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2007 Index


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8-Week Program: With God's Permission

Here's a complete resource for a congregation to begin using an asset-based approach to financial stewardship. "This simple program can help your congregation fund God’s mission in a fresh and exciting manner." Available for free PDF download. From ELCA Stewardship.

2007 Chronological Index of Content

For 2008, Click Here
For 2006,
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For 2005, Click Here
For 2004, Click Here
For 2003, Click Here

See also the archive of recent news articles and reports in Gleanings.
December 31, 2007
Seizing the Opportunities: Ways to Encourage Godly Giving
OK, pastor, what excuse are you using to avoid talking about stewardship in your congregation? Whatever it is, this weighty essay has a response why you should get going. Lots to think about.  Click here for “Seizing the Opportunities,” posted by Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.

What to do with a New Year?
Introducing a new columnist – the Rev. Sharron Riessinger Lucas, a parish pastor serving the Sheyenne-Oberon Area Ministry, a four-point cooperative ministry in the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. In her debut column, she describes a daring New Year’s Resolution to embrace simplicity. Click here for “What to do with a New Year?”

From Pennies to Plastic
You hear many a parent complain, “Kids don’t know the value of money.” But how would they unless they are taught? This article outlines some practical ways that parents and parishes can help their young people learn about money and how to use it wisely. Click here for “From Pennies to Plastic,” from Thrivent magazine.

Stewardship New Year’s Resolutions for 2008
“The New Year -- a clean slate! Why not reframe your resolutions in light of God's call for us to be good stewards and use all of our blessings wisely? Here are some common resolutions that have enormous implications for the stewardship of life.” Click here for “Stewardship New Year’s Resolutions,” from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

December 24, 2007
Put the Christ Back in New Year’s Resolutions
What will you resolve to do in 2008? Why not set goals for your spiritual health and wellbeing? This article looks at how Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher of the Great Awakening, handled his New Year’s Resolutions, and what we can learn from him. Click here for “Put Christ Back in New Year’s Resolutions,” from Christianitytoday.com.

Sermon: The Church’s New Year’s Resolutions
The pastor at Baltimore’s Central Presbyterian Church had an interesting idea – preach about New Year’s Resolutions for his congregation. It’s worth considering for your own congregation. Click here to read John Schmidt’s sermon, from Central Presbyterian Church.

Clean Sweep Time
“It’s ‘Clean Sweep’ time, when we can clean up and reorganize our operations so that 2008 will run even more smoothly and we can accomplish even more this coming year. The big problem with most of us is that we really don’t know where to start.” Click here for tips, from Tuck Aaker, columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Stewardship FAQ: St. Clement’s-by-the-sea
Every now and then we run across an excellent stewardship page on a congregational website that we can lift up to inspire other congregations. Here’s one by St. Clement’s-by-the-sea,” an Episcopal congregation in San Clemente, Calif. Its stewardship FAQ is concise, faithful and informative. Click here for the stewardship page of St. Clement’s-by-the-sea.

Guidelines for Personal Stewardship
Here is a handy, brief, easily understood guide for a Christian who is seeking guidance on how best to live, spend and interact with God’s creation. Good information for everyone. Click here for Guidelines for Personal Stewardship,” from the Church of England Stewardship Resources

December 17, 2007
Surviving or Thriving the Night Before Christmas
Why do we do it to ourselves Christmas after Christmas – the hassles, the overspending, the overworking, the overdoing everything? Here’s the story of one Mom who decided to set different goals. Click here for “Surviving or Thriving the Night Before Christmas,” from MomSense, from ChristianityToday.com. The writer, Norma Cramer Overton, is president of MOPS International, whose website has a wonderful section on observing Christmas more simply and sanely. Click here for MOPS International’s Holiday Help.

Christmas Message: ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson
“God's power and blessing worked through common lives to bring forth Jesus the Messiah. Joseph and Mary, ordinary young adults nurtured by the generations before them, were open to God's extraordinary activity in their lives.” Click here for the Christmas Message from Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Christmas Message: The Archbishop of Canterbury
“So at Christmas, God shows that he is not ashamed to be with us. He has heard our cries of weakness and self-doubt and unhappy longing, he has seen our wanderings and anxieties, and he is not ashamed to be alongside us in this world, walking with us in our pilgrimage. And because he is content to walk with us, we are challenged about whose company we might be ashamed to share.” Click here for the Christmas Message of Rowan Cantuar, Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Anglican Communion.

Christmas Message: World Council of Churches
Secretary General Samuel Kobia’s message focuses on peace.In entering Christ’s service we commit ourselves to a spirituality of resistance, challenging the spiral of violence that threatens our planet. Because God is One, and infinitely gracious, we are called to establish communities of wholeness, justice and peace.” Click here for the Christmas message from the World Council of Churches.

Training a New Generation of Givers
“This fall we lost another of our ‘Greatest Generation’ members -- a humble widower who had worked a blue-collar job all his life and retired with a middle class pension. We miss his presence in our congregation, but our financial secretary remarked that the absence of his steady, weekly check in the offering plate made a noticeable difference in our collection.” Click here for “Training a New Generation of Givers,” the essay from last week’s SOLI/Update, our free online newsletter, from web editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read archived essays.

December 10, 2007
Start a ‘Financial Fitness Club’
Wow! Did you know that 74 percent of families live paycheck to paycheck? (No wonder our families can’t give more to the church!). To help families get a better handle on their earning, spending and saving, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is offering congregations help in setting up Financial Fitness Clubs – it’s for education only. Click here to check out their plan and resources. Good stuff! For starters, here’s a resource for the holidays: Celebrate Financially Fit Holidays – geared to help folks enjoy the holidays without overdoing it financially.

E-Curb Appeal
“There is no special power in a website. But churches that are intentional about outreach recognize the necessity of developing a high-quality, inviting website. Those that are serious about their Internet presence will stick to it for at least a year.” So begins an insightful article about how to establish and maintain a website that serves your congregation. Click here for “E-Curb Appeal,” from Your Church magazine.

Frugality: Antidote to Prodigality?
The economic excesses of our culture have led to many woes for which frugality is an answer and about which churches are silent, says James A. Nash in this compelling essay. “One might expect Christian churches in America to be spirited champions of frugality and aggressive challengers to the ethos of affluence. But, in fact, they generally reflect this ethos and some have sanctified it.” Click here for “Frugality: Antidote to Prodigality,” in the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

The National Gift Crisis
How are you and your family coping with gift crisis this Christmas? Never heard of the gift crisis? Tsk tsk. Denial is the first sign of trouble. It’s everywhere in our culture, and in fact is the underlying premise for most of the Christmas advertisements we hear on radio and TV.” Click here for “The National Gift Crisis,” an archive column from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

December 3, 2007
The Principles of Financial Stewardship in Paul’s Letter to Philippians
As every pastor, Paul had to speak to his congregations about money. This essay looks at what today’s pastors can learn from Paul’s message to the Philippians. “Paul is writing to a congregation whose wholehearted, generous stewardship is beyond question. … He is writing to a congregation which seems to be a model congregation.” Click here for The Principles of Financial Stewardship in Paul’s Letter to Philippians, posted by Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

Lifetime Learning
When it comes to giving, all of us have a lot to learn, but fortunately, we have a lifetime in which to learn it.  The job of church leaders, then, is to teach giving! “So often we approach people’s giving habit as something that is a natural action that we just have to stimulate by mentioning a need our congregation has at the moment,” says columnist Tuck Aaker. In fact, giving is something that needs to be taught by leaders and learned by members. Click here for “Lifelong Learning,” from Stewardship Now, the column at ELCA Stewardship Resources.

What do you want for Christmas?
Because we are bombarded with images encouraging us to spend before Christmas, Advent is a wonderful time for Christians to think about their financial stewardship. In this reflection, the author took a disciplined approach toward spending – and found awareness about shopping and spiritual needs. Click here for “What do you want for Christmas,” from the Stewardship Sightings blog hosted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, Canada.

