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…
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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…
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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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ESC News June 2017

ESC News June 2017

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    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.  
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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…
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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…
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Faithful Stewards are Agents of Hope

Faithful Stewards are Agents of Hope

General
Stewardship and the practice of generosity can bring great joy! In fact generosity is life-giving to both the giver and the recipient. However, it also is true that in our world and close at hand in our own neighborhoods, there are people in desperate need. So to simply proclaim God’s abundance and to say that God will provide seems intellectually dishonest. If God’s promise of provision were true, why do so many lack the essential things of life? That, of course, is where the concept of being a steward takes on its deepest meaning for our time and place. God envisions us (in fact charges us) with being the source of that provision. The world as God imagines it is one of deep and abiding community where each individual is…
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ESC News April 2017

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There's still time to register for Generosity NOW       April 25-27, 2017 Calvary Baptist Church Washington, DC Generosity NOW--formerly the North American Conference on Christian Philanthropy--has been a premiere Ecumenical Stewardship Center event for decades. Laypersons, pastors, and judicatory and denominational staff who attend Generosity NOW increase their knowledge about spiritual principles and best practices relating to faithful stewardship and generous giving through plenary sessions, workshops, and worship. This year's Generosity NOW plenary speakers are from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Faith and Money Network. Generosity NOW offers three excellent plenary sessions and 19 different workshops in three tracks: Faithful Stewardship, Leadership, and Generous Giving. Registration for Generosity NOW is just $299.00 and includes a pre-conference reception at the Hilton Garden Inn Reagan National…
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New Live Generously Theme Resources Now Available

New Live Generously Theme Resources Now Available

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Live Generously, based on 2 Corinthians 8:9, is the theme for just-released stewardship resources published by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. Together, they provide a creative, comprehensive, and thought-provoking approach to encourage faithful stewardship that leads to generous giving. Live Generously is the third of four planned themes that focus on 1 Timothy 6:18-19 and the phrase "take hold of the life that really is life."  Other themes are Live Free, Live Simply, and Live Courageously. Volume 19 of the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine is based on the Live Generously theme and includes articles that provide theological reflection, resource reviews, and practical suggestions to improve all aspects of a congregation's stewardship program. Writers are stewardship thought leaders from across Canada and the US and include Bill Enright,…
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