Toward creating a theology of christian stewardship
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Toward Creating a Theology of Christian Stewardship

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“The Church needs to be challenged in heroic giving. No timidity is allowed in proclaiming the Good News and healing of the Gospel. The world’s needs are so great, and the Church’s role in the transformation of the person and of the world so pivotal and essential, that any timidity on the subject is an insult to God.”George Regas

Toward Creating a Theology of Christian Stewardship

A priest’s responsibility to her or his people center’s very much on enabling them to form their own theologies.

“Now Mark, take all of this to your secret place and weigh it carefully.”

“Five Pounds of Peanuts in a Three Pound Bag:” Our Agenda!

  • Pray

  • Review our direction this morning.

  • The History of Giving in the Episcopal Church.

  • Theology: What is it? How do we do it? Why is it important?

  • What has the entire Old Testament say about Stewardship?

  • What has the entire New Testament have to say about Stewardship?

  • Toward creating a theology of stewardship.

The History of Giving: The primary ways in which the Episcopal Church has been financially supported

  • Colonial Period

  • Revolutionary War to the early 19th Century

  • The 19th and early 20th Century

  • The Post 1920 Period

  • The Period after 1968 to the present

The Alabama Plan works because:

It asks for and receives leadership from the top.

It requires hard work on the part of all those involved.

It rests upon strong reflection on the Old and New Testaments, with particular focus on the mind of Jesus Christ.

How Anglicans Theologize

What is Theology?





What does the Old Testament say about Stewardship?


  • Nothing belongs to us. It all belongs to God and we are God’s stewards in the course of our earthly life.

  • We are called to be a grateful people for all that God has entrusted to us.

  • We are to live under the law and give accordingly.

What does the New Testament say about Stewardship?

What it doesn’t say…

  • Money is important!

  • That we are to live strictly under the law. (see St. Paul!)

  • Much about the tithe. (see Jesus!)

What Our Lord says is this:God must be central! NOT:

  • Job

  • Money

  • Power

  • Place

  • Sex

  • Booze/drugs

  • The state

  • The religious law

  • “Old Number One!”

Look at the Story:

  • The Widow

  • The Samaritan

  • The Prodigal (or the Parable of the Loving Father!)

  • The Talents

  • Zacheus

  • Judas

  • The saddest of all!!!

The Widow and Her Mite

The Good Samaritan

  • “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if all he had were good intentions. He had money as well.” Margaret Thatcher

The Prodigal

“And he came to his senses.”

The Parable of the Talents

  • Chremodephobia! The fear of money.

Chremodephobia:The fear of money!


“Come Down from that tree ….

  • What went on at dinner? One way or another, Our Lord healed Zack of “Mammon Illness.”

    (That which makes money central, disfigures relationships, dulls self and makes God secondary.)

Judas and his silver

  • Mixed motives, like us!

The Rich Young Man

  • He defines tragedy.

Cultivating a Theology of Stewardship: Why is it important?

Many Good Reasons:

  • It quiets us, freeing and liberating something deep within us.

  • It helps control some of our fears.

  • It inspires us to do more for others.

  • It allows us to concentrate on other aspects of the Christian faith: worship, study, pastoral care, missions, etc.

  • It aids aids us in putting Christ in the center of our lives.

Cultivating A Deeper Theology of Stewardship: Why do you give?

  • It is the law!

  • To maintain order in the greater society (“My taxes pay for an orderly society.” Oliver Wendell Holmes)

  • ……… CONVERSION ZONE …………

  • Being a part of the love story which is Jesus Christ.

  • Choosing to live a Grace-filled life.

What kind of givers are there?

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

  • Warren: the control giver

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

  • Warren: the control giver

  • Sky: the casual giver

Wesley K. Wilmer’s Research on Giving in the United States

  • 70% is impulsive

  • 20% is out of habit

  • 7% is somewhat thoughtful

  • 3% is very careful and intentional

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

  • Warren: the control giver

  • Sky: the casual giver

  • James: the angry giver

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

  • Warren: the control giver

  • Sky: the careless giver

  • James: the angry giver

  • Herb: the M.I.T. giver

What kind of giver will you be?

  • George: the non-pledger

  • Pendleton: the tipper

  • Warren: the control giver

  • Sky: the careless giver

  • Herb: the M.I.T. giver

  • Sally: the grace-filled giver

What is Grace for the Christian?

Grace has many manifestations

  • Grace is my dying Quaker neighbour living each moment with a sense of gratitude.

  • Grace is giving our children the ability to err or to fail.

  • Grace is always welcoming our children home….

  • Grace is reaching out to someone in need with no desire or expectation for reward.

  • Grace is the courage to say I am sorry.

  • Grace is loving and caring for someone half way around the world who we will never see or know, save to know they are starving or ill.

  • Grace is to love another shamelessly, vigorously, despite their evident flaws.

  • Grace is knowing that God always loves and accepts us.

God has bestowed upon us all that we have and all that we are, freely, with no “small print.” In turn, we consciously seek to live life in the same way, …. living an ever more loving, dignified, sacrificial, compassionate, and forgiving life that models that models Jesus Christ who gave himself freely for us.

My Story: A Final Thought on GRACE and JOY (Not “Happiness”)!

Go to your “secret place” and weigh your theology of stewardship.

Grace is …..

  • Ann German and her boys preparing the Easter flowers for everyone’s enjoyment.

  • Hillary Greene bringing her lovely ladies to church each Sunday.

  • The way Connie Sullivan answers the phone at St. Mary’s.

  • John, Tom and Isabelle freely giving coins from their Easter flower sale for Haitian relief.

For your consideration:

  • I. What stands out in your own life journey as the most important relationship or teaching or event that helped shape your understanding of Christian Stewardship?

  • II. What does your parish as a community need to gain a deeper level of understanding and practice?

Questions for those responsible for parish stewardship

  • Is there a class on stewardship?

  • Are persons clear about what the word “tithe” means?

  • Does the Rector tithe?

  • Is there a commitment on the part of leadership to tithe?

  • Is there a children’s program on stewardship?

  • How is the follow-up handled?

  • Is there confidentiality around pledges?

  • Is there good bookkeeping of pledges received?

  • Is provision made for credit cards, stock transfers, direct deposits?

  • What liturgical customs surround stewardship?

  • Is there a “step-up” scale made available?

  • Has next year’s stewardship chair been chosen?

  • Every member canvas?

  • Why do people come to Church?

  • Are pledge cards and materials available throughout the year?

  • Who prays for the stewardship ministry?

  • Are stewardship materials personalized?

  • Are thank you letters immediate?

  • What precedes Stewardship Sunday?

  • Do lay persons preach on stewardship?

  • What is the size of the stewardship committee?

  • Does the parish tithe received income?

  • Is there a stewardship prayer for the parish?

  • Are there pledge cards and envelopes? Are they available in the pews year-round?

Grace takes many forms

  • The athlete

  • The seemingly sophisticated - elegance, class, appearance, certain kinds of possession ….

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved; How gracious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far and Grace will bring me home. The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Yea when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.John Newton


  • Positively and or negatively, how was stewardship, giving approached in your family of origin?

  • What single person most inspired you to give generously to the church?

  • What Biblical story most strongly informs your giving? Why?

  • What few truths would you like to impart to your children, grandchildren or Godchildren about stewardship?

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