Let’s Dump Advent
“Christmas is everywhere -- in the malls, on broadcast airwaves, in the big box retailers, in the magazines and newspapers. It's everywhere but one place: Churches! Instead we have Advent. The season of waiting for Christmas. What a killjoy!” Click here for “Let’s Dump Advent,” a lame HUMOR column from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

November 26, 2007
Sermon Series: Taking the ‘Stew’ out of Stewardship
Here is a series of four sermons that will inspire pastors and layfolk alike on speaking cogently and biblically about stewardship. The four sermons were given by Pastor Doug Dortch of First Baptist Church, Tallahassee, Florida. Click on the titles to review the sermons: Stewardship is Surrender, Stewardship is Priority, Stewardship is Investment, Stewardship is Sacrifice. A great bundle of preaching, posted by the Center for Baptist Studies.

Three Attitudes Toward Giving
Why do people give to the church? This essay explores three common attitudes and their implications for the financial wellbeing of a congregation and its members. Click here for Three Attitudes Toward Giving, from the stewardship pages of Ted Mollegen.

Financing American Religion
Read and digest this comprehensive essay that looks at studies and trends in church giving. Something for everybody to learn. The essay is actually the last chapter of the book of the same name, edited by Mark Chaves and Sharon Miller (Walnut Creek, Calif., AltaMira Press, 1999). Click here for “Financing American Religion,” posted by the Lilly Foundation’s Resources for American Christianity.

Turkey, Trimmings and Theology
“How appropriate that just before the ceremonial end of all time our culture hosts a big feast and gives thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.” Click here for “Turkey, Trimmings and Theology,” from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

November 19, 2007
Coming Up Short in December
With just a few weeks left to the year, how is your budget doing? If your congregation is like most, it could be behind. This handy article gives you strategies – good and bad! – for coping. Click here for “Coming Up Short in December, from the United Methodist Church’s Center for Christian Stewardship.

An Overlooked Step to Success
Churches typically look for next year’s leaders in the final weeks of the old year. The quality of the leaders will go a long way in determining the success of your ministry, yet how many churches have a good process for selecting new leaders. Good food for thought! Click here for “An Overlooked Step to Success,” from Tuck Aaker, columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

ELCA Good Gifts
Forget about buying the “perfect gift” for your family member of friend who already has everything! Put your money to good use. Donate money to a worthy ELCA cause in the name of your cherished one. You can help a struggling retired pastor, assist victims of disaster, help start a new church. Imagine the good you can do. Click here for ELCA Good Gifts, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Gratitude Conquers the Darkness of Entitlement
“In his insatiable appetite for new toys, a little boy displayed an attitude that seems epidemic in our culture – that the mountains of stuff he already owns mean nothing in the face of the new toys he wants.” Click here for “Gratitude Conquers the Darkness of Entitlement,” an archive column from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

November 12, 2007
Manual for Year-Round Stewardship

This tool will help you plan your stewardship efforts over 12 months, so to avoid the last minute crunch that so many congregations encounter. It explains three stewardship approaches and helps you implement them all.  It’s a comprehensive, 74-page guide written by stewardship experts Eugene Grimm and Richard Bosse. Click here for the PDF version of “Manual for Year-Round Stewardship,” from Grimm’s website, The Stewardship Connection.

Stewardship Sermon: It All Goes Back in the Box
Here’s a sermon that lays it on the line about how we use – or rather, how we misuse – our time and obsess over material possessions that do not give us happiness. It’s a long sermon, filled with lots of good preaching points. Click here for “It all Goes Back in the Box,” from The Virginia Baptist Mission Board.

God’s House Goes Green
Churches are finding that environmental stewardship begins in the church. Some churches are helping to lead the way. Click here for “God’s House Goes Green,” from Leadership Journal.

Why I tithe
"I have gained deeper trust that God is faithful and responds to my faithfulness. More than once while tithing, I have struggled with bills and gotten a check or income opportunity “out of the blue.”  It’s not a “prosperity gospel” thing — that if we give, God will make us rich. Jesus never says God will make us rich, only that God will provide for our needs. I just tithe and trust." Click here for “Why I Tithe,” from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard column posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

November 5, 2007
The Privacy of Financial Giving
This insightful essay agrees that giving should be private, but not secret: "Secrecy is really a cover for individual or collective shame about how little we give. Embarrassment about giving reveals a congregation that has not reached the point of being generous, joyful givers, alive in discovering the gospel truth that in giving, we receive." Click here for "The Privacy of Financial Giving," from the United Methodist Church's Center for Christian Stewardship.

The Path to Solving Challenges
When you approach the issues facing your church, attitude DOES make a big difference, says stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker. "It isn't until we stop thinking about the loss and focus on the future for our loved one that anything positive can result.."Click here for for "The Path to Solving Challenges," from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Moving from Fund-raising to Stewardship
In this interview, stewardship expert Deborah Callard reveals her secrets: Stewardship ministry is about relationships—to money, to each other as individuals and as a faith community, and ultimately with God. It includes inspiring preaching, education, opportunities to share ideas about the role money and resources play in individual lives, and personal stories about giving." Click here for "Moving from Fund-raising to Stewardship," from the Alban Institute's Congregational Resource Guide.

Nothing Doing
When a busy preacher, husband, father, homeowner, took a moment to relax, it opened up a world of joy. Could this be a key to stewardship of life? "That hour was not like other hours. During that hour, my time was without form and void, and blueness was over the face of the earth. I don't know if the Spirit of God moved across the expanse of my emptiness, but I can tell you that it felt good." Click here for "Nothing Doing," from The Christian Century.

October 29, 2007
Stewardship Sermon: Zacchaeus
 Here’s a sermon based on Nov. 4’s lectionary text from master preacher Edward Marquart. Zacchaeus is a small man whose brief encounter with Jesus changes his heart from greed to generosity. What lessons might that hold for 21st century disciples? Click here for “Zacchaus,” from Sermons from Seattle.

Leaders Insight: Living with Less
In this fine essay, a Christian who admittedly hates Birkenstocks and thinks Michael more is a narcissist embraces simplicity – and likes it. He leaves us with three questions to get us there. Click here for “Living with Less,” from Leadership Journal.

100 Stewardship Ideas & Verses
Here in one compact file, a compilation of Old and New Testament verses that illustrate Stewardship. Good for personal inspiration or research. Click here for 100 Stewardship Ideas & Verses, from the Christian Stewardship Association.

Living ‘Miracle to Miracle'
"Accumulation of wealth – congregationally or personally – actually can make one fearful of taking risks, rather than emboldening us to risk what we have. It’s certainly fear and desire for security that drives our secular financial culture, but as people of God, we trust in the sovereign of the universe who owns and creates everything. Is there any safer bet?" Click here for “Living Miracle to Miracle,” an archive column from SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, posted in last week’s edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read other archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

October 22, 2007
Resource Set: Funding Guides
Need to start a fundraising campaign but don’t know where to start? Here are resources for you! This comprehensive set of 13 guides lays out step-by-step the way you should approach, plan and execute a fundraising campaign. Geared to churches in the United Kingdom, but easily adapted. Click here for “Fundraising Guides,” from The Church of England’s Parish Resources for Stewardship.

Sermon: Competing Claims
Consider Jesus’s familiar wisdom:  “Render under caesar what which is caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s.” Jesus is talking much more than about paying taxes. He’s summaraizing the competing claims that Christians must juggle with all of our valuables – our time, talent and possessions. This insightful sermon explores the issue handily. Click here for “Competing Claims,” from the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Stewardship.

Empty Pockets
This article on personal finance should be read by everybody – especially those in church who seem always to be short on money despite their good salaries. When people have chronically empty pockets, it’s possible the problem has to do with values and priorities, not cash inflow. Click here for “Empty Pockets,” from Thrivent magazine.

