Hold On To Your Hope

Hold On To Your Hope

General
A global pandemic. Civil unrest. A society divided. A church struggling to find its place. These seismic shifts make us feel like we are on shaky ground. Our familiar church lives have been disrupted. Many of us don’t know when we will be able to participate in face-to-face worship again. Camps and conferences have been canceled. Sunday school and youth groups are meeting online, if at all. The routine elements of pastoral ministry such as meeting with parishioners in homes, hospitals, and the church office are different or nonexistent. Face-to-face board and committee meetings are not happening or are cautionary tales. How do we prepare a way forward when we don’t know exactly what to prepare for? While right now the amount seems more than manageable, it is important to…
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During the Pandemic, Values Matter More Than Ever

During the Pandemic, Values Matter More Than Ever

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During the Pandemic, Values Matter More Than Ever -Tim Schuster The COVID-19 pandemic has made church life difficult for large, small, and medium-sized churches; rural, urban, and suburban churches; and churches with endowments, diverse income streams, and economic challenges. These challenges are real for their members and attenders too. Churches are trying to adapt as best they can. Designing ministry programs to encourage faithful generosity and preaching sermons on money may seem more formidable than ever. Here are three focus points that can make it possible. #1 Values over advice Don't start with budgets. Start with values. Every day, our actions and decisions flow from our values. Wherever we are on the wealth spectrum, giving space and time to reflect on values and align decisions with those values is a gift that churches and ministries…
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July News: generosity365 Academy EXTRA on August 1, More

July News: generosity365 Academy EXTRA on August 1, More

General, Newsletter
generosity365 Academy Extra generosity365 Academies focus on essential topics that help churches and their leaders create a culture of faithful generosity. The generosity365 Academy EXTRA on Saturday, August 1 will consider current issues impacting the church and how they inform best practices related to faithful generosity. “Faithful Generosity: Moving Forward” will include presentations on new ideas for stewardship, resourcing, and engagement. Participants will hear from: Joe Park, CEO of Horizons Stewardship and Lisa Greenwood, Vice President for Leadership Ministries for the Texas Methodist Foundation and Executive Director of the National Association of United Methodist Foundations; Sidney Williams, CEO of Crossing Capital Group, Pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Morristown, New Jersey, and author of Fishing Differently: Ministry Formation in the Marketplace; Meredith McNabb, Associate Director for Educational Programming for…
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What Does Faithful Generosity Look Like?

What Does Faithful Generosity Look Like?

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If you were asked to name a faithfully generous person, who would you choose? In the congregational realm, your thoughts might lead to a long-time member or attendee. It’s a quiet, humble, gentle soul who displays kindness, gentleness, and hospitality. Many in your faith community think of her or him as a generous financial supporter, but no one really knows for sure because those kinds of recognition don’t happen in churches very often. The truth is, somewhere along the way that faithfully generous person had to take a first step into their calling. They may have been motivated to take that step because of the generosity expressed in the lives of their parents or a respected church member. They may have been inspired by biblical illustrations or sermons or stories…
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Faithful Generosity, Practically Speaking

Faithful Generosity, Practically Speaking

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Effective generosity in faith communities is a mix of knowledge and best practice. Ecumenical Stewardship Center events allow you to explore both. Generosity NEXT features cutting-edge topics related to faithful stewardship and generosity in the North American cultural landscape. Our new generosity365 Academies explore best practices through keynote speakers and workshops. generosity365 Academies are 1+day, fast-paced events that inspire, engage, and inform steward leaders from congregations, judicatories, and denominations as they practice faithful generosity. In less than a year, your congregation and its leaders can benefit from 12 workshops with practical ideas and applications for all church leaders: Leadership, Money, and the Church Engaging New Stewards The Offering as Worship New Channels for Giving Engaging Younger Stewards Financial Transparency & Accountability Creating a Narrative Budget Stewardship Teams Year-Round Stewardship Annual…
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Maybe It’s More than a Wedding Text

Maybe It’s More than a Wedding Text

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The thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is most often associated with weddings, not with stewardship. But could there be a generosity message here also? While a traditional definition of stewardship is time, talent, and treasure, some thought leaders are encouraging adding temperament to this list. Generosity is indeed a matter of the heart and attitude. A good steward has a faithful, hopeful, and loving heart. Faithfulness—not size, status, wealth, or heritage—is God’s measurement for Christians and congregations. All of Christ’s disciples and all of Christ’s congregations are called to be faithful to God’s mission and purpose. Generosity is a faithful act of discipleship, wrapped in trust in God and God’s purposes, whether we see them clearly or in a mirror dimly. Hopefulness is a basic Christian characteristic. Despair and hopelessness…
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Upcoming Author Chat: Chick Lane

Upcoming Author Chat: Chick Lane

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This Tuesday, January 21, Rev. Chick Lane will be presenting an Author Chat on his new book, Reflections on Faith and Finances, which is a guide to accompany Chick’s popular stewardship book Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation, Reflections on Faith and Finances which provides individuals and congregations with conversation and study tools to discover how the biblical message of stewardship intersects with life today. You can register for the Author Chat with Rev. Chick Lane to be held at 2:30 pm Eastern time (1:30 pm Central time, 12:30 pm Mountain time, 11:30 am Pacific time).
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Stewardship Leaders: Get Out of Your Bubble!

Stewardship Leaders: Get Out of Your Bubble!

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It is easy—and perhaps inescapable—for a Christian leader to become encased in a bubble of loneliness. If such leaders explore the Bible, they will find themselves in good company. For leaders with responsibilities related to stewardship ministry, the loneliness can feel even more acute. Sometimes this loneliness is very real: at other times, imagined. Cultures of secrecy and scarcity related to money create barriers to encouraging generosity. Fears about lack of financial knowledge and understanding of stewardship as a spiritual discipline cause anxiety to bubble up, if you will. In the most recent issue of Giving Magazine, fifteen stewardship thought leaders and practitioners from more than a half-dozen faith traditions provide thoughtful, practical, and inspirational ways to effectively serve as a steward leader. You’ll find advice specifically for clergy and…
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July 2019 News

July 2019 News

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Upcoming Webinars Preview generosity365 DISCOVER! generosity365 DISCOVER! will help your congregation live more generously. generosity365 DISCOVER! begins with gratitude, looks at your church’s giving numbers, and provides practical steps to nurture the spiritual discipline of giving. generosity365 DISCOVER! includes three components: An assessment of your church giving and introductory analysis Learn more with our generosity365 DISCOVER! webinars Go deeper with personalized coaching sessions generosity365 DISCOVER! will launch in September 2019, but you can get a taste now by participating in two webinars: Major Gifts Thursday, July 25, 1:30 pm Eastern time, 12:30 pm Central time, 11:30 am Mountain time, 10:30 am Pacific time Do you think your church will never receive a major gift? Think again. Learn more about major gifts, readiness to receive them, and best practices for stewarding…
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Measuring Your Generosity? Look No Further Than Your Relationships

Measuring Your Generosity? Look No Further Than Your Relationships

General
Measuring generosity is a complex matter for many North Americans. However, no generosity audit is complete without giving attention to relationships. Biblical texts speak plainly about how generosity should be built on healthy, caring relationships, including one of the most well-known: “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3, NRSV). Here are some relationships to consider. With Creation The vast complexity, variety, and beauty of creation is the measure of God’s generosity to us. The Rev. Canon Carla Valentine Pryne describes our Creator as a generous God who can “make a forest out of a few seeds, a planet out of breath and song.” As a daily recipient…
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