ECF Vital Practices: September 2015

September 3, 2015

Rethinking Stewardship

It’s September. The program year is kicking off, soon followed by annual campaigns, budgeting, and diocesan convocations or conventions. It’s a busy time and I’m about to suggest adding something else to this mix: Plan time this program year to rethink your congregation’s stewardship programs.

Our September articles and resources share how others are thinking about stewardship. Perhaps some of their experiences will spark a conversation at a vestry or other leadership meeting and provide a catalyst for looking at your own situation in a different way.

In “Stewardship: Gratitude or Obligation” Mark Beckwith notes that while The Episcopal Church, dioceses, and congregations often state “stewardship is the main work of the church,” in practice, stewardship is often sidelined. He also challenges all of us to make time and provide space this fall to claim the gifts given to us by God – and how to best use these gifts to do God’s work in the world.

A congregation’s culture – and where they are on the spectrum of giving – has a significant impact on their understanding of stewardship. Helping congregations move from a culture of scarcity to one of generosity takes time, requiring intentional work by congregational leaders. In “From Scarcity to Generosity,” Mary MacGregor offers recommendations to help congregations move toward a culture of generosity.

There are no shortcuts in ministry; especially in Latino-Hispanic ministries in the United States. In Sandra Montes’ “Métodos para vivir en abundancia / Ways to Live in Abundance” Alejandro and Laura Montes share their experiences, challenges, and advice on how to evangelize as Christ does and have a vibrant and growing ministry by living a life of surrender, love, forgiveness, and example. In Spanish and English.

What does stewardship mean to your congregation? In “Stewardship: More Than an Annual Campaign,” Nancy Davidge and Susan Elliott share approaches and strategies for developing a congregational culture built on the belief that God will use the gifts of the people to do “more than all we can ask or imagine.”

Each Vestry Papers article includes a practical application that you might try at an upcoming vestry meeting. You’ll also find a list of the resources related to the topic. If you have a resource you’d like to share, please email me with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature.

If you are interested in Spanish language content, please visit our searchable index of Spanish content here.

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Nancy Davidge
Editor of ECF Vital Practices