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2010 CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX OF CONTENT

Past Archives: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

March 29

Celebrate Earth Day at 40!

It’s an old idea – celebrate and bless the planting season – that you can give a new twist: Creation Awareness. And there’s no better time than the Sunday before or after Earth Day, April 22. This year Earth Day turns 40 (they grow up so fast!). All this month we will showcase items to help you plan meaningful worship. For general resources and links, go to the Earth Day Network.

Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life: Worship Spaces as Stewardship

Here is a wonderful resource – with liturgical guides, sermon helps, Bible study and other practical tips. A bonus: It’s available in plain vanilla for all Christians, or in specific “flavors:” Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Reformed. Click here for “Sacred Spaces and Abundant Life,” from the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches. While you’re there, you can peruse six years of archived Earth Day material, as well as lots of other goodies.

Earth Sunday Resources, from the United Church of Canada

Rogation Sunday Liturgy, from SOLI.

Lectionary Reflection: Dawn of the Resurrected Dead

Why think of a 1970s horror film at Easter? We need to take a close look at how we script this story, especially for those who haven’t experienced the radical love and grace of our amazing God. Click here for “Dawn of the Resurrected Dead,” from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Take a Beauty Break

When you’re tired, stressed or just unfocused, take a “beauty break.” What the heck? It’s a great idea that Alban Institute writer Claudia Greer discusses in her column, “Friday Perspective.” She gives you three handy ideas for how getting started. Click here for “Take a Beauty Break,” from the Alban Institute’s Congregational Resource Guide.

Tithing — UCC Style

“We live in a world that offers many ‘helps’ to get our lives in order,” writes Kate Huey, in this fine essay, “but I am convinced that these supports fall far short of the power of the gospel to transform our lives.” She has some fine observations on the spiritual discipline of generosity. Click here for “Tithing – UCC Style,” from the United Church of Christ Stewardship & Church Finances.

Family Stewardship Calendar

Does good stewardship begin at home? Why not? Here’s a handy three-page resource that provides a handy guide to emphasizing stewardship in your family 12 months a year. For every month there are Bible verses and ideas for exploring stewardship of money, time and talent, and environment. The calendar is very eye-catching. Print it out and post it on your fridge. Click here for Family Stewardship Calendar from Church of the Nazarene.

SOLI/Update: You Get What You Pay For &mdash Sometimes More!

Your first idea for replacing a washer and dryer may be that high-end appliance store. But that’s only the first step on a journey to making purchase with economy, simplicity and justice, as SOLI editor and columnist Sharron R. Lucas found out. Click here for “You Get What You Pay For – Sometimes More,” posted in last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

March 22

Good Reads: "Characteristics of a Christian Steward"

From the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Parish & Diocesan Stewardship Initiative, here's a 38-page resource that describes 10 characteristics that mark a Christian steward: prayer, humility, trust, patience, responsibility, gratitude, generosity, simplicity, mercy, and perseverance. Along with scripture references, description, reflection, examples, and questions, come ideas for how to implement this document for personal, parish, or Christian education settings. Click here for "Characteristics of a Christian Steward.

Lectionary Reflection: Casting Call for Passion/Palm Sunday & Holy Week

The story of Christ's passion is compelling, but all too often we hear it as just that—a story told on the Sunday before Easter, a mere blip on life’s radar screen somewhere between the hosannas and the Easter lamb with mint jelly. This year, make a dramatic improvement. Click here for this reflection by Pastor Sharron R. Lucas. Click here to read archived columns.

Blessed Earth: for Earth Day or Any Day

Christians of all stripes agree that caring for the earth is important and part of their biblical mandate. Blessed Earth, a non-profit organization founded by Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, is dedicated to "inspiring and equipping faith communities to become better stewards of the earth." On April 21, Blessed Earth will host a live simulcast and launch a series of films (from the makers of Rob Bell's NOOMA series) to inspire individuals and communities to action. Click here to learn more about the Sleeth family's journey to a simpler, more just lifestyle and to access a host of resources for yourself or your congregation.

