude for God’s goodness, forgiveness, and mercy, our Communion Services says that we are to offer “ourselves, our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice” to God. When Stewardship Season comes along each year, we often talk about sacrificing some of our financial resources to the church; along with our “treasure”, sometimes it is suggested that we make a sacrifice of our “time and talent”. But since we are to be eternally thankful and good stewards at all times, below is a template for a 4-part preaching or teaching series for Stewardship called “A Living Sacrifice: The four Ls of Sacrificial Living”. In each part of the series, the congregation will see that we offer the Lord a sacrifice of our Lips (worship), Love (service), Loot (finances), and Life (daily living) as we live our Christian faith with sacrificial gratitude.
Stewardship in Some Less-Obvious Places in the Old Testament
Since good stewardship of God’s gifts and resources is a way of life for Christians, perhaps we would do better to preach on stewardship when it occurs in the lectionary readings or at other times throughout the year instead of concentrating all of our efforts exclusively in a Fall Stewardship Campaign. Here are some suggested passages from the Old Testament not usually associated with Stewardship, some potential teaching/preaching titles and themes, and an indication when and if that particular text appears in the Sunday Revised Common Lectionary (RCL).
1. “Moved to Give”: Exodus 25. Following the LORD’s instruction, Moses invited the people to give contributions to the Sanctuary, and people with unique skills were asked to do different things in the building of sacred objects. There were both men and women “whose hearts were moved to give” (Not in the RCL).
2. “Giving God our First and Best”: Deuteronomy 26:1-11. The way the Israelites brought the offering is important. They recounted the deliverance from Egypt, thus giving them a specific salvation event to be thankful for. We, too, would be more grateful if we gave or offering and remembered a specific time that the Lord saved us. That is the proper attitude of grateful hearts (Lent 1 – Year C).
3. “God’s Blessings, Our Gratitude”: Psalm 115 (Not in the RCL).
4. “Attitude of Gratitude”: Psalm 116:12-19. Praise is giving glory to God for who he is. Thanksgiving is giving glory to God for what he has done for us. It is the lens through which to view our entire life (Maundy Thursday and Easter 3 – Year A).
5. “Gifts from God”: Daniel 2: 36-38. God told Nebuchadnezzar three things, which are true for you also (vv.36–38): First, all you have has been given to you by God. Second, God has placed you in the position that you are in. Third, God has made you who you are. There is no cause for pride, arrogance or self-satisfaction. Your abilities, gifts and resources are all given to you by God (Not in the RCL).
6. “It All Comes from the LORD”: Daniel 4:30-37 (Not in the RCL).
7. “Sacrifice for the Lord’s Honor”: Ezra 2:68-4:5. This would be a helpful text for stewardship and/or a capital campaign to raise funds for a church building project (Not in the RCL).
8. “The Right Attitude Towards Money”: Proverbs 31:10-20. A Proverbs 31 woman is a great example of someone who has the right attitude to money. As John Wesley said, ‘Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.’ This text gives evidence that she does all of that (Not in the RCL).
9. “Leadership and Money”: Nehemiah 5:1-7:3 (Not in the RCL).
Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Book Review
By The Rev. Jason Collins
In a thoroughly researched and extensively updated classic called Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Randy Alcorn illustrates the necessity of rethinking our perspectives on money and possessions – Christians must view them as God’s provision for our good, the good of others, and His glory.
Alcorn presents a biblical and comprehensive view of money and possessions, including the following:
• Why is money so important to God?
• Is prosperity theology right or wrong?
• How can we be liberated from materialism?
• What should we do about debt?
• How much does God want us to give?
• How can we best help the poor and reach the lost?
• What about gambling? investing? insurance? saving? retirement? inheritance?
• How can we leave our children a true heritage?
• How can we use money in ways that God rewards?
In one section of the book titled, Money and Possessions in Eternity’s Light, Alcorn teaches on the eternal rewards of good stewardship and the eternal destiny of a good stewardship. Alcorn suggests that when the Christian surrendered his or her life to Jesus, they surrendered ownership of their life and their assets. A follower of Jesus is a servant, and Alcorn makes it plain that a servant must be acutely aware that they are not the master nor the owner, but only caretakers and managers of the master’s assets. Followers of Jesus must adopt the steward’s mentality toward the assets that the Lord has entrusted – not given – to them.
Alcorn also provides an extensive teaching on tithing. This section, called Giving and Sharing Our Money and Possessions, giving a tithe back to God is how we reciprocate the generous grace that God extends to us. This section also differentiates between tithing and fund-raising.