Give your congregation the 'Malachi challenge'
 "Preaching one week on Malachi 3:10, a  pastor simply dared his congregation to do what God asks -- to put God to the test by giving a tenth of their income to the church and see whether God would not 'open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.' The pastor challenged the congregation to try it for just a month and see if their lives would not be blessed." Click here for this column by SOLI webmaster Rob Blezard, from last week's edition our free online newsletter. Click here to read archived columns.  Click here to subscribe.

October 15, 2007
Stewardship of Creation Initiative
Climate change is real, and it’s very scary. Here is a fantastic set of resources for the congregation or individual believer to put their faith into action on environmental issues. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has put together these materials that will get you informed and keep you busy for years. Click here for Stewardship of Creation Initiative, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Self-sacrifice, not self-interest, vital to stewardship
In the midst of “stewardship season” for most churches, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Bishop Duncan Gray III of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi reminds us what it’s all about in this brief but powerful essay. Click here for “Self-sacrifice, not self-interest,” published in the The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

Study finds South the most charitable region; Northeast the least
Where does your congregation’s giving stack up against the regional norms? This resource may give you a measuring stick of sorts. The article reports on the findings of Empty Tomb Inc, which combed government data on charitable giving. It found that nationwide, households gave just under $1,000 to charity in 2005, the most recent year for which data are available. Click here for “Study finds South the most charitable region,” from Catholic News Service, posted on CatholicOnline. (To read more about study and excerpts from the book in which the findings are reported, click here for a page on Empty Tomb’s website.)

Bumper-sticker stewardship
There's a bumper sticker that always gives me both a chuckle and an "uh ha!" moment.  I saw it again this past week: ‘Tithe if you love Jesus. Anyone can honk!’ The sentiment is especially appropriate in the current lectionary year, which emphasizes the Gospel of Luke.” Click here for “Bumper-sticker stewardship,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

October 8, 2007
Stewardship Q & A
Church leaders know that parishioners have questions. Maybe your folks are asking them. What’s the difference between stewardship and tithing? What difference will stewardship make in my life? This handy resource answers some of the most basic questions. Click here for “Stewardship Q & A,” from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y.

2007 Tithing Program
How to teach your congregation about tithing? This denomination began with a letter and followed it up with weekly bulletin inserts over several months. It’s a great idea, and the documents on the website can guide and inspire your own church in devising a campaign. Click here for “2007 Tithing Program,” from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of North America.

Bring ‘em in, build ‘em up, send ‘em out
Although Mainline churches as a whole are languishing, some congregations are growing steadily. What gives? Stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker says that often, their pastors and leaders have found innovative ways to reach the unchurched, plug them into church life and send them out again. Click here for “Bring ‘em in, build ‘em up, send ‘em out,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Stewardship sermon: ‘The Land of Enough
Everywhere we turn, our culture tells us we live in “the Land of Not Enough.” But there’s a different destination for people of faith, explored in this 2006 Stewardship Sermon Award Winner. Click here for “The Land of Enough,” from the Unitarian Universalist Association.

October 1, 2007
Integrating Creation Care into the Life of Faith
What can we do about global warming? This person of faith says quite a lot. “As I have wrestled with how to reverse the trend towards global self-destruction, I have come to believe that we must begin with a personal and community response.  By elevating sustainability to the level of spiritual discipline, we can replace despondence with faith and powerlessness with activism.” Click here for “Integrating Creation Care into the Life of Faith,” from Vantage, the publication of Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia.

The Positive Approach
Why do so many congregations do stewardship so badly? “The mistake that will be made in most congregations is that the wrong questions will be asked right at the outset and the ‘die will be cast’ for the financial focus of the congregation for the entire new year.” What’s the alternative? Click here for “The Positive Approach,” from Tuck Aaker, columnist for http://www.elca.org/stewardship/.

Eight Ways Congregations Raise Pledges
Here is a handy guide for your stewardship committee as it maps out the way forward in stewardship.  This will provide you with a good overview so you can make an intelligent choice for your congregation. Click here for “Eight Ways Congregations Raise Pledges,” from the Congregational Resource Center of Alban Institute.

The Lazaruses all around
The woman named Elizabeth called my church again today looking for help. She her three children live in a dreary fleabag motel, last-ditch, low-income housing in our rural county. Her story was the same: With the end of the month, her money had run out, and she had no food. Could we help?” Click here for “The Lazaruses all around,”  the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

September 24, 2007
Sharing as a Central Practice in the Economy of God
"While it doesn’t seem to make much sense in our contemporary economy which is based on exchange, God’s economy is based on sharing, on grace. God freely gives us many of the things we find enjoyable: sun, water, air, friends, family, our bodies, the ability to enjoy food and the ability to share with others. We respond to those gifts by giving to God’s creatures, ourselves and the whole created order.Click here for "Sharing as a Central Practice in the Economy of God ," from the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

Do We Trust God With Our Hearts but not Our Wallets?
"The reasons that people give are pretty simple, but the reasons that people withhold their giving are much more complicated. If you talk to someone who tithes they will say something like, 'God has done so much for me,'  or, 'It is all about gratitude,' or 'It all belongs to God anyway.'  They are all variations on a theme that puts God at the center of their lives." Click here for “Do we trust God with our hearts but not our wallets?,” an archive essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our regular columnist. Click here to read more archived essays.

Celebrate Generosity
Here is a great resource for congregations looking for something new to do with stewardship. Celebrate Generosity aims to encourage members of a congregation to increase their giving up to a full tithe or another set goal amount. The free 27-page resource contains not only how-to guides, but also workshop outlines, sample handout materials and other materials. Everything you'll need. It's written by Eugene Grimm, one of the most respected stewardship authors today.  Click here for "Celebrate Generosity" posted on the website of the ELCA Central States Synod.

Stewardship as a Lifestyle
Here is a Bible study/workshop that explains stewardship in practical, discipleship terms.  "Stewardship is like a magnet passing over the jumbled pins and needles of our life, organizing them into a meaningful pattern. Click here for "Stewardshp as a Lifestyle." Written by former ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson.

The Bedrock of Stewardship
"When it comes to stewardship and evangelism strategies, it seems that many churches settle for quick fixes and gimmicks. But Acts shows us that getting the church's spiritual house in order is the best thing.” Click here for “The Sabbath for Busy People,”  the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

September 17, 2007
10 Stewardship Principles Flyer and Placemat

Stewardship education is year round, but most congregations emphasize teaching in the fall. Here are two great free resources your congregation can use to help members learn about giving. The ELCA’s “10 Stewardship Principles” distills wisdom about stewardship in 10 thoughtful ideas. They are provided in two useful formats – as a flyer and a placemat (that could also serve as wall sign). Click Here for the page where you will find the free downloadable “10 Stewardship Principles” flyer and placemat. From ELCA Stewardship Resources.

A Shower of Blessings Stewardship Thrust
"What can we do to motivate members about their response to God's blessings?" That was the question stewards from Grace Lutheran Church, ELCA, Eau Claire, Wis., asked. The answer is this full stewardship program. Click here for "A shower of blessings," part of the archives of the Association of Lutheran Resource Centers. (Also listed in SOLI’s Treasure Chest of resources.

Throw Up Your Hands – In Prayer
"When we have no other recourse and we think about it, we turn to God. But when we are really without hope we may not even know where to look. So we throw up our hands in a gesture of surrender." Click here for “Throw Up Your Hands – In Prayer,” from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our weekly columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

Eat, Drink, Be Hungry
This is an incredibly insightful essay about the biggest spiritual issue facing Americans today – wanton desire and overconsumption. “According to Jesus, when we draw near to the kingdom, it is better to come empty than full. We are tempted to think that righteousness is the condition we must be in to be blessed. Jesus says the opposite. Righteousness is the blessing; hunger is the precondition.” Click here for “Eat, Drink, Be Hungry, from ChristianityToday.com.

