What do pancakes have to do with stewardship? Nothing necessarily, but our writer Timothy Siburg this week explains how pancakes are actually an integral aspect of his family’s financial grounding.
I really appreciate how Timothy’s article helps stewardship leaders consider the complexities and location of giving decisions. Financial wellness -- and all wellness, for that matter -- starts close to home. How might your congregation be more aware of stewardship conversations beyond your walls?
Adam Copeland, Center for Stewardship Leaders
My wife Allison and I make pancakes at least one Saturday morning per month. Together we enjoy our pancakes with some berries in season or maple syrup, and while we pass the syrup, we look at our budget and finances.
We review how the previous month has gone. We discuss our wants, needs, surprises, hopes, and dreams. We plan, and then we execute, recognizing our plan is just that as we go about the rest of the month. A month later, we meet again for pancakes, repeat the process, and adjust.
This might sound like something simple, but it’s our way of touching base with each other, and of making sure that we are on the same page. When we are intentional like this, we’re much less surprised when big or unexpected expenses come. These pancake breakfasts are also our chance to evaluate our giving, and make sure that we are on track, or possibly even able to increase our giving.
I am thinking about this today because I believe that leadership is stewardship, and that stewardship leadership starts with a conscious decision to model stewardship, in behavior and by example.
This means, for my family and household, starting around the kitchen table each month to look at what we have to work with and how together we can steward that which God has entrusted to our care.
When working with pastors and faith leaders, this is something I like to think about. Too often churches jump to talking about giving to the church and miss the actual decisions families make (and need to make) around the kitchen table.
So if we as faith and stewardship leaders are working and advocating for faithful decision making, joyful giving, and living a life of gratitude, we have to model it:
In our decision making. Each household’s decisions, challenges, and process for making decisions will look different. How can we as leaders model and teach practices for faithful decision making?
In our giving. As a leader, if you are asking others to contribute and participate, it’s imperative that you, the leader, do too. How do we tell the story that our giving is a part of our joyful response to the pure gifts of God?
In our invitation. In the asking and telling, the stewardship leader gives voice through preaching, sharing of stories, articles, conversations, and their willingness to openly talk about the deepest questions of life and faith. How do we invite others to participate with us in our giving, serving, living, and leading? How do we tell these stories?
In our thanking. I know of many leaders who start their work week by writing five thank you notes. No matter what else is on the to-do list, they start with the spiritual practice of giving thanks because gratitude is a sign of abundant life and living. How do you show and give thanks?
As Allison and I prepare again to share a meal of pancakes in the coming week, we do so in the trust that God is with us. We are both very new in our first calls of ministry and feel so grateful and thankful for these calls and so much in life. We are also grateful for all of you, our fellow stewardship leaders who share your stories, ideas, inspiration, and support of one another though this online community.
Speaking of thanks, in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Many will gather around tables, not with pancakes and syrup, but with turkey, potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, and much more. It’s a time of gratitude, of gathering in community. As you give thanks, take some time to share and listen to your stories.
Give thanks of course, but also share. Invite those who may not have a table to sit at, to join you. That’s what we all ask and hope for around God’s table. Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other day, provides the chance to participate and share in community, a sign of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.
Timothy Siburg is the Director for Stewardship of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as a consecrated Deacon (formerly Associate in Ministry) in the ELCA. He lives with his wife Allison (an ordained ELCA pastor) and their cat Buddy outside of Omaha, and can be found there as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and his personal blog.
Upcoming Stewardship Event:
December 14: Wisdom from the Field: Digital Churches + Online Giving Webinar from The Center for the Ministry of Teaching.