If, as a parish, you share the journey; you share what has been entrusted; you accept your accountability, and you share the vision of what you believe God is calling you as a faith community to be and do – as Douglas Hambidge stated a few weeks ago in Glen Mitchell’s blog – then you need to start being intentional in your year round work of stewardship throughout your parish.
The journey is not an easy one; it never has been for those who take it seriously. If we are intentional in our work around building stewardship within our communities, we need to integrate it into our whole community life, inside and outside of the parish.
I am a huge fan of Michael Durall, who wrote “Creating Congregations of Generous People” and, interestingly, as I started writing for the stewardship blog this week, up popped an email from the Alban Institute (www.alban.org) encouraging us to buy his book (ISBN# 1-56699-220-6). It is well worth it! Michael reminds us of the “pews up” approach based on significantly increased congregational ownership of the stewardship process. This does not mean that we throw out all of our practices and methods around stewardship but that we strengthen our efforts in teaching the basic foundation of the Theology of Abundance at every opportunity, that we have leaders that mentor it throughout our parishes, that we guide and nurture new and existing members of our parishes to understand that being a good steward is a core religious value necessary to building stronger faith within our communities, and that we create expectations of membership in our communities to be generous givers.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… to me, this is about our treasure but it is also about our time, our gifts, and all of our resources. Stewardship practices need to encourage our parishioners to lead generous lives in all aspects of their lives, to use all the resources to strengthen their faith and to make the world a better place now and into the future.
Stewardship encompasses all that we do in our lives and I love learning about how it all works – have you read a good book on developing generous givers lately that you would like to share?