Generosity and Faith: The Connecting Thread

Generosity and Faith: The Connecting Thread

General
By Marcia Shetler Recently the Barna Group and Thrivent Financial partnered to produce a study called The Generosity Gap, which explores attitudes, understandings, and practices related to generosity. Pastors and church attendees from across denominations and generations participated in the study. Ninety-six percent said generosity is important to them, and that Christians should be generous to reflect God’s character by showing love to others, to give back in appreciation for God’s generosity toward us, and to become more like Christ. An attitude and a discipline were the words both groups used the most to describe generosity. These survey participants seem to have a good understanding of what it means to be generous. Some might claim that a generous spirit is part of our nature as God’s creation. In their blog for Spirituality and Practice, Frederic and Mary…
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New Resources Feature Live Courageously Theme

New Resources Feature Live Courageously Theme

Resources
Live Courageously, based on 1 Timothy 6:18-19 and Psalm 31:24, is the theme for new stewardship resources published by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. Live Courageously is the fourth in a four-year series featuring the 1 Timothy text. Others are Live Free, Live Simply, and Live Generously. Ecumenical Stewardship Center resources provide a creative, comprehensive, and thought-provoking approach to encourage generous giving and faithful stewardship. Now in its twentieth year, the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine has become a premier stewardship resource for faith communities throughout the US and Canada. Each issue is packed with resources to support stewardship in the local church. Articles explore the intersection of faith and giving, offer practical information on Christian stewardship for all generations, and critique the newest resources on stewardship. Giving…
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End of Life Stewardship Resources from Everence

End of Life Stewardship Resources from Everence

Resources
Thinking about and intentionally planning for life’s ending journey can also be a time of powerful acts of love and stewardship. Everence’s End-of-Life Curriculum offers ideas about how we can think about this transition from our time in this world. Topics include: The benefits of planning well Tame and wild dying Advance care: plan for a peaceful departure What to do with my body Necessary family conversations Making your wishes known Two new videos called Giving moments of grace have been added to the resources. They illustrate how much a man’s end-of-life planning meant to his family. Everence is a partner with the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, representing Mennonite Church USA.
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Making the Case for Faithful Generosity

Making the Case for Faithful Generosity

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In 1996, the book Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches was published. It shared the results of an extensive study of church giving in five diverse denominations. The study found that generous congregations encourage regular, consistent giving supported by prayerful and thoughtful planning. More than two decades later, additional research and practices have supported these findings. In the 2008 book Passing the Plate: Why Christians Don't Give Away More Money, authors Christian Smith and Michael Emerson reached the same conclusion. The Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s Giving magazine volume 14 includes a summary of a study of congregations of the United Church of Canada. The most generous congregations • Were clear about the congregation’s mission; • Communicated a compelling case for giving; • Provided multiple opportunities for people to give; • Were…
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Great Teams Lead to Great Stewardship

Great Teams Lead to Great Stewardship

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“A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Eccles. 4:12, NRSV Is finding leaders for your congregational stewardship ministry a joy or a chore? If it’s the latter, perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at your stewardship ministry team structure. In the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s Stewardship and Financial Health online course, instructor Bruce Barkhauer suggests that congregations have three teams for stewardship ministry leadership: the Finance Team, the Stewardship Team, and the Legacy Gifts Team. The Stewardship Team The Stewardship Team’s responsibilities focus on Christian stewardship as discipleship, giving as an essential part of our life as Christian stewards, and connecting generosity with the church’s mission and ministry. Activities for the Stewardship Team include educating the church on the many facets of stewardship, overseeing the annual stewardship campaign,…
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Living Generously Begins With Trust

Living Generously Begins With Trust

General
The Ecumenical Stewardship Center produces resources to help congregations encourage faithful generosity. Our Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine and complementary materials focus on a different biblical theme each year. In 2017, that theme is Live Generously with focus Scripture texts of 1 Timothy 6:18-19 and 2 Corinthians 8:9. When we define faithful generosity—or stewardship—we often think in terms of time, talent, and treasure. But when I look at the logo for the Live Generously theme, another important “T” word comes to mind. That word is trust. It is difficult to be generous without it. Trust seems to be a tough concept for many North Americans to master. It’s ironic since we have so much. But our culture tells us to put our trust in the goods, systems,…
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