Stewardship Lessons of 9/11
“The traditional fall stewardship season is gaining momentum in our congregations, yet the anniversary of Sept. 11 gives us pause to look at the wider picture. Church fund-raising and budget-making will mean very little if 50 years from now the planet has been rendered uninhabitable by terrorism or nuclear aggression.” Click here for “Stewardship Lessons of 9/11,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

September 10, 2007
Faithful Living: A Biblical Ethic of Financial Stewardship
This is a must read for members of your congregation's Stewardship Committee! Noted scholar and author Mark Alan Powell outlines four keys to faithful living and financial stewardship. Click here for "Faithful Living: A Biblical Ethic of Financial Stewardship," from the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

Not Mistakes, But Teaching Moments
"If we are sure that we are not allowed to err, that we have to be infallible, then our failures can make us smaller.  They can diminish us.  Our spirits shrink when they should be freed.  We become paralyzed by the thought that it could happen again, because it will.." Click here for “Not Mistakes, But Teaching Moments ,” this week’s essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our regular columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

The Quick and Simple Congregational Asset-Mapping Experience
The asset-based approach to church budgeting, as opposed to the traditional need-based approach, can transform your congregation's experince. Is it for you? This resource outlines a workshop that will give your church a taste of asset-based planning. It's a good way to introduce the concept in your church. Click here for "The Quick and Simple Congregational Asset-Mapping Experience," from the Alban Institute's Congregational Resource Center.
Bonus Resource: Read more about asset-based planning with this article, previously highlighted, from the CRC: "Need-Based Planning Versus Asset-Based Planning."

The Sabbath for Busy People
"True confessions: I am a sinner. I routinely violate one of God's 10 commandments. And I am a hypocrite as well, because my sin is to disobey the very commandment I regularly berate my congregation and you, dear readers, for breaking. And I do it with consciousness, forethought and full consent of the will. Truth be told, I enjoy it.” Click here for “The Sabbath for Busy People,”  the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

September 3, 2007
Because God is generous
Many people in ministry who have naturally giving personalities can experience burnout – when they have nothing left to give, and so they give up. But we can take strength that God’s giving to us is limitless. Click here for “Because God is generous,” from the archives of Moody magazine. Although the magazine ceased publication in 2003, its excellent articles are available on the web.

We are Children of the Banquet Host
Jesus’ advice on seating arrangements in Luke 14 challenges our notion of God’s hospitality – and our role. "In the grocery store line we will be less worried about how the tired clerk treats us and more about how we treat her. Just think about it as if all of life is a reception and you are the host." Click here for “We are Children of the Banquet Host,” this week’s essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our regular columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

The Money-Wise Church
If people are not giving to your church as much as they could, maybe they do not have confidence your church will spend it well. That’s the provocative premise behind this challenging article, which offers tips how churches can become “money-wise.” Click here for “The Money-Wise Church,” from Your Church magazine.

Go in Peace! Serve the Lord! Thanks be to God!
“The words above, familiar to millions of Lutherans as the sending prayer to conclude weekly worship, shine brilliantly in their simplicity and power. The prayer captures the essence of our discipleship response to the Gospel.” Click here for “Go in Peace! Serve the Lord! Thanks be to God!”  the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

August 20, 2007
Exercising Our Church’s Funds
Most churches have thousands – and some hundreds of thousands – of dollars to invest. The question is, how? “Money talks and Christians are looking for ways to have an impact on their investments. Should the institutional church, its synods and congregations — even its pension fund — be open to such thought? Click here for “Exercising Our Church’s Funds,” from Lutheran Partners.

Pray with Open Hands, Open Heart
"Open, empty hands remind us that we possess nothing that we have not received from God. We open our hands to a sudden rain that pours down upon us. We open our hands in surprise and in joy. We open our hands to signify that whatever our loving God has in store for us, we are poised to receive." Click here for “Pray with Open Hands, Open Heart ,” this week’s essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our regular columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

Counting the Cost: A Crusade Against Consumer Debt
More and more working Americans find themselves in trouble because of stagnant wages and easy credit cards, but many churches are working to help their members get out of the trap. They learn that stewardship begins at home. Click here for “Counting the Cost,” from The Christian Century.

Pray for a Stewardship ‘Aha’ Moment
“God's Word has a wonderful way of working on us. We can read the same passages again and again, and then, without warning ,God will reveal its truth in the deepest corners of our souls. It will fill us with joy, fill us with peace -- both will come bubbling out of our lips, we are so eager to tell everyone.” Click here for “Pray for a Stewardeship ‘Aha’ Moment’, the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

August 13, 2007
Stewardship: How to Get Started and What to Expect
The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, held a big stewardship conference earlier this year that looked at stewardship in the parish. Lucky for everybody else they have made the presentations available online. Good nuts and bolts stuff. Click here for “How to Get Started and What to Expect,” from the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Look for Blessings in Any Adversity
"The doctors that who have treated my two kinds of cancer have reason to believe I will recover. But none of us is sure how much time we have. What we have is time to give thanks for the fact that we were given the chance to experience the richness of God's creation. And to give thanks for the people that we share this life with." Click here for “Look for Blessings in Any Adversity,” this week’s essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our regular columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

Talk About Money in Your Church
The title serves as a command, as well as a good topic. Many churches are silent on the topic of money, and that is a mistake. “The primary reason to preach and teach about stewardship is this: our attitude and relationship to money is a key discipleship issue.” Nice reading. Click here for Talk About Money in Your Church, from Building Church L:eaders.

The Heart of a Believer
“As pastors and church leaders, we continually invite people to look deep into their heart, to commit to God with all their being. We urge them to come to church in order to bring their hearts closer to God. And then we hope (expect?) that they will express their love for God with generosity for the church and for the needy people of God.” Click here for “The Heart of a Believer ,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

August 6, 2007
Stewardship Nuggets for Families and Children
Raising children in the faith begins at home, and this handy resource will help you to do just that week after week. Using a scripture as guide, these nuggets suggest family activities and discussion questions that will help children live stewardship. Good stuff! Click here for “Stewardship Nuggets for Families and Children, from the United Methodist Church’s Center for Christian Stewardship.

Prescription for a Life of Joy -
"We make all kinds of bargains with God to get what we want, but God has already given much more than we can ever repay. And God continues to give us good things as if our bank account were not already overdrawn." Click here for “Prescription for a Life of Joy,” an archive essay from The Rev. Dana Reardon, our weekly columnist. Click here to read archived essays.

A Lot of Junk
An auction of the estate of an ordinary working couple provides telling insight into the lives of the people who left behind their worldly possessions. What will it all mean, in the end, the things we collect? “Our modest homes contain hundreds of stewardship lessons,” the writer says. Click here for “A lot of junk,” from The Christian Century.

Planned Generosity
“We have to teach our members to plan ahead for their giving, and train them for giving.  Otherwise, they may give whatever loose change they have on hand. And wouldn't that be a shame for the church, but also for our members. They may never know the joy of sacrificial, planned giving.” Click here for “Planned Generosity ,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

July 30, 2007
FAQs About Tithing
Most churches lift up tithing as an ideal goal for personal giving, but many congregational leaders do not understand the practice. Here’s a great resource for pastors and stewardship committees alike. Click here for “FAQs About Tithing,” from the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

Surrender to the Flow of Generosity
“Maybe God wants me to learn firsthand about the flow of giving and receiving. In the midst of illness, my medical bills are piling up, even with insurance. Someone offered to pay them. I was horrified, even though I had no idea how I would find the money.” Click here for “Surrender to the Flow of Generosity,” this week’s essay by Stewardship columnist The Rev. Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

More Churches Saying ‘Amen’ to Credit Cards
Call it a “win-win” situation. Churches receive regular tithes and offerings by way of their members’ credit cards, and the members receive bonus points. It’s an idea that is catching on, but is it morally suspect? This article explores the phenomenon and its implications. Click here for “More Churches Saying ‘Amen’ to Credit Cards,” from The Seattle Times.

