How can the mind set about stewardship be changed.
This article suggestions worth exploring. For one consider asset & passion stewardship is a way of exploring the talents and gifts that are present in a congregation and to match those gifts with the call(s) that individuals and groups might be hearing from God.
The first words in every issue of Salt Seasonings was a quote from Lutheran pastor and educator Clarence Stoughton: "Stewardship is everything we do after we say "I believe." But in many congregations, mention the word stewardship and you get a predictable reaction: time to talk about money. The life of a steward encompasses much more than this one facet: we could discuss time management as a stewardship function or health and fitness or even how it is we steward our relationships. But none of these topics come readily to mind when stewardship is the topic.
This is the current state of reality in many places throughout the church, and it would be easy to get bogged down by trying to reclaim the position of stewardship as a broad-based, whole-life concept. A change in mindset - thoroughly implemented - could turn this potential for getting bogged down into an opportunity to examine stewardship in all its breadth and depth. What if this predictable reaction - stewardship is only a way to talk about money - were actually viewed as an entry point for a broader faith conversation?
What would happen in your congregation if each time the word stewardship was used, it was connected with another adjective? Here's an example: instead of stewardship, try talking about financial stewardship, relational stewardship, asset & passion stewardship or environmental stewardship! That might sound daunting - or even confusing - but it could pay some real dividends.
First of all, would your congregation know what relational stewardship actually is? Maybe not, but then your stewardship team would have the chance to define it as a part of a life of faith!! Your team would have an immediate coaching opportunity that would begin to change the culture of your congregation. Over time, stewardship would begin to carry several facets instead of being a limited financial concept.
Here's another one: asset & passion stewardship is a way of exploring the talents and gifts that are present in a congregation and to match those gifts with the call(s) that individuals and groups might be hearing from God. The orientation is entirely toward working with what is already in the congregation and skips over the all-too-common step of brainstorming what gifts are needed before we can do any ministry. Adding the descriptor in front of the word stewardship again begins to broaden the definition.
In his book Step By Step Michael Meier points out that stewardship growth usually takes longer and costs more than a congregation expects. This is certainly true when a congregation is looking to transform the definition of stewardship by looking at entry points. The transformation does take time, but the end result is a broader, more faithful definition of what stewardship is all about.
Stewardship Resources Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631. Any part of Salt Seasonings can be reproduced for local use with attribution.
Salt Writer, February 2004.
Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.