Put Drama into your Stewardship Focus

Looking for new ways to bring stewardship principles to your congregations? How about adding a little drama to the mix? Click here to access free scripts from the Disciples of Christ for Easter, Thanksgiving, and other occasions. Consider modifying these (of course giving credit!) to suit your context. Also available from the Episcopal Network for Stewardship and In the Courtyard are three complete skits by Margaret D. McGee. Click here to download. Another option is "Stewardship in a Box" written by Jenni Walker-Noyes, which you may re-tool to fit your context (again, giving proper credit). Click here for this fun and innovative short skit posted on the Presbytery of North Central Iowa website. Better yet, assemble a group of creative folks and write your own skit!

Resources from the Archdiocese of Tucson

Check out "Stewardship: Sharing our Gifts," the stewardship blog of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tucson. Here you'll find an abundance of resources including bulletin inserts, prayers, resources for leaders, and scriptures from Margie Puerta Edson, CFRE, Director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese. The Lenten stewardship focus is particularly notable. Click here for "Stewardship: Sharing our Gifts."

SOLI/Update: Why Stuff Sticks Around

Having pared down all of her family belongings to what would fit in two compact sedans and a couple boxes, SOLI editor and columnist Sharron R. Lucas has a pretty good idea why it's hard to get rid of "stuff" in our lives. "She shares her observations, which are spot-on. Click here for "Why Stuff Sticks Around," posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

March 15

50 Ways to Improve Your Annual Stewardship Campaign

Make this resource "must reading" for your church's stewardship and finance leaders. It's chock full of practical, simple and readily doable tips. Click here for "50 Ways," from the Disciples Mission Fund.

Lectionary Reflection: Press On

It's pretty easy to get stuck in the past. We humans all too often step into the quicksand of old ways of doing things and outdated thinking. But God calls us to go outside our comfort zone for the sake of the Gospel. Click here for "Press On," from SOLI columnist and editor Pastor Sharron R. Lucas. Click here to read archived columns.

Challenging Consumer Culture

In a world where most people live hand-to-mouth, the churches in North America need to address economic issues, says this essay by Christine Rousch. "Though few churches remain silent on what God has to say about personal morality and sexuality, only a handful adequately address what we do with all that God has given us: our time, our resources, our families, our neighbors, and our planet." Click here for "Challenging Consumer Culture," from Outcomes, the magazine of the Christian Leadership Alliance.

22 Stewardship Preaching Tips

Pastors, here's a handy sheet you can keep on your desk while composing your sermon. The tips are brief, thoughtful and inspirational. Most of them serve as reminders of things we need to bear in mind, such as "NEVER shame people into giving." Click here for "22 Stewardship Preaching Tips," from the Diocese of Ontario, Anglican Church of Canada.

Addressing a Shortfall

The economic downturn has left many churches struggling to make ends meet, and many unwittingly do the wrong things in response – such as beg members for money. "The challenge for churches is to craft messages showing members how their giving brings those tangible and intangible returns, using a variety of communication methods." Click here for "Addressing a Shortfall," from YourChurch magazine.

Understanding Dynamics of Faith

"If stewardship is really a faith issue, how do we understand the dynamics of faith?" So begins Keith Mundy in this essay about different stages of a faith journey. The ELCA's Assistant Director for Stewardship offers a good starting point for further exploration.. Click here for "Understanding Dynamics of Faith," posted in last week's SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

March 8

Year-Round Congregational Stewardship Plan

Download this 29-page resource today if you're serious about energizing your stewardship all year long, instead of just a couple months in the fall. Stewardship writer Barbara Fullerton does a great job outlining how to get things going with practical tips, charts and links for further work. Click here for "Year-Round Congregational Stewardship Plan," from the United Church of Canada.

Lectionary Reflection: A ReNEWed Creation

Even though we're still very much a consumer culture, nowadays it's cool to recycle, reuse and re-value stuff others might throw away. Jesus did that with people. Jesus saw worth in everyone. He knew the truth that God created everything good. Of course quite predictably, he encountered resistance from members of polite society. Click here for "A ReNEWed Creation," from SOLI Columnist Pastor Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Video: Stewardship – A Way of Life

Need a booster to kick off a new campaign, or energize an old one? Here's a six-minute video where Lutherans talk about their lives of giving and gratitude, from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA.

Prayers for Finances

Here are some creative prayers you can incorporate into your liturgy, or use for special situations facing the people in your congregation. Click here for prayers for the Current Financial Situation, and scroll down for prayers on issues of struggling to live on a household budget and personal debt. Good stuff from the Church of England.