Hungry for the Wrong Stuff, the Wrong Reasons
“A new diet has reacquainted me with an interesting sensation. hood one for someone passionate about stewardship of life. The sensation is hunger. Or, really, I should say, false hunger.” Click here for “Hungry for the Wrong Stuff, Wrong Reasons,” from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our free weekly e-newsletter. Click here to read archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

July 23, 2007
Empty Pockets
“Is your current budget leaving you high and dry? Your cash flow may need a values check.” This article is a good one to refer to the parishioners who are always having trouble making ends meet or contributing to the church even though they make sufficient salaries. Click here for “Empty Pockets,” from Thrivent magazine.

Some Protestant churches feeling ‘Mainline’ again
Tired of reading about the death of the Mainline church? Here’s some good news about a Lutheran congregation that’s growing powerfully. Pastor Gary Erdos credits “orhodox preaching, hospitality and attention to details." He explains: "We hew to the gospel of Jesus. It's the reason we exist, or we'd just be Habitat for Humanity doing good things." Click here for “Some Protestant churches feeling ‘Mainline’ again, from USA Today.

Leader's Insight: The Disappearing Middle
The distribution trend is away from the familiar “bell,” where the middle was the biggest segment and the ends increasingly smaller. Now it’s the “well,” with the middle shrinking and the ends stronger. This has big implications for stewardship, outreach and mission. Click here for “The Disappearing Middle,” from LeadershipJournal.

Biblical Stewardship: 'Portion Control'
It strikes me that in a nation that revels in the "all-you-can-eat" mentality,  we can all use lessons in "portion control" for the benefit of individuals and society alike.” Click here for “Biblical Stewardship: Portion Control,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

July 16, 2007
Loose Change: If This Coin Could Speak:
A Roman coin from the time of Christ led a thoughtful author into a flight of fancy. It’s a nice essay, an inspiring read that may get you thinking about the stewardship of your own life and times. Click here for “Loose Change,” from Christian Century.

Surrender to the Flow of Generosity
“Maybe God wants me to learn firsthand about the flow of giving and receiving. In the midst of illness, my medical bills are piling up, even with insurance. Someone offered to pay them. I was horrified, even though I had no idea how I would find the money.” Click here for “Surrender to the Flow of Generosity,” this week’s essay by Stewardship columnist The Rev. Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

Extinction and Sin
“Species now disappear for other reasons: encroaching human habitat and the toxic consequences of human industry. To put the matter theologically: if the genocide of creatures, witting or unwitting, isn’t sin, what on earth qualifies?” In a fine (and disquieting) essay, renown ethicist Larry Rasmussen explores this aspect of environmental stewardship. Click here for “Extinction and Sin,” from the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

Shut off the Electronics and Live
“Not long ago, people entertained themselves by taking whatever they had on hand and using their intelligence and imaginations to have fun. It required the cooperation of other people in a mutually beneficial arrangement: If you play ball with me, we can both have fun. If you don’t, neither of us has much fun.” Click here for “Shut off the Electronics and Live,” the message from last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our weekly newsletter, from webmaster and editor Rob Blezard. Click here to read past newsletters. Click here to subscribe.

July 9, 2007
Need-Based Planning versus Asset-Based Planning
Most churches plan their futures and formulate their budgets based on perceived needs, and this can stifle innovation and creativity. But there’s an alternative that can help congregations develop a vision and embrace new ministries, says this brilliant article. Click here for “Need-Based Planning versus Asset-Based Planning,” from Alban Institute’s Congregational Resource Center.

The Best Stewardship of Time
“If you ever feel powerless when someone is sick, then you do not know the power of attention and care and prayer. I count any day a blessing on which I get more calls or cards than hosiptal and doctor bills. And I have been incredibly blessed.” Click here for “The Best Stewardship of Time,” from weekly columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

Gospel Riches
The American phenomenon of the “Prosperity Gospel” has found rich soil in some of the poorest nations on earth. Africans are embracing preachers of prosperity at a rate that is alarming many observers. This comprehensive article provides much food for thought. Click here for “Gospel Riches,” from Christianity Today.

What’s your focus?
“How many people in our congregations need to bring God back into their private and public lives? How many don’t realize that managing their lives is what stewardship’s all about?” Click here for What’s Your Focus, from stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker, on ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Stewardship of Our Freedom
“Our freedom from sin and death is a gift, and like all gifts from God we are expected to exercise good stewardship -- wise use. This also applies to our civic freedoms that we remember on July 4.” Click here for “Stewardship of Our Freedom,” last week’s edition of SOLI/Update, our free weekly Newsletter Click here to read archived columns. Click here to subscribe.

July 2, 2007
Diagnostic: Am I Discipling My Givers?
While meeting the financial needs of the church drives most stewardship programs, a higher purpose ought to inspire your ministry: Teaching members how to give as part of their faithful walk with Christ. This online diagnostic will help you determine where you are and where you need to go. Click here for “Am I Discipling My Givers?” From Generous Giving.

Stewardship Bible Study: Seven Scripture Passages
Whether you want to steer your Bible study into the waters of stewardship or just plan a special workshop, this handy guide provides some good direction and helpful ideas. Click here for “Seven Scripture Passages,” from the Presbyterian Church Stewardship Resources.

Faith & Positive Thinking

“God wants us to succeed, for He didn’t create us to fail. When we roll out of bed in the morning we are supposed to see joy in the sunshine and happiness on a rainy day for those that need it. Click here for “Faith & Positive Thinking,” from Tuck Aaker, columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Looking for the Real IT!
“Spiritual emptiness. It's the human race's number one problem - the root cause of war, addiction, crime, oppression, greed, gluttony, selfishness and on and on. But in the United States spiritual emptiness takes on a particularly ironic expression.” Click here for “Looking for the Real IT,”an archive essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

June 25, 2007
Stewardship & Philanthropy: The Christian Strategy for Funding Mission
“While we often talk about stewardship and philanthropy together when we talk about funding mission, they are different concepts,” says Terry Parsons, stewardship officer for the Episcopal Church. Her essay goes on to explain how your congregation can use each to your advantage. Click here for “Stewardship & Philanthropy,” from the Episcopal Church’s Stewardship Resources.

Productive Maintenance
“We are real good about taking care of the family cars and always make it a high priority.  If only we had the same attitude about stewardship. Stewardship in our congregations also needs our attention on a regular basis,” says Tuck Aaker, stewardship columnist for the ELCA, who goes on to tell you how. Click here for “Productive Maintenance,” from ELCA Stewardship.

LCMS Stewardship Emphasis 2007
This is a mother lode of resources for a congregation looking to sharpen its stewardship program this year. It offers four Bible studies, sermon notes and a faith promise that you can download and adapt for your own congregation’s needs. Click here for “Stewardship Emphasis 2007, from Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Stewardship.

Time to Start Wasting Time

Sunday after Sunday, entire families are absent from church. Good, faithful, active families. Problem is, people reach a point where they are so busy that even going to church or attending a congregational social event -- which out to be refreshing -- seems like just another thing on the "to do" list.” Click here for “Time to Start Wasting Time,”a  new essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

June 18, 2007
Developing a Ministry Based Church Budget
How does your congregation go about setting a church budget? Most simply take last year’s budget andadd a little here and there. A ministry-based budget asks congregations to go back to their core mission, their ministry dreams and visions. This resource will help tell you how. Very practical! Click here for “Developing a Ministry Based Church Budget,” from the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

Taking Time for Others is Talent Enough
" Our days are so full, and people seem to be going faster and faster all the time. We begin to think that we are not accomplishing anything unless we are multitasking and doing three things at once. That makes it even harder to have the time to be patient with people." Click here for "Gratitude Never Goes on Vacation ," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

Do Something Really Good for Dad
"Statistics show that men are much more likely to have drug or alcohol problems than women. Men are responsible for the overwhelming majority of the world's crime and violence (which is why male prisoners outnumber women inmates 10 to 1). And finally, the suicide rate for men is three times what is for women " -- all that really matters." Click here for this new essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

Environmental Stewardship a Growing Presence in Churches
“We share a conviction that it is our responsibility to care for the Earth,” said Bill Breakey, chair of the church environmental stewardship committee at Maryland Presbyterian Church in Towson, MD. “It’s a God-given treasure, and we are a part of it.” Hear what other churches are doing to key into the environment. Click here for “Environmental Stewardship,” in Chesapeake Bay Journal.

