Stewardship as Spirituality
by Kathye Hamm
September is a busy month for Stewardship Committees in congregations, especially if you are doing an annual campaign in comparison to year-round stewardship practice. Not that we do not practice stewardship year-round but a year-round program is a way not to wait until fall season when leaders are about to prepared for next year’s budget. Last week, six people from our Synod participated at the Stewardship Kaleidoscope Conference with the theme, “The Pulse of Generosity: Vital Signs of a Healthy Steward”. It is a yearly event hosted primarily by the Presbyterians but in recent years, Lutherans have joined and now the ELCA is a co-organizer. The Keynote Speaker was The Rev. Eric Law who presented a Stewardship tool that is in his book, “Holy Currencies: Six Blessings for Sustainable Mission Ministries” where he shares a lot of stories of his experiences accompanying many congregations towards vitality and sustainability.
I would like to share with you some take away from our participants:
From Pat Cash; Two things popped out that I think are worth sharing: One is the absolute need for policy writing and planning before going into any kind of planned giving, esp. legacy gifts and this quote from one of the workshop presenters: “Stewardship is the antidote to the idols of our age.”
From Pastor Barbara Foltin: The biggest takeaway for me was that our brains are wired for scarcity thinking & we need to interrupt that cycle of thinking. I think that’s what Jesus was doing when he told the apostles that they only needed faith the size of a mustard seed.
One thing that I heard over and over again through stories and experiences is that tend not to tell stories about how we are changing our lives though the collective and individual work of the congregation as we embody God’s work where we are planted. This is very telling when we make our budget or financial report.
Of course, stewardship is not all about money. Eric Law’s six focus areas of time and place, gracious leadership, relationship, truth, wellness, and money are the various currencies that center on giving and exchanging as ways of expressing one’s spirituality in stewardship. And he captured this in this statement:
“So when we do not have much money, we should give it away anyway. It can be exchanged for other currencies that we need more than mere money. When we give, we interact with others and we exchange other currencies. When we give, we form trusting networks and create community. When we give, we start things moving and flowing again, recirculating different currencies through the community.”
I know that this article may be too late for this year’s stewardship season for any of our congregations but it may be perfect to think ahead and plan for next year, be it a year-round or fall season stewardship program.
I invite you to check out our Synod’s stewardship page.
Finally, as any act of generosity, I would like to thank you all for our partnership as church together be it through the blessing of time and place, gracious leadership, relationship, truth, wellness, and money. Thank you!
Full Communion Stewardship Resources
The Episcopal Church – https://www.episcopalchurch.org/stewardship
The United Church of Christ – https://www.ucc.org/stewardship_stewardship-resources
The Reformed Church – https://www.rca.org/resources/stewardship
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