Pathways to Generosity Recordings Now Available!

Pathways to Generosity Recordings Now Available!

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The Pathways to Generosity: Signs of Hope Conference helped God's people thrive by digging deeply into faithful generosity and encouraging taking new, bold steps on their generosity paths. But if you missed the conference, don't dismay! Get access for one year to the recordings of the four keynote speakers and opening worship service, featuring: Rev. Dr. Katie Hays, lead evangelist at Galileo Christian Church Rev. Dr. Eric Law, founder and director of Kaleidoscope Institute; author of Holy Currencies and numerous other books Aimee A. Laramore, owner/lead consultant of ALlyd Image Solutions Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop of the Florida/Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Rev. Dr. James F. Miller, pastor of DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church and Director of Stewardship for the 4th District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church…
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Church Financial Leadership Grants

Church Financial Leadership Grants

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Applications Now Being Accepted for Church Financial Leadership Grants Matching funds available for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastoral leaders seeking continuing education opportunities in church financial vitality and management   JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – Applications are now being accepted for the Presbyterian Foundation’s Church Financial Leadership Grant program. Applicants must be a pastor, commissioned ruling elder, (CRE), or leader of a 1001 New Worshiping Community within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The grants will enable pastoral leaders to institute best practices for church financial leadership, introduce them to new models of giving and stewardship, and offer new ways to talk about money and form generous disciples within their church. I received a grant to attend a stewardship event last year and came away with new energy and imagination for a better way of doing…
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Generosity and Faith: The Connecting Thread

Generosity and Faith: The Connecting Thread

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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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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

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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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Wrestling With the Power of Money

Wrestling With the Power of Money

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If we have wrestled at all with the power money exerts in our lives and the lives of our people, it should not surprise us when God comes asking us to reclaim the matter of money as a vital issue of faith. To guide those we love and serve into a mature and faithful relationship with money ...to connect its daily use with our theology and practice of faith ...to nurture generosity toward God and others: these could be our greatest gifts and our most sacred responsibilities. The church has truth that gives life; where else should our people turn? We can begin by engaging our own resistance to talking about money and giving. Not to overpower it by brute strength, but to discover what we will learn from it…
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The Truth of What We Bring

The Truth of What We Bring

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A person places a check or folded bills into the offering plate on Sunday morning. The usher sees the hand drop some money into the plate, but what that usher cannot see is the intention of the offering. That is known to no one but the giver and God. Yet the action is one of the most powerful events of the worship service. The offering is the point on Sunday morning when most people face the intersection between God’s grace and human gratitude. Are we willing to freely give, even if it means giving up money, which in our culture signifies power? Be it a tithe, a couple of one-dollar bills, or nothing at all, giving is an outward sign of our inner spiritual intentions. The offering is a unique…
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Generosity NEXT Keynote Speakers Announced

Generosity NEXT Keynote Speakers Announced

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Rev. Steven W. Manskar, D.Min, and the Rev. Dr. Anne Burkholder will be the keynote speakers for Generosity NEXT, November 29-December 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. The theme for Generosity NEXT 2017 is "Stewardship & Generosity: Are We Doing All We Can?" Among the staples of stewardship literature, no matter the denomination, is John Wesley’s 1872 sermon “The Use of Money”. His exhortation to gain, save, and give all we can is an easy-to-remember and oft-quoted rubric by which Christians are encouraged to measure their stewardship and generosity. But in a global society marked by wealth inequity, social injustice, and religious indifference, do Wesley’s words still resonate? Generosity NEXT keynote speakers will address these questions and engage participants in this discussion. Steven W. Manskar is a clergy member of the Minnesota…
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Good Samaritan Behaviors

Good Samaritan Behaviors

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Making room for collective concern in the midst of individual priorities is a particular Christian matter. From its origins the Christian message has always been “to love God” but just as fundamental to the faith has been the mandate to love one’s neighbor. In the pressures of contemporary life, many citizens feel they do not have the cultural currency to care for neighbors in need—specifically, time and money. In life’s paradox, those who have negotiable time are often without excess money, and those who have any money to spare are left without discretionary time. One of Jesus’s best known parables prevents serious disciples from ignoring this dilemma. The message of the Good Samaritan is really about time and money. The characters in the story face the pressure of whether to…
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