June 11, 2007
Program: Generational Stewardship
What happens when you have a “Depression-era” person, a Baby Boomer and a Generation Xer talk stewardship? Frequently nothing, since they have widely differing world views. Here’s a stewardship program designed to help bridge those gaps. Click here for “Generational Stewardship,” from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan Stewardship.

Gratitude Doesn't Go on Vacation
"The church is a gathering of people who become the body of Christ, and that body needs support all year long, not just when we can show up." Click here for "Gratitude Never Goes on Vacation ," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

10 Practical Ways to Help Increase a Congregation’s Giving
Here are some terrific ideas your stewardship committee can discuss at its next meeting! All are simple and can be implemented without a lot of hassle. At one point the author plugs his company’s materials, but without spending a dime you can glean some good ideas. Click here for “10 Practical Ways,” from the Christian Stewardship Association.

Stewardship: Dad’s Pencil
With Father’s Day coming this Sunday, this essay is timely as well as inspirational. The author draws big lessons from his dad’s simple household rule. Good for a sermon illustration. Click here for “Dad’s Pencil,” from Christianity Today.

June 4 , 2007
Building a Stewardship Committee
Many churches have the desire and need for a good stewardship committe, but no earthly idea where to start in building one. That's where this resource can help. It covers job from the ground up -- whom to recruit and how, and what to do once you've got them. Click here for "Building a Committee," from The Episcopal Church USA.

Gratitude Doesn't Go on Vacation
"The church is a gathering of people who become the body of Christ, and that body needs support all year long, not just when we can show up." Click here for "Gratitude Never Goes on Vacation ," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

HOT LINK
The Center for Christian Stewardship
The United Methodist Church has put together a wonderful website with all sorts of free goodies to help jump start your stewardship program or to inspire your leaders. You'll find articles, "Sermon Nuggets," links to other sites and resources. Good, meaty stuff. Click here for "The Center for Christian Stewardship," from the Board of General Discipleship of the United Methodist Church.

Can't Have It All? Who Cares?
"In the Gospels, Jesus warned about the dangers of riches to spoil a spiritual life, to distract and lure us away from God. Instead of focusing on treasures on earth, Jesus said to focus on treasures in heaven. Then you won't have to strive to have "it all," you will have "it all" -- all that really matters." Click here for this new essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

Stewardship from the Lectionary
Looking for a way to put more stewardship into your preaching? Here is a great help -- a weekly commentary that highlights stewardship aspects in the weekly lectionary texts. Click here for "Stewardship from the Lectionary," from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

May 28, 2007
10 Stewardship Principles
It's no mean feat to distill the collective wisdom of the Evangelical Lutheran Chuch in America into 10 principles, but here it is! Available in either Powerpoint Presentation or PDF for printing, this handy list will help your members gain insight into discipleship and stewardship. Click here for "10 Stewardship Principles,"and then choose PDF or PowerPoint. From The Central States Synod .

The Power of 'Thank You'
"In the Christmas movie 'It's a Wonderful Life,' the Jimmy Stewart character has no idea how many lives he has touched.  He is not really different from most of us, and perhaps he wouldn't have felt that way if people were better at telling others how they are touched by the things they do." Click here for "The Power of Thank You," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

Preaching Past TiVo'

Here's a brilliant article -- a candid conversation with pastor/theolgians on how to preach Gospel values to a consumer culture. Lots of wisdom. For instance, from John Ortberg: "One of the things we battle at the core is the assumption that the satisfaction of desire is the key to fulfillment in life. And any time people feel they lack something, the more they focus on that desire. It becomes a cycle, a treadmill." Click here for "Preaching Past TiVo," from the LeadershipJournal.net.

A Life Well-Lived, Well-Loved'
"An ordinary man, and yet hundreds of people came to Jay Swisher's viewing. They came because he lived the values of honesty, trust, love, generosity, family, church and community. He earned people's respect, friendship and devotion." Click here for this new essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

Empty Plates, Empty Hearts?
Subtitled, "Practical ways to help your congregation discover the joy of giving," this eye-opening essay helps you understand the reasons why money is such a big problem at many churches today. Click here for "Empty plates, Empty Hearts," from Your Church

May 21, 2007
Two Workshops: Gifts in Action
Here are two workshops on asset-based stewardship -- a great idea! "When we approach stewardship with gratitude, we begin to name and identify what we have to work with and steward—namely, our assets. These may be spiritual or physical assets, things we have always had or things we have received over time." Click here for "Gifts in Action," from United Church of Canada.

You Hear, But How Well Do You Listen?
"We often fail to listen. Too often we hear about two words and then we start formulating our response, and so we really do not hear what is said because we are so caught up in what we want to say." Click here for "Enlarge Your Circle of Giving," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

When the Economy Sours: Facing Financial Adversity'
It's easy talk stewardship with your community is growing, property values are rising, well-to-do people are moving in and things are flush. But what happens when the economy tanks? Here is an essay that provides some insights into what's happening and how to handle it. Click here for "When the Economy Sours," from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary
Here is a weekly feature that explores the stewardship implications for the assigned lectionary readings. Click here for “Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.


May 14, 2007
Building a Budget that Reflects God's Agenda

Why does your church have a budget in the first place? If it's not to implement God's mission for your church, you've got some work to do. Here's a resource that can help. It's a thoughtful paper loaded with great ideas. Click here for "Building a budget that Reflects God's Agenda," from Generous Giving.

Enlarge Your Circle of Caring
"I think of the words of Jesus when he reminded us that everyone loves those in their family -- even the gentiles do that.  If we are called to love even our enemies then certainly we are called to love every mother's child." Click here for "Enlarge Your Circle of Giving," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Dana Reardon. Click here to read archived columns.

Sermon: 'Stewardship of Money as Stewardship of Hope'
"Look at what God has given us – life, family, friends, a roof over our heads, food for our bellies. Look what God has given us – the good news of Jesus Christ promising us life in abundance, calling us out in hope." A nice sermon, challenging people of abundance, from Sharon Watkins, General Minister and Presidentn of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Click here for "Stewardship of Money as Stewardship of Hope," from the Disciples Home Missions.

HOT LINK!
Church of England Parish Resources for Stewardship
Our friends across the pond have collected a wide assortment of materials perfect for congregational stewardship leaders. Look for sermon starters, lessons for youth and inspirational essays. Click here for “Parish Resources for Stewardship," from The Church of England.

May 7, 2007
Orthodox Stewardship: Responding to God's Gifts
Here are some lesson plans to guide you in teaching stewardship to children and young adults -- but everybody can learn something from these Bible-based guides. They are geared for an Orthodox audience but the concepts are easily adapted. Click here for "Orthodox Stewardship: Responding to God's Gifts," from the Orthodox Church in America's Department of Christian Education.

Growth is Not an Option'
"Are you one of the congregations that wonder how you can inject new life and a new spirit?  Are you facing major roadblocks in growth because a lack of new members?.There is only one way to turn that situation around," says this essay. Click here for "Growth is Not an Option," from Tuck Aaker, stewardship columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Pastor, You Can Increase the Giving in Your Church
Many ordained ministers avoid stepping into the arena of money and stewardship, but that's a mistake because a pastor is in the best position to lead the church in responsible, faithful stewardship. This article suggests looking at three areas of your ministry. Click here for "Pastor, You Can Increase the Giving in Your Church," from Congregational Resource Center of the Alban Institute.

