Making the Case for Faithful Generosity

Making the Case for Faithful Generosity

General
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…
Read More
Great Teams Lead to Great Stewardship

Great Teams Lead to Great Stewardship

General
“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,…
Read More
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,…
Read More
Wrestling With the Power of Money

Wrestling With the Power of Money

General
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…
Read More
The Truth of What We Bring

The Truth of What We Bring

General
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…
Read More
Generosity NEXT Keynote Speakers Announced

Generosity NEXT Keynote Speakers Announced

General
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…
Read More
Good Samaritan Behaviors

Good Samaritan Behaviors

General
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…
Read More
ESC News June 2017

ESC News June 2017

General
    Great Teams Lead to Great Stewardship Is finding leaders for your congregational stewardship ministry a joy or a chore? Get some fresh ideas for building great teams that lead to faithful generosity.  Sign up for the June Author Chat with Bruce Barkhauer Don't miss the June Author Chat with Bruce Barkhauer, featuring his book Community of Prayer. Live Generously Stewardship Resources Include Worship Starter Videos Enhance your Live Generously stewardship campaign with worship starter videos. Come to the Mission Funding Forum If your vocation includes obtaining resources for ministry, the Mission Funding Forum is for you. Stewardship Makes Sense when you have the right focus.  
Read More
Stewardship Makes Sense When You Have the Right Focus

Stewardship Makes Sense When You Have the Right Focus

General
Would you drive a car with windows painted black to obstruct scenery? Would you drive three days straight for just one day at a classy resort, only to get up early the next morning for the three-day drive home? Would you go to the Grand Canyon and linger for just five minutes? People who travel like this miss out. It doesn't work. These travelers say, "What  was the big deal with the Grand Canyon anyway?" or "Why don't I feel rested?" You can drive hard on the stewardship journey only to wake up the next morning and say, “What was the point?" That is because stewardship doesn't make sense outside a relationship with Jesus. We talk about the god­like power of money, and it does have a god-like power, but…
Read More
ESC News May 2017

ESC News May 2017

General
Making the Case for Faithful Generosity 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. More May Author Chat Features Margaret Marcuson Don't miss the May Author Chat with Margaret Marcuson, featuring her book Social Media for Your Church. More May COMPASS Live Chat Features Mike Little Join Mike Little of the Faith and Money Network at the…
Read More