SermonCentral

Every preacher feels the pressure of having to come up with 52-plus unique sermons a year. It helps get the creative juices flowing to know how other pastors have wrestled with the same texts, which is why SermonCentral is helpful. You'll find thousands of sermons searchable by keyword or topic, absolutely free. You can sign up for advanced features, but the freebie is pretty dang good. Click here for SermonCentral.

Short-Term Solutions

If it seems as if we are always putting off for another day important-but-hard decisions that affect us in the long term, there's a good reason. It seems as if human beings are hard-wired to act when issues have immediate consequences, and not when things hurt us down the road. Guess columnist Jim Taylor comments. Click here for "Short Term Solutions," posted in last week's SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

March 1

Preaching on Money

Many pastors would rather handle venomous snakes than address financial issues from the pulpit, and yet God's people are eager for spiritual direction on how to balance faith and money. This insightful article provides practical insights. Click here for "Preaching on Money," from Circuit Rider, the magazine for Methodist pastors.

Lectionary Reflection: Thirst Quencher

Those of us in the developed world are accustomed to water—plentiful and potable—available at the turn of the spigot. So do we ever really know thirst? Real life-or-death thirst? Probably not. Thirst is a human characteristic, and not only for H2O. We also thirst for the things of God. Click here for "Thirst Quencher," from SOLI columnist and editor Sharron Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

So just what is Stewardship anyway?

Here's a succinct explanation of stewardship from Bob at CPF (Christian Personal Finance) with a great illustration. Bob's point is that the Christian is called to "be a steward rather than a possessor." You'll also find links to scripture dealing with stewardship and much more. Click here for a basic and very readable and relevant post on stewardship.

Have You Thought about an African Lent

Sojourner's blogger LaVonne Neff offers a suggestion that's more challenging than giving up chocolate or beer for Lent — learn more about sub-Saharan Africa. As stewards we are to care for our neighbors, but it's hard to care if we do not know who our neighbors are and what their lives are like. Neff proposes several books (fiction and non-fiction) and films that will open your eyes and break open your heart. Good material for Christian education and small groups as well. Click here for "African Lent."

Host an E-Waste Recycling Event

Your church can help the environment and reach out to your community by hosting an E-Waste recycling event at your church. You'll be a good neighbor, too. Check out this instructive article on the Flourish magazine website about how you can. You'll find all the information you need to run to begin e-cycling successfully along with a host of helpful links. Click here to begin your planning.

It's Just a Blouse, Isn't It?

When it comes to clothing, some items are definitely better than others, as columnist Sharron Lucas found out when she explored the origin of her favorite clerical blouses. The fact that her purchases support a lot of working folks in Pittsfield, Maine, is just the beginning. Click here for "It's Just a Blouse, Isn't It?," posted in last week's SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

February 22

Faith Principles on Global Warming

As the world's governments continue to look for ways to address climate change, religious leaders can play a role by supporting faith-based ideas to frame the response. These principles address a variety of issues, from justice to sustainability to stewardship. Great to build awareness, promote advocacy, educate your congregation and spark discussion. A bonus: Your church could even endorse them. Click here for "Faith Principles on Global Warming," from the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States.

Lectionary Reflection: God is Great... God is Good... This I Believe.

Bootstraps and independence and a good work ethic are fine things, but we need God. We were created to be in an intimate relationship with our Creator. We are not supposed to do this 'life thing' alone. Click here for "God is Great... God is Good... This I believe," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Resilience in the Recession

"Economic impact Study Highlights Congregational Strengths," reads the subtitle of this informative article, based on the findings of an in-depth analysis that Alban Institute researchers did with the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The results showed some big surprises on which churches are faring well. Click here for "Resilience in the Recession," from the Alban Institute's Congregations magazine.

Stewardship Messages

Here's something you can really use! They're substantive, bible-based communications about stewardship that you are free to reprint in your newsletter, website, bulletins or bulletin boards. Available in both PDF and Word, you can cut-and-paste them as you see fit. The United Church of Christ offers them monthly, and you can peruse the archives going back over a year. Click here for Stewardship Messages, from the UCC's Stewardship & Church Finances page.

