Summertime: Take Time to Talk
Summer time is here! That means ice cream, barbeques and lots of family time. Lots and lots of family time. I mean lots of family time. And soon, probably after the first week after school lets out, you will be staring at the calendar wondering when school will start again. But, hey, that would never happen in our house because we are the model of the PERFECT Christian family. In fact, we regularly sing “Kumbaya” and “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart” whenever we see each other – in the hallway, in the kitchen, in the mall. It’s so inspiring and people marvel when they see our haunting yet beatific smiles. Rembrandt would definitely want to use us as models in one of his paintings – it’s way too sad that he isn’t alive any more.
But, I digress because, well, it’s summertime! And, your leadership team (or Ad Council) should digress as well. Far too often the topic of stewardship has been relegated to the Stewardship Committee or the Finance Committee. No one hears about or talks about stewardship unless it’s “Stewardship Season” and the focus is on which month-long program the Stewardship Committee will do to meet the budget goal.
Here’s the thing: Stewardship is not just for the Stewardship Committee. Stewardship is a church-wide opportunity to grapple with some spiritually interesting and life affirming topics. So during summertime – when the living is easy – folks should take some time to talk about something that helps them reflect on their own lives and how they view the world.
In the next few months ask your congregation’s leadership team a couple of these questions:
• What is your earliest memory of giving or service?
• What was your family’s attitude toward money? How did that influence you?
• What is your understanding of giving money to the church? Is it out of obligation and responsibility or is it because everything we have is a gift from God?
• What do you think of Wesley’s admonition: “Not how much of my money will I give to God, but how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?” Is this realistic in this day and age?
The idea is to get people talking about the topic and themselves. Asking these questions will serve at least two positive purposes:
• People will begin to see stewardship as a natural, year-round topic and
• Everyone will learn more about the people they sit next to.
Intellectual and relational - all in one meeting. Don’t forget the lemonade!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise nearly $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.