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What does stewardship mean to you?

Grace and I were invited to write an article for the ELCA's "Seeds for the Parish" publication. We decided to pose two questions and speak to them from our different perspectives—me a 64 year old pastor, Grace a 25 year old Luther Seminary Master of Arts graduate. Here is the first question and our response.

Blessings,
Chick Lane
Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders
Luther Seminary



What does stewardship mean to you?
by Grace Duddy and Chick Lane

Grace: Before I began working at the Center for Stewardship Leaders two and a half years ago, I really had no idea what the word "stewardship" meant, even though I have been in the church all of my life. Since I started working at the Center, I have found that this word has a deep theological meaning. I love the quote, "Stewardship is everything you do after you say 'I believe.'"

Stewardship is an act of gracious discipleship founded upon the premise that all that we have and all that we are belongs to God. We are to be good managers of all that God has entrusted to our care. When stewardship is looked at holistically, taking into account all of what God has entrusted to our care, young adults feel much more enlivened to participate. This sort of stewardship invites young adults to look at all that they have—time, talents and treasure—be grateful to God and learn how they might share these gifts with their neighbor.

Chick: I'm amazed at the number of people for whom stewardship is a code word that means, "What the church does to try to get some of my money from my pocket into the offering plate." That is amazing, because it is exactly the opposite of how the Bible defines stewardship. Stewardship begins with an understanding that everything belongs to God, and God has entrusted some of what is God's into my care. That caring is stewardship. One encouraging sign in the changing church is that people are starting to get this new/old way of thinking about stewardship. It isn't about the church getting enough money to pay the bills. It is about how I, as a follower of Jesus, integrate all of life with my faith.

Author

Grace Duddy is the assistant director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary. Chick Lane is the director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.

More Information

If you are interested in thinking more about the question "What does stewardship mean to you?" you might want to check out "How Much is Enough - A Deeper Look at Stewardship in an Age of Abundance."  This book, published by Region 9 of the ELCA, takes an in-depth look at this question and is available as a free e-book.

Author information was updated as of the article's post date. Author profiles may not reflect author's current employment or location.

Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.

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