For the Healing of the Nations

For four consecutive weeks last year, Disciples of Christ congregations were encouraged to craft a stewardship emphasis around the theme "For the Healing of the Nations." It's a great idea that you can use to inspire your members to view stewardship beyond the usual "Let's make our budget." To equip churches, the denomination posted this worship guide, with Scripture, analysis, sermon helps, prayers and other resources. Click here for "For the Healing of the Nations," from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

SOLI/Update: Important Things To Do

This winter has brought record snowfall to much of the Northeast, and in the Central Pennsylvania town where I live folks are weary from trying to shovel and plow fast enough keep up. Many of us have the same tired feeling just trying to keep from being buried by the blizzard of daily demands on us. But every once in a while something happens to put it all into perspective. Click here for "Important Things To Do," by Rob Blezard, SOLI editor, and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

February 15

Reflecting on the Environment During Lent

This resource, "Planting the Future," features Wangar Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a Kenyan environmentalist who has much of value to share. Listen to her interview with Krista Tippett from the archives of National Public Radio's Speaking of Faith. You can also download the program as a podcast. You'll find much of value in this program and the related resources. Click here to access "Planting the Future."

Lectionary Reflection: Welcome to the Wilderness

Whether it's because of the death of a loved one, a serious medical condition, a divorce or financial woes, none of us is immune from a wilderness experience. The important thing to remember is that God is always with us, no matter what. Click here for "The Greatness of God," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Great Source for Lenten Planning

The Synod Resource Centers of the ELCA offer an easily navigable page of resources and activities for Lent. You'll find links to everything from family activities and devotional booklets to prayers and Lenten Key Cards. Click here to browse through these resources. Consider contributing ideas and activities from your congregation or organization so that others may share the wealth of creativity, knowledge, and faith from around the ELCA.

God's Pie

If your paycheck was a pie, where would you designate the slices to go? What would be left for God? This video from BurningBushMinistry explores.

Lenten Stewardship Curriculum

Check out this comprehensive curriculum posted by the Episcopal Network for Stewardship. You'll find a complete five-week curriculum designed for 45-minute sessions incorporating study of Scripture, a "living sculpture" activity, reflection questions that build on the "living sculpture," suggestions for hands-on activities, and liturgical resources for a brief closing worship. A resource for Stations of the Cross is also included. No extensive theological knowledge is necessary to facilitate this course, and the resources are comprehensive enough for even the most novice teacher. Click here for the "Lenten Stewardship Curriculum.

SOLI/Update: These Old Boots

Even in the most diligent purge of possessions, some things are just too good to give up. Often it's a family heirloom or a valuable collector's item. But columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas found such a gem in an unlikely article – snow boots... Click here for "These Old Boots," posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

February 8

Resources for Lent

Ash Wednesday is Feb. 17, and that marks the beginning of the church season of Lent, the traditional time for introspection, discipline and devotion. Here are some great free online resources you can use to help your congregation grow in faith this Lent.

Praying Lent 2010

Here is a wonderful trove of materials – everything from audio files to background pieces, from daily devotions to reflections. From Creighton University, a Jesuit Catholic institution.

Tread Lightly for Lent

Here is a Lenten calendar listing one simple thing you can do every day to learn and practice saving energy and caring for our environment. From the Presbyterian Church USA.

Stewardship as a Lenten Discipline

Become aware of better stewardship of your time, talent and possessions this Lent. On this page you'll find some really good ideas. From the United Church of Canada.

From the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary and Walking with Jesus

These two devotionals are available for download and printing through Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Lectionary Reflection: The Greatness of God

Paul tells us that we all have fallen short of the glory of God, but there are times when we fall much, much shorter than we would like. Have you had a day like that? So have the disciples. Click here for "The Greatness of God," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Bible Study: Stewardship — Kingdom, Mission & Money

Strengthen your congregation's stewardship education with Bible studies! Here is a two-part lesson dealing with key concepts arising in the lives of North American Christians. Both parts include a participant guide and leader guide. Click here (then scroll down!) for "Stewardship – Kingdom, Mission & Money," from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City.

The Narrative Budget: Telling Your Congregation's Stewardship Story

Traditional line-item budgets are good for planning and tracking your congregation's expenses. For the average parishioner, however, they often lead to glazed-over eyes and wide-mouthed yawns. Consider developing a narrative budget that tells a story and excites people about putting their time and talents to use in service of the church's mission. Click here to learn more about narrative budgeting. Included are sample letters and brochures for you to download and modify, courtesy of the Presbytery of North Central Iowa.

