My Gift from Malawi

My Gift from Malawi

General
On the final night of a seminar I attended in Malawi, a pastor from one of the Methodist circuits pronounced a benediction. Then, instead of leaving, everyone sat down. We three American guests were asked to come down front and sit in the chairs provided. As we took our assigned seats, all of the women disappeared into a hallway. The men sat in total silence. No one seemed perplexed, no one that is except for the three of us who sat facing the remaining male seminar participants. Finally the silence ended with soft melodic sounds. One by one, the women reappeared. They sang as they slowly re-entered the meeting room. The men added their voices to the rhythmic melody. Each of the first three women carried a beautifully wrapped package. Continuing the song, they slowly carried them forward to where we sat. Everyone stood. We stood too. The women processed…
Read More
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship Sponsors Flourish in Faith Conference

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship Sponsors Flourish in Faith Conference

General
  Are you ready to blossom in stewardship? Are you looking to plant the seeds of faithful giving in your congregation and local judicatory? Do you want to network with others passionate about generosity and discipleship? Then plan to attend the Flourish in Faith Stewardship Conference, sponsored by The Episcopal Network for Stewardship, July 12-13, 2013 at the Episcopal Commons of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Dr. J. Clif Christopher and Bishop Bruce Caldwell will be the keynote speakers.     Dr. J. Clif Christopher is the author of four books, including Not Your Parent's Offering Plate. He is founder of Horizons Stewardship Company, which assists churches and other faith-based institutions to make strategic decisions and secure the necessary capital to accomplish their mission. Dr. Christopher has twenty years of pastoral…
Read More
Biblical Stewardship: Our Duty and Delight

Biblical Stewardship: Our Duty and Delight

Biblical, Resource Review, Stewardship
With Mark Allan Powell, Select Learning This DVD, with accompanying study guide, explores stewardship from a biblical perspective, meaning all we have and hold belongs to God. It serves as an introduction of stewardship concepts for church leaders and stewardship committees and helps congregational members explore being stewards in a broad sense. The DVD’s introduction for church leaders and six sessions (each approximately twenty minutes long) feature biblical and personal stories and illustrations that bring being a steward to life. The accompanying study guide encourages participants to go deeper by reflecting on how being a steward takes shape in their daily lives. Powell’s approach to being a steward uses three principles that bring focus to congregational stewardship: focus more on living than giving—God cares how we acquire, regard, manage, and…
Read More
Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money

Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money

Giving, Resource Review
by Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson, and Patricia Snell, Oxford University Press, 2008 Passing the Plate is an important book that addresses the practical issue of being found faithful. As we explore the theme “Found Faithful,” we think theologically and biblically. To fulfill Paul’s mandate and truly be found faithful as stewards, however, we must also think practically. Some might claim success in this regard. We know many who tithe, even a few who “reverse tithe”— giving 90 percent and living on 10 percent. Congregations craft annual budgets to ensure that mission giving constitutes at least 10 to 20 percent of their expenditures. Christians as a whole, however, have been found wanting, rather than faithful. Nowhere is this truth so explicitly demonstrated than in Passing the Plate. In this book,…
Read More
Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation

Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Clark Hargus, Ecumenical Stewardship Center, digital version, 2012 The other day I came across an old and generous friend in a new format: the ESC digital version of Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation. This is a resource that had given me a lot of traction in stewardship work twenty years ago. For Clark Hargus, a small membership congregation is one with an average worship attendance of less than one hundred. When this resource was first produced that might have meant that you were talking about only rural or small town congregations. That’s not the case anymore. Hargus’s basic premise is that in order “to do effective stewardship work in a small membership congregation, the activity should be Bible based, enjoyable, relational, practical and specific.” This is Stewardship 101.…
Read More

From Mammon to Manna: Sabbath Economics and Community Investing

Investing, Resource Review
DVD and additional resources: www.chedmyers.org/ This DVD series (six thirty-minute sessions) is for adult study groups interested in exploring biblical faith and economic practice. Its themes speak directly to the financial crisis we find ourselves in, as the rich continue to get richer and the poor suffer the consequences. How are Christians to respond to this reality? Rather than merely encouraging church members to give more money to those in need, biblical scholar Ched Myers challenges our assumptions about the capitalist status quo in North America. His vision of “Sabbath economics” is grounded in the biblical vision of “enough for all,” which is quickly lost in our culture of scarcity and over-consumption. Filmed in 2009 at Baldwin Park Presbyterian Church, the first three segments outline the basic concepts of Ched…
Read More