The Church needs to be challenged in heroic giving. No timidity is allowed in proclaiming the Good News and healing of the Gospel. The worlds needs are so great, and the Churchs role in the transformation of the person and of the world so pivotal and essential, that any timidity on the subject is an insult to God.George Regas
Toward Creating a Theology of Christian Stewardship
A priests responsibility to her or his people centers very much on enabling them to form their own theologies.
Now Mark, take all of this to your secret place and weigh it carefully.
Five Pounds of Peanuts in a Three Pound Bag: Our Agenda!PrayReview our direction this morning.The History of Giving in the Episcopal Church.Theology: What is it? How do we do it? Why is it important?What has the entire Old Testament say about Stewardship?What has the entire New Testament have to say about Stewardship?Toward creating a theology of stewardship.
The History of Giving: The primary ways in which the Episcopal Church has been financially supportedColonial PeriodRevolutionary War to the early 19th CenturyThe 19th and early 20th CenturyThe Post 1920 PeriodThe Period after 1968 to the present
The Alabama Plan works because:It asks for and receives leadership from the top.It requires hard work on the part of all those involved.It rests upon strong reflection on the Old and New Testaments, with particular focus on the mind of Jesus Christ.
How Anglicans Theologize
What is Theology?
What does the Old Testament say about Stewardship?
Primarily:Nothing belongs to us. It all belongs to God and we are Gods stewards in the course of our earthly life.We are called to be a grateful people for all that God has entrusted to us.We are to live under the law and give accordingly.
What does the New Testament say about Stewardship?
What it doesnt sayMoney is important!That we are to live strictly under the law. (see St. Paul!)Much about the tithe. (see Jesus!)
What Our Lord says is this:God must be central! NOT:JobMoneyPowerPlaceSexBooze/drugsThe stateThe religious lawOld Number One!
Look at the Story:The WidowThe SamaritanThe Prodigal (or the Parable of the Loving Father!)The TalentsZacheusJudasThe saddest of all!!!
The Widow and Her Mite
The Good Samaritan No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if all he had were good intentions. He had money as well. Margaret Thatcher
And he came to his senses.
The Parable of the TalentsChremodephobia! The fear of money.
The fear of money!
Come Down from that tree .What went on at dinner? One way or another, Our Lord healed Zack of Mammon Illness. (That which makes money central, disfigures relationships, dulls self and makes God secondary.)
Judas and his silverMixed motives, like us!
The Rich Young ManHe defines tragedy.
Cultivating a Theology of Stewardship: Why is it important?
Many Good Reasons:It quiets us, freeing and liberating something deep within us.It helps control some of our fears.It inspires us to do more for others.It allows us to concentrate on other aspects of the Christian faith: worship, study, pastoral care, missions, etc. It aids aids us in putting Christ in the center of our lives.
Cultivating A Deeper Theology of Stewardship: Why do you give?It is the law!To maintain order in the greater society (My taxes pay for an orderly society. Oliver Wendell Holmes) CONVERSION ZONE Being a part of the love story which is Jesus Christ.Choosing to live a Grace-filled life.
What kind of givers are there?
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledger
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledgerPendleton: the tipper
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledgerPendleton: the tipperWarren: the control giver
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledgerPendleton: the tipperWarren: the control giverSky: the casual giver
Wesley K. Wilmers Research on Giving in the United States70% is impulsive20% is out of habit7% is somewhat thoughtful3% is very careful and intentional
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non pledgerPendleton: the tipperWarren: the control giverSky: the casual giverJames: the angry giver
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledgerPendleton: the tipperWarren: the control giverSky: the careless giverJames: the angry giverHerb: the M.I.T. giver
What kind of giver will you be?George: the non-pledgerPendleton: the tipperWarren: the control giverSky: the careless giverHerb: the M.I.T. giverSally: the grace-filled giver
What is Grace for the Christian?
Grace has many manifestations
Grace is my dying Quaker neighbour living each moment with a sense of gratitude.Grace is giving our children the ability to err or to fail.Grace is always welcoming our children home.Grace is reaching out to someone in need with no desire or expectation for reward.
Grace is the courage to say I am sorry.Grace is loving and caring for someone half way around the world who we will never see or know, save to know they are starving or ill.Grace is to love another shamelessly, vigorously, despite their evident flaws.Grace is knowing that God always loves and accepts us.
God has bestowed upon us all that we have and all that we are, freely, with no small print. In turn, we consciously seek to live life in the same way, . living an ever more loving, dignified, sacrificial, compassionate, and forgiving life that models that models Jesus Christ who gave himself freely for us.
My Story: A Final Thought on GRACE and JOY (Not Happiness)!
Go to your secret place and weigh your theology of stewardship.
Grace is ..Ann German and her boys preparing the Easter flowers for everyones enjoyment.Hillary Greene bringing her lovely ladies to church each Sunday.The way Connie Sullivan answers the phone at St. Marys.John, Tom and Isabelle freely giving coins from their Easter flower sale for Haitian relief.
For your consideration:I. What stands out in your own life journey as the most important relationship or teaching or event that helped shape your understanding of Christian Stewardship?II. What does your parish as a community need to gain a deeper level of understanding and practice?
Questions for those responsible for parish stewardshipIs there a class on stewardship?Are persons clear about what the word tithe means?Does the Rector tithe?Is there a commitment on the part of leadership to tithe?Is there a childrens program on stewardship?
How is the follow-up handled?Is there confidentiality around pledges?Is there good bookkeeping of pledges received?Is provision made for credit cards, stock transfers, direct deposits?What liturgical customs surround stewardship?Is there a step-up scale made available?Has next years stewardship chair been chosen?
Every member canvas?Why do people come to Church?Are pledge cards and materials available throughout the year?Who prays for the stewardship ministry?Are stewardship materials personalized?Are thank you letters immediate?What precedes Stewardship Sunday?Do lay persons preach on stewardship?
What is the size of the stewardship committee?Does the parish tithe received income?Is there a stewardship prayer for the parish?Are there pledge cards and envelopes? Are they available in the pews year-round?
Grace takes many formsThe athleteThe seemingly sophisticated - elegance, class, appearance, certain kinds of possession .
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved; How gracious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far and Grace will bring me home. The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Yea when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.John Newton
Questions:Positively and or negatively, how was stewardship, giving approached in your family of origin?What single person most inspired you to give generously to the church?What Biblical story most strongly informs your giving? Why?What few truths would you like to impart to your children, grandchildren or Godchildren about stewardship?
I am going to say some things to you which may inspire you and challenge you. I hope so! I may say some things which will clarify or put a fresh face on some understanding you hold. It is very likely that I will say some things with which you will not agree and may even annoy you. So from the outset, take all of what I offer you for what it is worth. When we finish this afternoon you can say, this guy is as crazy as a bed bug, or I agreed with this, but not that. Please understand that my primary motive in coming this distance is to be helpful to each of you in your ministries *Mystic: what is it???*prayer*Today is about ourselves and where we are in the privacy of our own hearts and minds.*Oscar Schindler: his is a lovely story of growth and evolution. Do you remember the film Schindlers List? STORY! He did what each of us must do, allow ourselves to be challenged and, perhaps, be changed.
*This is all that I can ask of you.*The Bishop took them off to the camp and conference center .. Like Moses with the tablets or the Transfiguration!**Now, I run the risk of boring you with that which you already know. But I will take that risk, for it is fundamental to any effort to address stewardship in a meaningful and life changing fashion!*Is theology anything more or anything less than this: My relationship to God and Gods relationship to me?*Now, I run the great risk of boring you with that which you may know.**I needed someone to challenge me. John did that and I will always be grateful.**