Asset-Based Thinking Goes to Work: Funding God's Mission in Rubbery Times

It's a tough time for churches. The economic downturn has more people turning to the church for help at the same time the church is getting less for ministry. This article by stewardship expert Bob Sitze explores how an asset-based approach can help sustain and renew your church. Click here for "Asset-Based Thinking," in the monthly publication by "RevWriter" Sue Lang.

Ban the Bag, Save the Turtles (and, oh yeah, the earth)

Those pesky plastic shopping bags — who needs 'em? Not when you can get a really nice reusable canvas beg for 99 cents at the supermarket checkout. Reusable bags have transformed my shopping habits, but not in the way you'd expect. Click here for "Ban the Bag, Save the Turtles," by Rob Blezard, SOLI editor, and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

February 1

Thinking about Stewardship?

Here's an engaging list of 20 ideas to consider when your leaders are thinking about money and the church. Good as discussion starters for meetings, as ideas for newsletter articles, for temple talks, bulletin inserts, or for use in Christian education. The key is to start talking about money and the work of the church. Silence is not golden when it comes to money and ministry. Click here for "Things to Think about When you Think about Money in the Church" from the Presbytery of North Central Iowa.

Lectionary Reflection: Ding, Dong Discipleship

When Jesus comes calling to make you a disciple, don't expect him to be like the Avon representative, offering you a catalogue of attractively marketed choices and easy-sounding solutions. No, Jesus has only one proposition, and it will cost you everything. Click here for "Ding, Dong Discipleship," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

God and Wall Street

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, found much to think about when he traveled to New York City for a conference on theology and economics. "In our culture, we have become used to an attitude in which economic motivations, relationships, and conventions are fundamental: the language of seller and customer has wormed its way into practically all areas of our social life, even education and health care." Click here for "God and Wall Street, from Newsweek.

Green-Mapping for Eco-Justice

Biblical stewardship involves caring for people, especially those living in poverty and under oppression. Faith leaders in New York City and around the world are finding ways to work within their communities using green-mapping. The process identifies healthy and green assets within a community and "maps" them for all to see and enjoy. By involving community members in mapping and celebrating the healthy aspects of their communities, as well as places that are ripe for redevelopment, bridges are built, communities are strengthened, and a better quality of life is sought for all residents. Click here to watch a video produced by Columbia University about Healthy Living Harlem and the green-mapping project there. Click here to learn more about green-mapping and how your congregation can be part of green-mapping in your area.

Nuggets for the Brain—not the Belly

Instead of running through the drive-thru at the "Golden Arches" for chicken nuggets for your children, offer them some Stewardship Nuggets from the United Methodist Church's Center for Christian Stewardship. Ranging from "Be a Barnabas" to "The Stewardship of Prayer," you'll find ideas for topical discussion, activities, and prayer. Christian educators will find much of value to incorporate Sunday school, parochial school and camp settings. Click here to find a menu of various "nuggets" for use in family settings.

Clutter Cleanse Contagion

Not only can a clutter cleanse be life-changing, it can also be highly contagious. I witnessed something I never imagined seeing; my sixteen-year-old daughter cleaned out her room. Really cleaned, getting rid of junk galore. Click here for "Clutter Cleanse Contagion," by Sharron Lucas, SOLI editor, and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

January 25

The Steward: Full of Faith

In this insightful article, noted stewardship author David S. Bell does a great job of framing the issues and challenges to developing a healthy culture of stewardship in a congregation. "Our choices in earning, giving, saving, and spending are either faith-filled or faith-less decisions. Most often these decisions are faith-filled, but faith in what?" Click here for "The Steward: Full of Faith," Posted by the Stewardship Department of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Lectionary Reflection: Wanted: A Hometown Hero on Our Terms

Everybody loved Jesus when he visited his hometown, until he failed to respond as they wanted. Then they turned on him and things got ugly. Are we any different in our reaction to our savior? Click here for "Wanted: A Hometown Hero on Our Terms," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Can You Be Too Rich For Heaven?

As the economic crisis causes North American Christians to ponder anew the questions raised by the Jesus' encounter with the rich young man (Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22), it's helpful to understand how the earliest Christians wrestled with the issue. Early church leaders, too, struggled whether Jesus calls for radical renunciation of wealth. Their insights are challenging. Click here for "Can a Christian Be Too Rich for Heaven?" from ChristianHistory.net.

