Inspiring Generosity


8 Top Blog Posts of 2019 – Lemming Edition

         Maybe a lemming? Samuel Dykstra @pixabay.com

Those of us of a certain age (ahem), might remember the stunning Disney “documentary,” White Wilderness, shown in virtually every elementary school back in the dark ages. While you may not remember the title, you’ll certainly remember its most famous scene: hundreds of lemmings hurtling off a cliff into the ocean, thus committing mass suicide. I’m still recovering. But guess what? It was a hoax!
Someone at Disney thought lemmings followed each other to their demise and re-created the totally fake scene. All those years I’ve been crying for the lemmings…curse you Disney! What am I going to learn next: Mice don’t talk? A spoonful of sugar won’t help the medicine go down? Elephants don’t fly?
Back to lemmings. While I won’t fall off a cliff with everyone (because, as we have learned, lemmings don’t do this), I have noticed that this is the time of year that people post their “Top Blog Post” lists. I am not above being a follower. A follower, not a lemming.
So dear readers, here’s the top eight Inspiring Generosity blog posts from 2019. They are in reverse order to heighten the tension as to which will be #1:
#8. Two Inspiring Lives…Lost. This came out right after the passing of Rachel Held Evans and Jean Vanier. Two of my Christian heroes, one in the prime of her life and one in his twilight years, have died. The lives of Evans and Vanier remind me – remind us – to keep plugging away at what it means to be people of faith, to keep examining how to live out that faith, and to keep asking the important question: “why faith at all?”
#7. When Checks and Cash are No Longer Relevant. This was a reprint, but clearly, the topic continues to be on everyone’s minds. There really is nothing sacred about cash or checks. It is the intent of the person’s heart and the belief that all they have in their wallets, bank accounts, stocks, and paychecks is a gift from God to be used in service to make this world a better place. That is what is sacred.
#6. Good Idea or Bad Idea? Statistics in the Bulletin. Who knew this would be a hot topic? Posting statistics in your Bulletin does not provide any context for the numbers…These statistics don’t let you tell any story.
#5. The Value of a Building. This was written the week that Notre Dame burned and after three black churches were destroyed by arson. That building you feel awkward about including in your budget? Remember its purpose: To gather people to hear the Good News. To let them have an experience of beauty that draws eyes, hearts, and minds to God. To allow them to be transformed by the experience in sacred space. And to be sent forth to live out the Gospel.
#4. Giving U.S.A. 2019: Dark Clouds Appear. It’s good for us to keep up with trends in giving. So, don’t feel too gloomy but don’t ignore the facts either. You have an opportunity to make the case that your congregation, your people – through their financial giving – are proclaiming good news and making a real difference in the world.
#3. Raise $65K? Oh Me of Little Faith. This was written soon after a successful capital campaign for our local community theater. How lucky to have braver people than me to say “yes” to what seemed like a huge goal. Here’s to setting your sights high and believing in your donors and congregants and their generosity.
#2. Be Brave. Forgive. I was asked to do the children’s time based on the ever-uplifting story about the stoning of Stephen in Acts. Here’s a little of what I learned: Stephen’s witness shows us that we must speak up – sometimes very loudly – and yet, at the heart of it, we can't hate. We must come from a position of love and forgiveness.
#1. A Thrilling Thank You Video. The youth went on a mission trip and sent me a video. How can you thrill your people? Get your phones out, start shooting, say ‘thank you,’ and see what happens.
Well, there you have it folks. I love that saying “thank you” was #1. Hooray for gratitude!
And…have I mentioned how grateful I am that you are a reader? Seriously, I am so lucky that you take time to read these missives as you work hard to inspire generosity each and every day. Why maybe, we should start a life-affirming lemming generosity brigade – now that’s something I could follow!
Have a wonderful Christmas.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She found out that Disney put a few dozen lemmings (instead of hundreds) on a revolving turntable for the dramatic cliff scene. She’s been traumatized again. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
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.