Discovering the Manna Principle
"Evangelism—sharing gospel good news—happens when God's unconditional love is preached in every worship service and is lived in every aspect of congregational life. Stewardship sermons cannot be guilt-inducing sermons, but ones that invite people to receive God's love and participate in sharing that love with others." It's an essay and an accompanying Bible study of the "Manna Principle." Click here for “Discovering the Manna Principle,” from the The United Church of Canada.

April 30, 2007
Shrinking the Footprint
Here's one of those gems of resources -- visionary, theological, practical -- all in one. It's the Church of England's initiative to cut down on energy and material consumption, that is to "shrink the footprint," of churches and communities.A few items apply only to Anglican churches, but there are tons of things to sink your teeth into. Go from thinking about doing something to devising an action plan to implementing a program. This website will help lead you. Click here for "Shrinking the Footprint, from The Church of England.

You Can't Tell a Giver by her 'Cover'
"Imagine those grade-school homework assignments where we have to draw a line to match one set of items with another. In this case, imagine the givers on one side and their gifts on the other. Could you match gifts and giver correctly?"." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Brethren Witness: Our Environment
The folks at the Washington office of the Church of the Brethren have assembled a nice assortment of essays and other resources to help educate Christians about environmental stewardship. Click here for Brethren Witness: Our Environment, from Church of the Brethren. Peruse the page as you wish, but here are a couple of my favorites:
Our Fair Share Series talks about excessive consumerism.
Be(a/t)les Guide to Saving God's Good Earth is a creative look at problems using the titles of Beatle's songs.  

The Church's Call to Environmental Stewardship
"The biblical call to stewardship will lead us to foster quality of life. The quality of life that is measured only by material goods and economic factors is incomplete. Total quality of life must include the health and stability of the natural world, relative justice and peace for people, and the free and true worship of God Almighty. It is on this basis, on this biblical vision, that Christians are motivated to respond to ecological crises." Click here for “Three Layers of Environmental Preaching,” from the Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship Archives.

April 23, 2007
Earth Day 2007 Message from Bishop Hanson

Adding to the voices urging environmental responsibility was ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson: "On Earth Day, April 22, I urge you also to remember God's exhortation to us to till and keep the earth (Genesis 2:15) in the face of a growing body of evidence from scientists around the world that global warming is threatening the future of creation and the health and well-being of all living things." Click here for Bishop Hanson's Earth Day Message, from the ELCA website.

A Christian Walk is More Than Happiness
"When we think that being Christian is simply about behaving ourselves and not doing anything terrible or mean, then we might think we could pursue happiness as long as we don't hurt anyone. Then we have missed the point." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Three layers of Environmental Preaching
Pastors who may be reluctant to preach on environmental issues can take inspiration from this informative essay, which broadens the conventional notion that environmental preaching always means addressing controversial political issues. Good reading for pastors who want to lead their congregations in new directions. Click here for “Three Layers of Environmental Preaching,” from Eco-Justice Ministries.

Season of Creation: An Invitation to Worship
Here's a novel idea to invigorate the environmental presence of your congregation -- adopt a "Season of Creation" into your church calendar. You will find good suggestions and resources for how to devote a number of weeks to the environment. Click here for "Season of Creation: An Invitation to Worship, from Web of Creation.

April 16, 2007
ELCA Environmental Audit Guide

Since your church IS going to do something to highlight creation this month, you’re bound to have a core of folks at the church who will ask, “Gee, what can we do?” That’s when you give them this free, comprehensive resource that will guide them through the steps of looking at your church (or school or institution) and its environmental impact – everything from energy to chemical usage to recyclable materials – and them forming an action plan for doing better. Good stuff! Click here for ELCA Environmental Audit Guide, from the ELCA Environmental Education and Advocacy program.

Which Kingdom: God's, or Yours and Mine?
"We cannot separate living in this world from living in the kingdom of God.  As long as we live here we are called to be workers in the kingdom, even if it means sometimes deconstructing our own life to rebuild it in the image of Christ's." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Mandates for Going Green
Another comprehensive, responsible look at how and why Christians should lead the way when it comes to environmental stewardship. Check it out for inspiration and practical advice on how your congregation can get ahead of the curve on the issue. Click here for “Mandates for Going Green,” from United Methodist Church Global Mission

Simple Living Helps Us and the Environment
"Simple living has the benefit, as Cardinal O'Brien of Scotland noted in his Easter message, of reducing wear-and-tear on our exhausted planet and freeing more resources for our brothers and sisters in need. So simple living is not only in our self-interest." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

GreenFaith - Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth
Here is a one-stop-shopping site for all a Christian environmental education needs. GreenFaith is a New Jersey interfaith coalition dedicated to environmental issues. You can dig into all sorts of issues -- from water conservation to diesel fuel emissions. It's well organized and easy to navigate. Bookmark this one! Click here GreenFaith.

Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary
Here is a weekly feature that explores the stewardship implications for the assigned lectionary readings. Click here for “Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

April 9, 2007
Environmental Reflections: Lectionary Year C

OK, pastor. You want to put issues of environmental stewardship into your weekly sermons, but HOW, when you are committed to using following the lectionary week after week? This resource gives you a week-by-week commentary on the lections for the appointed weeks of the Revised Common Lectionary. Click here for Environmental Reflections, from the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota.  (For Episcopalians and others who use the Standard Common Lectionary, click here.)

Which Kingdom: God's, or Yours and Mine?
"We cannot separate living in this world from living in the kingdom of God.  As long as we live here we are called to be workers in the kingdom, even if it means sometimes deconstructing our own life to rebuild it in the image of Christ's." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

God Made Man the Steward of Creation
In this address from 2001, Pope John Paul II outlines the divine responsibility human beings have to care for and make wise use of natural resources and the environment. At the same time, the Pope acknowledges how human beings have failed – and are failing – in their responsibility. Click here for “God Made Man the Steward of Creation.” Posted on the website of Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee.

Cardinal Calls for Living Simply for Good of the Planet
Devoting his Easter Sermon to issues of the environment, Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Edinburgh, Scotland, said that Scots (like all Western Europeans and North Americans) consume much more of the earth’s resources than is sustainable or fair. He called on Christians to practice simple living as a way to begin to heal the earth and provide a livelihood for all. Click here for the Cardinal’s address, posted by Independent Catholic News, out of the Untied Kingdom.

Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary
Here is a weekly feature that explores the stewardship implications for the assigned lectionary readings. Click here for “Stewardship at the Heart of the Lectionary,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

April 2, 2007
Awakening to God's Call to Earthkeeping
Wow! Here's a free 50-page course on how faithful Christians can understand and answer God's call to take care of creation. Its four sessions are extremely detailed and designed for small-group study. Use it to establish and energize a "green team" at your congregation. Click here for “Loaves and Fishes,” from the ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Put Your Tax Refund to God's Use
"Sure, you could save your refund for a rainy day, but somewhere in the world someone is already having a rainy day.  Lutheran disaster relief is still at work in Louisiana to cleanup after Hurricane Katrina.'Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Earth Day Sunday: The Food that Sustains Us
The National Council of Churches has a number of free resources your church can use to make Earth Day Sunday, April 22, a real celebration of creation -- with a justice twist. You'll find a sermon starter, backgrounder, bulletin inserts, worship helps, an advocacy action plan and more. Click here for “The Food That Sustains Us," from the National Council of Churches USA. Registration required.

