Rallying Stories and More, for Abundance Thinking

Standard

This week I relished listening to Rebekah Burch Basinger in this month’s “Author Chat” done by the basinger-rebekah-burchEcumenical Stewardship Center. 1 She is the co-author of the classic, Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry. Part of her conversation was about what it would mean for abundance to be the stewardship model in people’s lives, instead of a scarcity mindset that assumes we never have enough resources to accomplish what God has called us to do.

“This whole concept is really foundational: to put God in givers’ hearts first,” said Rebekah. “We need to keep the focus on the giver’s heart, and not let anything get in front of that” (such as money or institutional needs).

Even when a nonprofit organization or a local church is facing a big financial challenge, she said, participants can start by asking themselves what assets they have, instead of what they lack. One example she gave was when she got to work with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Arizona. Despite their difficult financial dilemma at the time, their new bishop asked the question, “What do we want to accomplish, and what will be needed to do it?” When the church leaders and members looked at their situation from that point of view, they realized they already had a lot of what they needed.

So what can church leaders do to encourage such an abundance approach? Rebekah cited these four things:

  1. Tell positive “rallying stories” of God’s abundance in the past, when God came into a particular situation and responded with abundant grace. Then ask the members what they learned from that story to help in their current circumstances.
  2. Talk about money regularly, as an everyday part of the church’s conversation.
  3. Be faithful in reporting back to givers, letting them know how their giving made a positive difference in people’s lives.
  4. Find every opportunity to celebrate your congregation’s corporate generosity, saying Thank you for all they have done to make a positive difference.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

1 – To hear all of Rebekah Burch Basinger’s Author Chat, go to the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s website, stewardshipresources.com/authorchats/basinger. While you’re there, check out the other authors, as well, offered for free.

Advertisements

April 26 Author Chat

Standard

Afire front coverI invite you to a free, online “Author Chat” with me on April 26, 2016 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, sponsored by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. I am looking forward to it!

In the first half, I’ll talk (live) over some Power Point slides about what I’ve learned so far through work with churches and my books, Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living and Afire With God: Becoming Spirited Stewards. Then we’ll have a question-and-answer session using the participants’ typed-in questions and moderated by Marcia Shetler, Executive Director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.

Stewardship bookTo learn more and to register, go to www.stewardshipresources.org and click on “Register” in the Author Chat section. They’ll email you a URL so you can click on the link to participate. I hope you’ll join us!

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

“Live Free” Financial Commitment Program

Standard

ESC Gvg Live FreeWritten for the CA-NV United Methodist Conference

Instant Connection, 7/30/2015

Live Free, the 2015 issue of Giving magazine from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center (ESC), is now available. The center section, written by California-Nevada Conference minister, the Rev. Betsy Schwarzentraub, is the leader’s guide for a four-week worship emphasis on holistic stewardship that also helps fund local-church ministries.

Live Free is based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and Galatians 5:1. It offers four weeks of focus: Free from the Money Trap; Free to Be Rich; Free from the Uncertainty of Riches; and, Free to Take Hold of Life. The rest of the publication includes pieces on holistic stewardship, ranging from helping families gain financial freedom, to fueling mission giving and planned giving ideas. Persons can also order theme materials including printed bulletin inserts, separate commitment cards for children and for adults, letterhead, envelopes, bookmarks and posters.

The Rev. Dan Sturdivant, stewardship leader and pastor in the California-Nevada Conference, wrote four weeks of adult Bible studies, as part of the digital companion resources which can accompany this congregational emphasis. Additional electronic resources related to this theme provide a church with children’s stories, sessions for youth, calls to worship, prayers, and sermon starters.

Giving magazine is an ecumenically-based stewardship resource sponsored by nineteen North American denominations including the United Methodist Church. Schwarzentraub currently serves on its Editorial Board. To view or order this program, log on to www.stewardshipresources.org

Compass Young Adult Network

Standard

I was delighted to discover a brandCompass new network of resources especially for young adults, called Compass: Navigating Faith and Finances, at https://www.stewardshipresources.org/COMPASS. It’s designed to engage young adults in conversations about the ways faith can inform their management of money. – Not that they’re the only ones who want help in money management; I’m happy that the rest of us can jump in and learn right along with them, as well!

