I’ve always been a huge fan of church leadership conferences. Well, last summer Luther Seminary continued our tradition of hosting a Rethinking Stewardship conference. If you couldn’t make it, we’ve got you covered with today’s post which includes links to ten video presentations from Rethinking Stewardship. We know it’s not always possible to attend in person—or, even if you were there, to take enough notes—so may the stewardship learning continue!
Adam Copeland, Center for Stewardship Leaders
Rethinking Stewardship Videos
In summer 2018, Luther Seminary and the Center for Stewardship Leaders hosted a conference considering the changing nature of stewardship. We noted shifts in culture, as well as shifts in church. These days, trust in institutions like the church is low, and individuals value their power to choose...where to give, what to click, and whether to attend at all.
Around 200 people attended the Rethinking Stewardship conference, enjoying workshops, meals together, and opportunities for further conversation. We also recorded the presentations and have now made them available on our website: luthersem.edu/rethinking.
We can’t boast the production quality of TED Talks, but we can share wisdom from earnest, thoughtful stewardship leaders. Most of the presentations are around 18 minutes, though three are longer more plenary-style addresses. In no particular order, you can now find the presentations archived for your viewing pleasure:
Jody Harpstead, CEO of Lutheran Social Service of MN, spoke on the topic, “Ask Not What Your Church Can Do for You.” She described some of her approaches to leading LSS in fundraising and mission discernment in partnership with congregations.
Melissa Spas of the Lake Institute for Faith and Giving considered, “The Invitation to Freedom” and the counter-cultural call of stewardship leadership.
Erin Weber-Johnson, former Senior Program Director of Strategic Resources, Episcopal Church Foundation, spoke on the topic, “Who Are in Your Pews? A New Paradigm for Stewardship in a Changing World.” Erin argued for approaching stewardship as ministry and the related implications.
Bruce Reyes-Chow, Transitional Pastor and Head of Staff at Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley, Calif., spoke on “Cultural Competency of Stewardship: What I've Learned about the Ways and Whys People Give,” sharing his experiences in a number of very different churches.
Martha Moore-Kiesh, Associate Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, considered the question (as noted in a recent newsletter series), “What Are We ‘Offering’ at the Offering?”
Adam Copeland (that’s me), got off my chest a topic that’s been bothering me for years: “The Folly of Tithing.” I argued tithing language is almost always problematic. Instead, I offered alternatives for more compelling giving invitations.
Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission, Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA, spoke from his long history in rural ministry, stewardship leadership, and of the power of stories.
Jennifer Kaalund, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, connected her personal story of growing up in the church with the New Testament community’s approach to giving in a talk, “‘You Can’t Beat God’s Giving’: Moving from Mission Funds to Mission Accomplished."
Heidi Droegemueller, VP for Seminary Relations at Luther Seminary, shared her story of becoming a leader in generosity, and how her professional vocation flowed out of a personal faith journey. Her talk was titled, “Stewardship in the Changing Landscape of Religious Giving.”
Finally, Angela Reed, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Director of Spiritual Formation at Truett Theological Seminary, shared some of her research from the point of view of spiritual formation and pastoral in the talk, “Money and Ministry: Creating a Culture of Prayerful Reflection for Financial Well-Being.”
I’m glad we’re making these videos public just in time for many pastors’ stewardship sermons, or as other stewardship leaders consider their public invitations to give. Feel free to share our videos—and any of the resources on the website—and many blessings in your stewardship education.
For More Information:
New to stewardship? Seeking stewardship renewal that’s focused on practical ministry and doesn’t sacrifice sound theology? Check out our free downloadable e-book, Stewardship 101: An Invitation to Financial Stewardship.