With extensive Biblical references, Money, Possessions, and Eternity clearly shows that stewardship is not an annual event, but a way of life for followers of Christ. This practical and refreshing theology of money contains topical and Scripture indexes, a study guide for individual or small-group discussion, and five helpful appendices. There is also extensive teaching and preaching material to be mined from this resource. This book provides a wealth of information to assist individuals and church groups to learn how to be good stewards in God’s kingdom.
Ask, Thank, Tell
A review of a book by Charles Lane, Augsburg Fortress, 2006
Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation, is authored by Charles R. Lane, Director of Stewardship Key Leaders for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a very practical book that is designed to be an introduction to Christian stewardship principles for individuals and committees of congregations tasked with teaching stewardship and raising operating funds for ministry.
The book is organized into two sections of material. The first covers the biblical and theological underpinnings of stewardship in direct, easy-to-read terms and chapters. No deep theological language here! The five chapter titles are:
1. Discipleship, Not Membership
2. It All Belongs to God
3. Money and Possessions in the New Testament
4. Portrait of a Biblical Giver
5. Practicing Biblical Stewardship
Lane begins the first chapter by offering a mission statement for a congregation’s stewardship ministry: The goal of our stewardship ministry is to help God’s people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the use of the time, talents and finances God has entrusted to them (p. 11). This is his theme through every chapter of the book. In each chapter he returns to this idea that stewardship is not about raising money to pay the church’s bills, but is about helping people grow in their relationship with God.
This book is simple and practical in approach. A summary of ideas is offered at the end of each chapter. It is intended simply to sharpen the stewardship concepts and practices of congregations. For some it will be review and quite possibly an oversimplification of stewardship principles. For those who have not heard these ideas before it will be fresh and practical.
Submitted by The Rev. Bob Horowitz
Diocese of SC Stewardship Committee
Planning for Fall Stewardship Campaign
View a helpful guide for Planning a Fall Stewardship Campaign.
Many of the churches in our diocese are about to begin a Fall Stewardship Campaign in preparation for the 2015 church budget year. If a sinking feeling just landed in the pit of your stomach with the thought of another Stewardship season, have no fear. Perhaps the Stewardship Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina can help teach your church about Biblical Stewardship which may help your congregation grow deeper in their faith and produce much-needed “muscle for ministry”.
Below is a sample Stewardship Schedule that can be utilized for a fall Stewardship Campaign (beginning in September and concluding in December) or modified for use at any time of the year. Here are a few notes that will explain the schedule:
1. This schedule assumes that some planning has occurred prior to the campaign beginning in September. Since the Vestry is responsible for the church budget and finances, the Vestry should review and approve the program.
2. Since money is a sensitive topic, the “Stewardship Statement” suggested in the Pre-Campaign section is a statement that the Vestry can sign that states that they support the tithe as the Biblical standard to church giving. This can be used to demonstrate to the parish that the Vestry leads by example.
3. A “Canvasser” is someone selected to contact parishoners to remind them of Stewardship events and to solicit support for the campaign. Canvassers should be trained prior to the start of the campaign so they have a clear understanding of their duties and responsibilities. The Canvassers can be introduced to the parish at a Sunday service where they are commissioned for duty. This way, the parish knows who the Canvassers are and they will not be surprised when a Canvasser calls to discuss stewardship information with them.
4. This schedule includes three (3) Canvass Calls. The first is to introduce the campaign to the parishoners and to give them a schedule of what to expect during the campaign. The second Canvass Call is to solicit an RSVP for a Stewardship Dinner and Teaching event. The third Canvass Call is to solicit pledge cards from anyone who did not submit a pledge card on Pledge Day.
5. The mailings on the schedule are letters or emails that provide an opportunity to teach Biblical stewardship and to give parishioners written reminders about the campaign.
6. A Lay Witness is a member of the parish who is committed to Biblical Stewardship and the tithe who can communicate that understanding to the congregation. Lay Witnesses will help give the campaign “street credibility” in the parish.
7. This schedule provides three sermon topics for three successive weeks of the Stewardship campaign.
8. This schedule also allows for an outside speaker to give a special teaching on Stewardship in a fellowship setting in the parish (a Stewardship Dinner). Pledge cards can be distributed at the fellowship meal following the teaching. Parishes should plan early for an outside speaker.
9. Pledge cards are submitted on Pledge Day at the Sunday Service(s). Those who do not attend the service or who do not submit a pledge card are contacted THAT DAY by the Canvassers.
10. Preliminary results of the campaign are tallied and presented to the parish on the following Sunday. The Stewardship Committee and/or the Vestry can then follow up with parishioners who have still not submitted a pledge.
11. The final results of the campaign are announced at the Sunday Service after follow-up is complete. A meal or a special coffee hour called “Harvest Sunday” to celebrate the “Stewardship harvest” concludes the campaign.
