If you haven’t read Stewards of God’s Love, I urge you to get a copy before the holidays and set it on your coffee table.
In my experience, coffee tables get more attention during the holidays. Guests arrive; the house fills up; more people need more places to sit back, relax, maybe browse that book on the coffee table; or, to gather with each other and find things to talk about – hmmm, what’s that book on the coffee table?
Stewards is a new tool (published by the ELCA) to help congregations do stewardship ministry year-round. What are congregations, though, if not communities of individuals, families and friends–the very folks who are likely to be around your coffee table in the next few months. Stewards is full of activities, Bible studies, stories, conversation starters and photos.
Rooted in scripture, Stewards encourages a new approach to how we think and talk about stewardship. Instead of saying, “Stewardship is about paying the bills” the new approach says “Stewardship is about loving God and neighbor.” Instead of insisting that “Stewardship is about money,” the new way says “Stewardship is about my whole self.” Instead of asking, “How much of what is mine should I give away?” the new way asks, “How much of what is God’s should I keep for myself?” (page 7)
When you set it on the coffee table, you might leave it open to any of these pages to spark good conversation and reflection:
11-13: Expecting to see kids and adults of all ages? See what they think about how different ages approach stewardship. (Also, check out “Kitchen Table Philanthropy,” a free resource from Women of the ELCA.)
26-27: Concerned about the materialism that can infect the holidays? Here, you’ll find scripture and conversation starters on the theme “Stewards of Stuff.”
22-23: Need some down time over the holidays to rejuvenate with scripture? “Stewards of Talents” can guide your reflection on how God is calling you to use your gifts in the coming year?
And, be sure to check out the Personal Money Autobiography at the end. Use the questions, alone or in a group, to learn about your own experiences with and attitudes toward money.
After you’ve tried this resource at home, you’ll see how valuable it can be in your congregation. It will make a perfect new year’s recommendation for your pastors and congregational leaders.
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.
Photo by wickerfurniture. Used with permission.