Stewardship Resource

Stewardship Catch Phrases

Article  Article
  • Author: Salt 2004
  • Updated: 11/09/2009
  • Copyright: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Any part of Salt Seasonings can be reproduced with attribution. All Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV).

This articles allows the reader to reflect upon their own congregation and think about the Stewardship message that is being given from the congregation.  This reflection is not only for those who hear the Stewardship message for the first time but also for the people who speak the message, to remind them of the basis and meaning of being a Steward.

Stewardship Catch Phrases

Over the last few months every time you turned around there was Donald Trump, and he was most likely yelling "You're fired!" That phrase got so attached to Trump that his lawyers worked to secure a trademark on the phrase for Trump. Now if anyone wants to use "You're fired!" for profit, they'll have to get Trump's permission first.

All legal wrangling aside, Trump points out an interesting situation that might be useful in stewardship ministry. People responded when Trump delivered his catchphrase on the TV show "The Apprentice," and before too long the phrase had taken on a life of its own. "You're fired!" began popping up on T-shirts and coffee mugs, as well as in every day conversation. One group of college students became so enamored of the phrase that they began to use it instead of "Goodbye!"

Lots of popular catch phrases have taken a place in American conversation. In the 1980s, people went around saying "Where's the beef?" after the popular fast-food advertisement. Remember when you could buy your new car "At the sign of the cat"?  And going back even further, Burma Shave became an American icon of sorts because of its series of rhyming billboards alongside highways of the 1930s-40s.

What are the catch phrases in your congregation?  If you listen closely, you can probably identify a few.  For example, what does your congregation call worship services?  Do you go to "church" at that time, or is it time for "service"?  Those two are particularly good examples because both of those words can mean a myriad of other things.  What other things might your congregation say in a way that is distinct and unique?

The value of exploring your congregation's catch phrases is two-fold: (1) you might find an opportunity to be more welcoming in the way you communicate, and (2) there might be opportunities to come closer to God by examining your conversation.

Let's look at both of these possibilities.  Picture a visitor to your congregation.  How many of your congregation's catch phrases will be clear to that visitor?  What unintended messages might be being sent with the way your congregation communicates?  Does everyone in your congregation know what all of your catchphrases mean?

The second possibility--coming closer to God--also opens the door to further conversation.  Consider the way members of your congregation greet each other on Sunday morning.  We'll use the example of a congregation that says "Hi, how's it going?" as the typical greeting.  Does that congregation greet God the same way?  What might be the effect on the prayer life of the congregation if prayers began, "Hi God, how's it going?"

Here's another Fundamental of Stewardship... Being a sharing steward recognizes the gifts each person has received from God and each person's relationship with Jesus Christ and members in the Body of Christ.  We are called to develop and share these gifts with others.  In 1 Peter 4:10, scripture reminds us:
"As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace... "

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Adam CopelandAdam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.

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