Create a church campaign to help others live life to the full

As a theological term, stewardship beckons a calling.  In the words of John Westerhoff III:

Stewardship is what we do after we say we believe, that is, after we give our love, loyalty, and trust to God, from who each and every aspect of our lives comes as a gift.

The calling of stewardship is a magnificent, weighty calling.  To steward life is to perceive all we do, all we have; our relationships, doubts, confidences, jobs, possessions, debts, all of everything, as pieces of matter baptized in the grace and mercies of God’s.  We are under the mercy.  We are stewards who practice resurrection and are called to move on and utilize the resources we have to love fiercely and glorify the God of fierce love.  As we move on, into this way of stewardship, we each need to take these words from Brennan Manning to heart:

…trust yourself as one entrusted by God with everything you need to live life to the full. 

The church universal needs to do something with the word stewardship, but not to change it or replace it with another word that means something entirely different.  Generosity is the new and trending word for church leaders to hold up as a calling to congregants.  Yes, we are made in the image of a generous God; and yes, to practice resurrection is to practice the ways of our resurrected God and King. Practicing resurrection is also about trust, living and doing life to the full and knowing we have all we need from God for this full experience.

Don’t neglect the richness of stewardship theology.  Don’t discard the word from preaching, teaching, storytelling, and meal sharing.  Communities are at the point where new teams are forming to shape annual giving campaigns.  And at this moment, communities are discussing possibilities for the organization of capital/vision campaigns.  While these new teams craft the ways congregants will be asked to make a financial commitment, I implore them to take one word and write it anew in front of their eyes and experience the richness of its meaning.

STEWARDSHIP.

Why not campaign for stewardship?  Why not campaign for the goal of teaching others to practice deeper levels of trust?  Here is a mission statement to guide the work of these newly forming teams:  To guide congregants to trust themselves as those entrusted by God with everything they need to live life to the full.  I don’t expect this mission statement to be adopted word for word. Concreteness is lacking.  But imagine the impact on the way people view their personal budgets, financial futures, saving and spending if they moved on into this way of trust.  Imagine one of the core asks in your upcoming congregational campaign as the following:  Will you trust?  Will you trust and give, knowing you have all you need to live life to the full?

Campaign for stewardship.  Campaign for trust.  Campaign to help congregants live life to the full.  How can your stewardship teams make this their focus in upcoming campaign work?

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