by Pastor Jerry Hoffman, Stewardship Web Site Coordinator
Where does a congregation's stewardship committee go to search for great ideas for its big stewardship kick-off?
Where do pastors get that perfect illustration for their sermons on giving?
Where do lay leaders find helpful resources and Bible study guides on living as Christian stewards?
The answer to all three is the same: the Stewardship for the 21st Century Web site.
Stewardship for the 21st Century is a one-stop stewardship shop. It is organized into five sections, making it easy to browse for the items you need. The Web site grew out of a Luther Seminary stewardship conference in August 2000, which was attended by recent alumni/ae and their spouses. The Web site was created as a way for the participants to stay connected and continually learn about stewardship. The site evolved so others could reap the benefits of the site and its resources.
Pastor Jerry Hoffman is the site coordinator. It's his job to add content to the site. He requests stories, sermons and ideas from readers, seeks out and posts materials, maintains links to other helpful sites, and obtains permission for reprints. He makes sure the information is ecumenical in scope.
Hoffman is also the editor of the site's e-mail newsletter, which goes out as often as once a week. He has found it has been very helpful in drawing people into the site. Currently there are more than 1,100 subscribers. "I'm finding that some pastors are inviting all the members of their stewardship committees and members of their congregations to subscribe," he said.
Even though he is busy serving as interim senior pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis, Hoffman is committed to, and enjoys, his Web site work. "I've been given the opportunity to explore how people might experience the joy of giving," he said. "Stewardship is so important to the vitality of a congregation. When strong stewardship is in place, you tap into the energy of the people--they are active and have passion. They don't spend their time worrying about finances. They have the resources for what they need to do for the life of the congregation. I'm also highly convinced of the importance of pastors leading stewardship."
To visit the Stewardship for the 21st Century Web site, and to sign up for its e-mail newsletter, visit www.luthersem.edu/stewardship.
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