“What can a stewardship programme do for us?” This is a question I am often asked by parishes when considering running a stewardship campaign for their church community. My reply is always the same: It can renew, enrich and grow your parish in spirituality, mission and people and it is the vehicle that we use to achieve the move away from maintaining the status quo and build for genuine future growth in your church. The diocesan stewardship programme of Graciously Giving for God is designed to give encouragement to people to help discover their spiritual gifts and to assist them on their journey to be a part of the future vision of their parish.
So what is stewardship and how do we define it? Firstly you have to start with the concept of ownership. An owner is someone who has a legal claim to something (a house, a car) and has exclusive rights to this property; it only belongs to them. A steward is not the owner of anything; they look after property on behalf of the owner. This basic definition of stewardship, when looked at in depth, takes on a different meaning when it is seen through the eyes of a Christian steward. When God is recognised as the ultimate creator of all things, then all of us who are God’s stewards take on the spiritual meaning of good Christian stewardship. We become God’s people who care for the gifts, talents and resources we have been given by a gracious God. Yes, we have worked hard for what we have, and we have earned the material possessions that we call our own. However, deep down, we know that our possessions and our time do not really belong to us. They are God’s property that has generously been entrusted to our care and for which we will be held responsible.
For Christians, stewardship means being responsible for all the gifts God has given us and it means being generous to others - not for any reward but out of gratitude for the blessings we have received from a generous and loving God. This is the journey we are all on as we make our way forward on the stewardship path to generous giving.
Help available to parishes:
- Facilitating parishes seeking to embrace and encourage their stewardship of time, skills and their money
- Facilitating parish vision days as a mechanism for using stewardship as a vehicle to achieve growth through
mission and ministry
- Preaching and teaching good Christian stewardship especially in relation to giving
- Help parishes to consider legacy giving and assist where applicable in encouraging members to review their will
- Presentations and talks on Christian stewardship that help people to reflect on their own Christian giving
- Help and advice for parishes who wish to engage in some form of fundraising project
- The provision of a stewardship newsletter twice a year for all parishes
- Assist parishes in investigating and setting up parish church Friends' Schemes
For further information on stewardship, fundraising or Friends' Schemes please contact:
|Diocesan Stewardship Adviser
Tel: 01634 560000