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center sponsors this initiative and taps into resources from its partner denominations as well as other North American stewardship leaders who provide a slew of practical resources. It’s really more of a network than just a resource, since it includes three avenues: a blog site that deals with specific aspects of faith and finances, a Facebook community, and selected resources with links.

The first issue of Compass shows the vast range from which people can choose. In the first edition, we can get free help to create a monthly budget or a plan for paying off school debts; learn how to save for emergencies and retirement; get a free download from First Things First about finding our financial True North; or catch stories of real people who have radically reshaped their concept of what is enough and what they’ve done with the “extra” money they would have spent. Three videos capture John Wesley’s insights on “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can;” and there’s a link to group training for a personal finances workshop.

And that’s just the first issue! I’m looking forward to some serious – and fun – connecting with others who want to join their faith and finances more closely in their daily lives. See what you think and spread the word!

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

ESC Resources

Standard

I was excited this week to meet with the Resource Editorial Team for the Ecumenical ESC logoStewardship Center (ESC), which provides outstanding materials for cultivating stewardship and generosity in the local church. As a pastor and then as a consultant over the years, I’ve used almost all of their material resources for annual financial commitment programs and have appreciated the substantive articles on year-round stewardship education.

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center has 19 denominational partners from the U.S. and Canada and sponsors at least two major events each year for stewardship leaders. Attending their events, I’ve gained hugely from the richness of Christian approaches from kindred participants as well as the presenters. They include Canadians and Americans, from Disciples of Christ and Church of the Brethren to American Baptist, from United Methodist to Reformed and Evangelical Lutheran, from Mennonite and Moravian to Presbyterian and United Church of Canada.

Every year ESC puts out an issue of “Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation” with a center section that is a complete leader’s guide for an annual financial commitment program. They also create companion resources (bulletin inserts, etc.) and yearly theme materials. It’s an honor to be able to join the half dozen folks who serve on the editorial team to design the materials. But even before that, I’m grateful for ESC and the wisdom of churches that use them.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

 

Sample Annual Financial Commitment Programs

Standard

Go and SeeGo and See  – (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Go and See is a Sunday morning mission fair inspired by the miracle of loaves and fishes. This festival approach encourages participants in a sense of discovery and wonder – discovering the gifts God has given us, and wondering at the joy and increase the Holy Spirit brings when we offer those gifts in service to the world. Worshipers begin together in worship, move into the fair, and then offer their estimates of giving for God’s work through the church. Order at http://www.stewardshipresources.org or 1-855-278-4372

Enough bk Adam HamiltonEnough  (Adam Hamilton)
Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity is an invitation to rediscover the Bible on simplifying our lives, overcoming fear and experiencing contentment. The four weeks explore When dreams become nightmares, Wisdom and finance, Cultivating contentment, and Defined by generosity. The Stewardship Program Guide discusses the role of money related to our life-purpose and impacting the world. It includes a plan and timeline for a worship series and group study; sermon outlines, video, and worship PowerPoints; ways to include the congregation; and a DVD with Hamilton’s introduction, sermon excerpts, and clips from financial leaders.

Found Faithful  – (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Found Faithful is based on 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 with additional readings from the feeding of the 5,000 Found Faithful ESC 2013(John 6:9), the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45), and the parable of the ten pounds (Luke 19:17). It examines our call to be faithful and how we can be faithful in little, with much, and with all. Resources include sample packet, theme materials, and a digital Companion Resource. From 1-855-278-4372 or http://www.stewardshipresources.org

A Disciple’s Path – (James Harnish)
A Disciple’s Path combines a Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God’s love and grace with the spiritual disciplines expressed in our membership vows to uphold the church with our prayers, A Disciple's Pathpresence, gifts, service, and witness. Participants develop spiritual practices, discover their unique gifts, and become engaged in ministry to transform their own lives, the lives of others, and the world. Boxed kit has a Daily Workbook with six weeks of daily readings (five per week), Companion Reader, Leader’s Program Guide with CD-ROM, and samples of related products. Core theme is Loving God / Loving Others.

Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity – (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, this program invites us to give time to listen to God’s voice, fellowship with others, examine and use our talents, and joyfully offer our financial support to God’s work. The stewardship emphasis “Percentage Living” encourages a holistic approach to stewardship through giving time, talents, financial resources, and worship to God. Resources include sample packAbundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity logoet, theme materials, and a digital Companion Resource, from http://www.stewardshipresources.org.