12. Thank-You notes can begin to be mailed following the Harvest Sunday celebration.
The Diocese of South Carolina Stewardship is available to help your parish with Biblical Stewardship. Don’t hesitate to contact our members (The Rev. Wey Camp, the Rev. Bob Horowitz, or the Rev. Jason Collins) for assistance. You may also want to review the Diocese of South Carolina web page for Stewardship suggestions as www.diosc.com. You will find the Stewardship information under “Ministries & Departments” on the main menu. You can also check out the Diocese of South Carolina Stewardship blog site for additional information and Stewardship strategies. The blog address is http://malachi310blog.com/.
Blessings for a Successful Stewardship Season,
The Rev. Jason Collins, Chairman
Diocese of South Carolina Stewardship Committee
View the weekly schedule here: Planning for a Fall Stewardship Campaign.
Think “Stewardship” Long Before Stewardship Campaign Time.
Stewardship Campaign is a distant memory and next fall’s seems a long way off. But beware: the fall will be here before you know it, and since stewardship provides muscle for ministry, it’s not too early to begin planning for your fall Stewardship Campaign now. As you begin to plan your next stewardship program, here are some suggestions to consider:
• Pray without ceasing! Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide your Stewardship Campaign from start to finish.
• Evaluate last year’s Stewardship Campaign. What worked well? What didn’t work at all? Did your parish respond with generosity? Why or why not? Without proper evaluation, you may repeat the mistakes of the past.
• Create a system that can be duplicated. If your Stewardship Campaign was successful, create a system where your success can be repeated. With a system in place, you don’t have to spend valuable ministry time thinking about things that you’ve already figured out. Plus, you can teach your system to new lay leaders who can help you next year.
• Talk about stewardship often. Does your parish dread the fall Stewardship Campaign? It may be because they haven’t discovered that stewardship relates to all aspects of their Christian walk. Jesus taught more about having a proper perspective on wealth and material possessions than He did on prayer! Stewardship is what we do with what we have all of the time; therefore, find ways to incorporate stewardship throughout the year. Teach about the stewardship of time and commitment at the New Year when people have the passing of time on their minds. Have a sermon on the stewardship of talents the week of a ministry fair when parishioners can consider how their talents can glorify God and minister to others. John H. MacNaughton, in his book More Blessed to Give, suggests not combining the stewardship of one’s time and talent with the stewardship of one’s treasure during the fall campaign. Instead, MacNaughton proposes teaching on the stewardship of time around the New Year when parishioners have the passing of time on their minds. He also recommends teaching on the stewardship of talents in association of a ministry fair, or at some other time when parishioners are asked to serve the church with their talents. This way, stewardship is before the parish at various times of the year and not only when the church is preparing to assemble its yearly budget.
• Between annual stewardship campaigns, offer ways to help people afford to be generous. Someone told me once, “I may look good and smell good, but I’m broke!” Most Americans are poor financial planners; we have very little savings and we have an enormous amount of consumer debt. This includes the people sitting around you in the pews. Why not help your parishioners to take control of their personal finances so they can afford to be generous to the Lord? There are many Christian-oriented teaching plans like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and programs by Crown Financial Ministries that can help teach personal finance and good stewardship.
• Consider using an “outside expert.” In the secular world of consulting, an “outside expert” is someone from at least 50 miles away who comes and tells people what they already know. Your parishioners probably know at least a little bit about biblical stewardship, but an outside expert may be able to provide a fresh perspective on stewardship that opens spiritual eyes and generous hearts to the concept. Check with members of the Diocesan Stewardship Committee or Canon Jim Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a list of potential “outside experts” who can give a stewardship presentation to your parish.
• Good stewardship is often related to good discipleship. Teach on biblical stewardship, and when you finish, teach and teach some more. Biblical stewardship and the principle of the tithe are foreign to a culture that “buys now and pays later.” Be patient and keep teaching.
• Start early. This concept has already been mentioned briefly, but planning cannot be stressed enough. Imagine the message that is being preached if the congregation perceives that the Stewardship Campaign was thrown together at the last minute.
As your parish begins to plan for its 2014 Stewardship Campaign, perhaps the Diocese of South Carolina Stewardship Committee can help. This committee is dedicated to assisting all clergy and parishes to make Biblical stewards that grow the kingdom of God in the Diocese of South Carolina. The Diocesan Stewardship Committee strives to be a clearing house of the best written, oral, visual, and digital resources on Biblical stewardship for the clergy and parishes of our diocese. Our committee includes The Revs. Jason Collins, Wey Camp, and Robert Horn. Please contact us if we can be of assistance. For additional information and resources, check out our blog at http://malachi310blog.com/ or join our Facebook discussion group entitled “Diocese of SC Stewardship.”
Contact the Rev. Jason Collins at email@example.com.