Answering God's Call in a Hyper-Consumer World

Jesus warned that people could not serve God and money, but how many Christians in North America have taken that message to heart? Author and educator Nathan Dungan, founder of Share Save Spend, offers words of advice in this essay, posted on the website of the radio show Speaking of Faith. (At the website you can also download or listen to Dungan's interview with host Krista Tippett.) Click here for "Answering God's Call in a Hyper-Consumer World."

Green Congregations Program

Here's a good idea you can adapt for your context, either as a single congregation or in partnership with others in your denomination or region. It involves making a commitment to reducing your church's carbon footprint by investing in energy-savings. Envisioned by the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission, the program awards points to congregations for their efforts and recognizes achievement. It may be a friendly competition, but we're all winners when we reduce carbon emissions. Click Here for the "Green Congregations Program."

Live the REAL Prosperity Gospel

Before everyone started falling for the heresy that giving is God's sure-fire investment tip that will make God's people rich (or richER), there was a humbler expectation associated with Christian charity. It holds that self-sacrifice and giving will bring you a wealth of blessings, although not necessarily money (just treasure in heaven). Click here for "Live the REAL Prosperity Gospel," by Rob Blezard, SOLI editor, and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

January 18

Martin Luther King Jr.: Guidelines for a Constructive Church

On this week when we celebrate King's birthday, here is a speech that gives you an idea of his thinking and vision—well beyond the familiar "Dream Speech." Speaking in 1966, King expresses disappointment that desegregation of schools is taking so long, and he challenges the church to live out its purpose. Read or listen to this via audio streaming. Click here for "Guidelines for a Constructive Church," archived in the King Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

Mapping the Virtuous Circle

So you are a pastor of a mid-sized church that is steeped in tradition. You have been trying to nudge the congregation into new areas, trying to start new initiatives, but just can't seem to get any traction. This article may help. It outlines that balance between tradition and innovation, and gives advice on how to maintain it for the health of your congregation. Click here for "Mapping the Virtuous Circle," from the Alban Institute.

Lectionary Reflection: Fulfilled in Your Hearing AND in Your Doing

This week's gospel reading gives us direction on our opportunity and responsibility towards the people of Haiti. "The long term ministry to Haiti will, I believe, test our discipleship mettle. It will be so easy to turn away once the cameras find other foci, once another natural disaster strikes elsewhere in the world, and once our own needs and economic crisis crowd back in again." Click here for "Fulfilled in Your Hearing AND in Your Doing," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Checkbook Theology

Looking for a new stewardship bulletin insert? Consider using this one from the Presbytery of North Central Iowa entitled "Checkbook Theology." This succinctly written piece invites readers to contemplate what their checkbook registers and credit card statements say about their theology and stewardship practices. A strong point of this insert is the set of probing questions that ask readers to think about how they view their resource allocation and sharing. Click here for Checkbook Theology, from the Presbytery of North Central Iowa.

Stewardship in Difficult Times

Check out this PowerPoint presentation entitled "10 Components of Successful Stewardship in Difficult Economic Times." Created by Wayne B. Clark, Ph.D., the Director of Congregational Stewardship Services for the Unitarian Universalist Association, you will find handy tips and ideas to incorporate in your own context. Ideas that Clark presents will prove useful to councils and committees or as springboards for adult forums and confirmation discussions. Click here for "10 Components of Successful Stewardship in Difficult Economic Times."

Interfaith Power and Light: Resources for Congregations

This non-profit, interfaith group offers many resources on their website. Here you'll find congregational success stories, study guides, music, event listings, and a clergy corner. The group also provides a short list of "10 Things You Can Do Right Now" to jump start your planning and action. Click here for more to visit the website and start taking steps to green your congregation and become better stewards of God's good creation.

SOLI/Update: One Down... Seven to Go: The Clutter Cleanse Continues

Columnist Sharron Lucas decided to make this the year she would live justly, and part of that meant going through the house and getting rid of anything she really didn't need, starting with the bathroom. "One wouldn't think that would be too difficult since we're talking about a space measuring about six feet by nine feet. How can that much stuff be in one little room? Trust me... a lot!" Click here for "One Down … Seven to Go," by Sharron Lucas and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

January 11

Practicing Good Stewardship during a Recession

Giving down? Worries up? Have no fear; God is faithful, and this website offers good advice and some solid tips for how to encourage stewardship in a time of economic recession. It seems counterintuitive to think of recession as an opportunity for spiritual growth and discipleship, but the staff at Stewardship Services Limited, UK, believe we should look at these times in just that way. Click here to find e-mail bulletins and articles that deal with this most timely topic.