Faithful, Hopeful, Loving – (Clark Hargus)
Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation has been used by small membership North American congregations for more than two Stew in the Small Mbrship Congregation Hargusdecades. Three Sundays focus on being Faithful, Hopeful, and Loving. Resources include an overview, a six-session Bible study, Sunday school or small group study lessons, worship service materials and a congregational stewardship emphasis plan. Receive it via e-mail in .pdf format from ESC at 1-855-278-4372 or http://www.stewardshipresources.org. Purchase includes permission to copy and distribute materials for your congregation.

Grace and Gratitude – (UMFoundation of the Pacific Northwest)
This FREE four-week worship series draws on Scripture and Wesleyan theology to explore stewardship as a life-encompassing response to God’s grace. It includes four complete worship services (including prayers, sermon resources, and children’s sermons); timelines; response cards; and other resources to enrich your church’s perception and practice of stewardship. Go to http://www.nwumf.org, then click on Stewardship Emphasis.

Sample Annual Financial Commitment Programs

Standard

Sample Annual Financial Commitment Programs

Go and See                             (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Go and See is a Sunday morning mission fair inspired by the miracle of loaves and fishes. This festival approach encourages participants in a sense of discovery and wonder – discovering the gifts God has given us, and wondering at the joy and increase the Holy Spirit brings when we offer those gifts in service to the world. Worshipers begin together in worship, move into the fair, and then offer their estimates of giving for God’s work through the church. Order at http://www.stewardshipresources.org or 1-855-278-4372

Enough                             (Adam Hamilton)
Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity is an invitation to rediscover the Bible on simplifying our lives, overcoming fear and experiencing contentment. The four weeks explore When dreams become nightmares, Wisdom and finance, Cultivating contentment, and Defined by generosity. The Stewardship Program Guide discusses the role of money related to our life-purpose and impacting the world. It includes a plan and timeline for a worship series and group study; sermon outlines, video, and worship PowerPoints; ways to include the congregation; and a DVD with Hamilton’s introduction, sermon excerpts, and clips from financial leaders.

Found Faithful                         (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Found Faithful is based on 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 with additional readings from the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:9), the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45), and the parable of the ten pounds (Luke 19:17). It examines our call to be faithful and how we can be faithful in little, with much, and with all. Resources include sample packet, theme materials, and a digital Companion Resource. From 1-855-278-4372 or http://www.stewardshipresources.org

A Disciple’s Path                         (James Harnish)
A Disciple’s Path combines a Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God’s love and grace with the spiritual disciplines expressed in our membership vows to uphold the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Participants develop spiritual practices, discover their unique gifts, and become engaged in ministry to transform their own lives, the lives of others, and the world. Boxed kit has a Daily Workbook with six weeks of daily readings (five per week), Companion Reader, Leader’s Program Guide with CD-ROM, and samples of related products. Core theme is Loving God / Loving Others.

Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity            (Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, this program invites us to give time to listen to God’s voice, fellowship with others, examine and use our talents, and joyfully offer our financial support to God’s work. The stewardship emphasis “Percentage Living” encourages a holistic approach to stewardship through giving time, talents, financial resources, and worship to God. Resources include sample packet, theme materials, and a digital Companion Resource, from http://www.stewardshipresources.org.

(Faithful, Hopeful, Loving)                    (Clark Hargus)
Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation has been used by small membership North American congregations for more than two decades. Three Sundays focus on being Faithful, Hopeful, and Loving. Resources include an overview, a six-session Bible study, Sunday school or small group study lessons, worship service materials and a congregational stewardship emphasis plan. Receive it via e-mail in .pdf format from ESC at 1-855-278-4372 or http://www.stewardshipresources.org. Purchase includes permission to copy and distribute materials for your congregation.

Grace and Gratitude                         (UMFoundation of the Pacific Northwest)
This FREE four-week worship series draws on Scripture and Wesleyan theology to explore stewardship as a life-encompassing response to God’s grace. It includes four complete worship services (including prayers, sermon resources, and children’s sermons); timelines; response cards; and other resources to enrich your church’s perception and practice of stewardship. Go to http://www.nwumf.org, then click on Stewardship Emphasis.