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

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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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Devoted to Generosity

Devoted to Generosity

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You want year-round stewardship resources. You’ll find them in Devoted to Generosity. Based on the story of Tabitha in Acts 9:36-42, the Devoted to Generosity year-round stewardship resource has everything a congregation needs for an annual stewardship focus. Guidelines are included for spring, fall, and year-round emphases that are user friendly for any size congregation. Theologians, educators, and practitioners from a variety of Christian faith traditions have contributed more than 200 pages of materials with a focus on holistic stewardship: a whole-life response to the abundant generosity of God. Devoted to Generosity includes materials for worship and study: one for each month of the year based on scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C. Adult studies, youth studies, and children’s stories provide a stewardship focus for every generation. Here’s what you’ll find in Devoted…
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Pathways to Generosity Recordings Now Available!

Pathways to Generosity Recordings Now Available!

General, Generosity NOW
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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