http://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/itemseries.jsp?clsid=185702&productgroupid=0&categoryid=3159 [Stories To Tell & Gifts To Share]
- Author: Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Keith Mundy from ELCA Outreach and Congregational Ministry Unit and Ted Schroeder, former church-wide staff and pastor.
- Updated: 12/17/2012
- Copyright: Augsburg Fortress
Ask people what God is doing in their lives and you're likely to get many stories about what God has done for, with and through them. Augsburg Fortress has introduced a new stewardship series called "Stories To Tell & Gifts To Share," which is designed to guide people to "a deeper understanding of God's story as they tell their own faith stories, and respond to God's blessings by sharing God's gifts with the world," according to Augsburg.
Read Jerry Hoffman's review of the series below.
Stories To Tell & Gifts To Share is "a collection of resources designed to guide the members of your congregation toward a deeper understanding of God's story as they tell their own faith stories, and respond to God's blessings by sharing God's gifts with the world," according to its publisher, Augsburg Fortress.
As God's people, we have compelling stories to tell about what God has done for us, with us and through us, and we have many incredible gifts to share with each other and the world.
One resource is a CD, Stories To Tell & Gifts To Share, which offers dozens of easy-to-use, flexible and editable files for you to print, adapt, copy, rewrite or use "as is." This CD will help you reach all age groups, all program members and all segments of your congregation.
Here is a sample of what you'll find on the CD:
Planning guide: This resource includes information for planning, introducing and implementing "Stories to Tell & Gifts to Share" in your congregation.
Communication tools: Sample letters, bulletin inserts, newsletter articles and logo art will help you communicate the stewardship message clearly with members of your faith community.
Worship resources: Sermon outlines, a litany and a prayer petition will help you make strong stewardship connections in worship.
Bible studies: Four-session Bible studies for children, youth and adults provide biblical grounding for the series.
As an example, I took a closer look at the adult Bible studies. These studies are written in an engaging manner. Safe questions invite participation.
For instance, a group leader may ask participants, by a show of hands, to indicate which of the following is true for them and how they think about wealth and poverty:
- I would be a happier person if I had more money.
- Some things in my life might be better if I had more money.
- If I had more money, I would have problems and worries I don't have now.
- Money changes some people, but I don't think that it would change me.
- If I had more money, I could accomplish more with my life.
Each session provides a Bible study:
Session 1 - Philippians 4:10-14 -- Paul reflects on the story of his life in Christ.
Session 2 - Luke 19:1-10 - The tale of Zacchaeus.
Session 3 - Acts 4:32-37 -- When Christians held all things in common.
Session 4 - John 6:1-13 -- One boy's lunch feeds 5,000 people.
Questions encourage clarification and personal example. For example, during the first session, a leader may promote dialogue by asking how two statements relate:
- For Paul, graceful living means "being content with whatever he has."
- For Paul, such contentment comes from "trusting God in all things."
Four sessions written for children and youth, which correlate to the adult Bible studies, are an important part of this series.
Another resource is the music CD, www.augsburgfortress.org/store/item.jsp?clsid=186876&productgroupid=0&isbn=0806653787 [Stories to Tell, Gifts to Share Music CD]
Comprised of four original songs by Ken Medema, this CD features
accompaniment tracks, sheet music, lyrics and PowerPoint slides for congregational use.
I played this CD in my car on a recent trip and was captivated by the music and the words. I particularly liked the song, "A Gift Multiplied," the first verse of which goes like this:
Here is the bread I've been blessed with today.
Here are the treasures I've found on the way --
Gifts not to grasp or to horde or to hide,
For a gift that is shared is a gift multiplied.
You can listen to the songs by clicking here: Stories To Tell & Gifts To Share Music/
There are many other resources in this series, such as letters, graphics and other material.
I suggest you invest in these two CDs and give careful consideration to using them in your congregation. I know I am going to tell my pastor about them.