Stewardship and Young Adults

So how do we talk to young adults about stewardship? We know they want to make a difference, but we need to look at fresh ways of communicating the message. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement entitled Stewardship and Young Adults: An Invitation to Change the World. Regardless of your denominational or faith affiliation, you'll find solid ideas with a strong emphasis on justice in this statement. Click here to begin the conversation.

Lectionary Reflection: Good Gifts that Keep on Giving

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul talks about gifts that we receive from the Holy Spirit. Just think about this reality Paul reveals: God has blessed you with gifts unique to you; gifts that only you can use in your own way so that more gifts are given for the common good. Click here for "Good Gifts that Keep on Giving," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Creation Care in the Congregation: A Look Ahead

Earth Day may seem like a long way away, but April will be here sooner than we think! Besides, if you live where winter winds are rattling your windows and drifting your driveway, then thinking about creation care in the congregation should at least warm your heart. Of course, any day is a great day to talk about environmental stewardship in our worshipping community. Check out the congregational resources page on the National Religious Partnership for the Environment website for a host of resources, ideas, and examples. Click here to find out how your congregation can be involved.

SOLI/Update: Saving the Planet, One Sardine Tin at a Time

I'd really love to be one of those recycling fanatics, I really would. But right now recycling an oily sardine tin would require me to first wash it out with soapy warm water. What a hassle! Laziness, I think, is the reason more Americans don't recycle. Click here for "Saving the Planet, One Sardine Tin at a Time," by Rob Blezard, SOLI editor, and posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

January 4

New for 2010: Check Out SOLI Blogs!

SharronRobWebsite editors Rob Blezard and Sharron Lucas have each created a blog devoted to issues of stewardship.

Sharron's blog is called "Just Living," and will chronicle her effort to live as a North American who considers the social, international and financial justice issues inherent in the everyday choices she makes. Click here to check out "Just Living."

Rob's blog is called "It's Personal!" and will reveal one Christian's attempt to explore what it means to take personally God's mandate to be good stewards of our lives, our society and our world. Click here to check out "It's Personal!"

Weathering a Recession

California-Nevada United Methodist FoundationWhen the financial clouds roll in, your church can Shine! That's the premise behind this five-page resource giving you 16 creative ways to put your congregation's best foot forward in bad times. From serving people by providing education on personal finance to promoting planned giving, this helpful guide offers something sure to fit your church's needs. Click here (PDF) for "Weathering a Recession," from the California-nevada United Methodist Foundation.

Video: What Does it Mean to be a Good Steward?

If you asked members and leaders of your denomination what it means to be a good steward, what do you think they would say? Our friends at the Episcopal Church did just that—and video recorded the answers, which were thoughtful and challenging. Good discussion starter for your stewardship meeting.

Lectionary Reflection: Baptism: Fire, Water and New Life

Do you remember your baptism on a daily basis? How do you "walk wet" as you journey through life? I'd say there's a better chance of most of us singing opera in the shower than understanding ourselves as unique creations baptized with Water, and Spirit, and Fire. Click here for "Baptism: Fire, Water and New Life," from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Ecological Footprint Calculator

Those greenie tree huggers are continually nagging that North Americans use the earth's resources at an unjust and unsustainable rate. This cool website not only proves that they're right, it helps you to see how your own choices measure up. In a step-by-step questionnaire the website calculates how many earth's worth of resources would be needed if everybody lived like you. You can bypass the login and registration and use it anonymously. Click here for "Ecological Footprint Calculator," from EarthDay Network. (P.S.: The estimate for me, a pastor who makes under $50,000, was four and a half worlds.)

SOLI/Update: New Year's Resolutions I Can Live With

Author Ralph Milton had no problem making good resolutions—just keeping them: "I got to the point where I decided to never make any New Year's resolutions I knew I wouldn't keep. So I made a resolution to be more conscious and grateful for the wonderful grace I received. Click here for "New Year's Resolutions I Can Live With," by Ralph Milton, posted in last week's edition of SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.



 
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