Paul's Brilliant Stewardship Appeal
"St. Paul was a genius who possessed multiple gifts. An enthusiastic evangelist, he was also a brilliant thinker, a great writer and -- surprise surprise -- a superb motivator. All these things are apparent in the 9th Chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

'Thine and Thine Own': Orthodoxy and Ecology
Here is a fresh look at the environmental crisis: "Increasing numbers of people conclude that the way out of the crisis requires spiritual renewal: not just a change of habits, but a change of hearts - in Christian terms, repentance. Tragically, the environmental implications of our Christian Faith are so little understood, even among Christians, that the Church is the last place most people look for spiritual solutions." Click here for “Thine and Thine Own," from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

March 26, 2007
Stewardship Development: Loaves and Fishes
This article explains why an "asset based" approach to stewardship is worth a try in congregations where the glass always seems to be half empty. "Jesus shows us that stewardship begins with what we have been given as gifts from God. In those gifts are clues to what God is calling us to do with them." Click here for “Loaves and Fishes,” from the United Church of Canada.

Generosity trumps the austerity impulse
"I was heartened to read the gospels from the last two Sundays.  One about God's extravagance as Jesus tells us the story about the prodigal son and his father's lavish party, and one about Jesus' blessing Mary's extravagance in anointing His feet." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

10 questions for Dick Towner of Willow Creek
Willow Creek has inspired many churches with its winning strategy for ministry and development. The megachurch outside of Chicago has attracted thousands of members and dozens of ministries. In this interview, Willow Creek's stewardship guy discusses their approach. Click here for “10 questions," from the Christian Stewardship Association.

In search of excellence
Manufacturers use "quality control" models to make sure their products continue to inspire repeat customers. churches can learn from this: "Your congregation has to have almost the identical qualities in order for people to walk out of the service and say, ' I’m glad we came to this church today.' " Click here for this essay by Tuck Aaker, stewardship columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Five steps to personal budget plans: A faith & money approach
How can a church teach people to practice good stewardship of their financial resources when their personal budget is totally out of control? Here is a practical resource that aims to help people get their financial houses in order as an important step on the way to a personal budget plan.

March 19, 2007
Fire up the Spirit: Studies in Stewardship and Church Vitality

Here’s one of those resources you can really sink your teeth into. In its 31 pages, “Fire up the Spirit” lays out a daring stewardship theology and then provides a number of Bible studies to explore issues of stewardship and church life. Click here for “Fire up the Spirit.” Good stuff from the New England Conference, United Methodist Church.

Called to be Christ in the World
"Instead of 'What would Jesus do,' my question for you is, 'Who Would Jesus Be in This World? 'It is so much more far reaching.  It not only determines the answer to the what to do questions, it often puts you into entirely different circumstances where different questions need to be answered."Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Stewardship for Sundays

Every pastor knows the difficulty of incorporating stewardship themes all year-round. Following the three-year cycle of the common lectionary, this resource can help tie stewardship into your worship life. Click here for “Stewardship for Sundays, from the Church of England’s Parish Resources for Stewardship.

Adopt a 'Daylight Savings' Attitude
"Daylight Savings Time reminds us that we can -- and should -- make adjustments in our thinking to accommodate living more fully. The old adage goes, "make hay while the sun shines." Maybe we can say live fully while your sun shines." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

‘I Can Give, Too!’

When congregations educate their members about stewardship they often overlook an important group – their youngest members. Here is a resource designed get children thinking about their response – and responsibility – to God’s abundance. Click here for “I Can Give, Too!” from the United Church of Canada.

March 12
Dangerous Blessings
A theology of God's abundance and our hunger for more.
“The Bible tells us that money is both wonderful and deadly. It is one way God blesses people, and, perhaps more surprising, it can actually enhance our relationship with God. However, equating prosperity with godliness is a scriptural no-no.”  Click here for “Dangerous Blessings,” from Leadership Journal.

Called to be Christ in the World
"Instead of 'What would Jesus do,' my question for you is, 'Who Would Jesus Be in This World? 'It is so much more far reaching.  It not only determines the answer to the what to do questions, it often puts you into entirely different circumstances where different questions need to be answered." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Giving and Christian Stewardship
“A program of re-education needs to be undertaken with regard to Christian Stewardship. Too many still regard it as a means of extricating a parish from its financial problems, as a ‘crash diet’ for a week or two, and not as a way of life in response to God, a steady program of growth in Christian discipleship.” Click here for “Giving and Christian Stewardship,” from The Church of England.

The Cost of Doing Business

When it comes to evaluating your church’s finances, you can learn a lot from a business approach, says stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker. “How much does it cost to operate your church? We aren’t talking about expenses that you may choose to do as ministries but just the ‘bare bones’ of staff salaries, rent or mortgage payments, insurance, utilities and any other required expenses.” Click here for “The Cost of Doing Business,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

March 5
How To Create a Culture of Stewardship in Your Church
An effective capital stewardship campaign can be your new muscle for ministry, and the process will create a discipline to trust God not merely in theory, but in the reality of serving God over money. Click here for “How To Create a Culture of Stewardship,” from Church Executive.

Giving is Often a Measure of Trust
"We don't really need a large scale study to tell us this, although some have been done. We have only to look at those who are withholding their giving from churches over certain social issues, such as like gay bishops or who can marry whom." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

15 Ways to Increase Your Church’s Offerings
Here’s a handy resource that you can forward to all the members of your stewardship committee – in fact, all the lay leaders of your congregation. It provides a kind of checklist for improving stewardship. Click here for “15 Ways,” from the General Conference of Canadian Evangelical Christian Churches.

The stewardship crisis facing churches
It’s strange that biblical stewardship seems to be such a silent subject in today’s churches and seminaries. Because stewardship really is the heart of what it means to submit one’s life to God. Click here for “The Stewardship Crisis,” from Church Central.

February 26
Who Spends the Church’s Money?
For many churches, the primary task of stewardship is to spend wisely. But how can a church balance the need for careful oversight with flexibility to respond quickly to the changing needs of ministry? This article discusses approaches to handling the budget to achieve both. Click here for “Who Spends the Church's Money?” from Christianity Today.

Exercise Those Generosity Muscles
"Find a cause that you care deeply about and them put your money there instead of spreading it among so many different causes that it gets split only small enough to cover some postage for the next request." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

How to Build a 12-Month Church Stewardship Calendar
Detail and timing go into a good stewardship plan, and that’s why this handy resource is so helpful. This breaks the task into many parts over the course of a calendar year and gives you a guide for staying on track. Click here for “How to build a 12-Month Church Stewardship Calendar,” from the Christian Stewardship Association.

Eco-Palms: For Justice and Environmental Stewardship
Why not consider making your congregation’s celebration of Palm Sunday, April 1, a teaching opportunity on social justice and environmental stewardship? You can buy palm fronds harvested in a sustainable manner and sold to give the farmers a fair share of the proceeds. This link will show you how. Click here for “Eco Palms,” from Lutheran World Relief.

February 19
Simple Stewardship Strategy for Your Church
Here is a commonsense truth some churches forget: Your chances of meeting stewardship goals increase dramatically when you have a strategy. Here is a resource that can help your church develop a strategy to fit your own needs. This is not a program but a comprehensive guide to get your church going. Click here for “Simple Stewardship Strategy,” from Generous Giving.

Everyday Lessons in Stewardship
"Babies baptized in an emergency always make me think of stewardship of time. It reminds me to call my children and to hold them dear. It reminds me, since I was one of those babies baptized in the hospital, that all of the time that I have here on earth is a gift from God. " Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Frequently asked questions about stewardship
Pastors and stewardship leaders will want to bookmark this page, which gives authoritative, faithful answers to just about any stewardship question you can imagine. Really. Click here for “Frequently Asked Questions,” from the Center on Christian Stewardship from the United Methodist Church.

Avoid Budget Snares
With so many interests pushing and pulling on the church budget, it’s hard to craft a budget that pleases everybody. But the job is a lot easier if you can avoid the four common budget traps outlined in this useful, free handout. Click here for “Avoid Budget Snares.” From Building Church Leaders

February 12
God's Mission in the World
Here's a great resource for a congregation to explore one of the world's most chronic stewardship issues -- global poverty. Produced jointly by the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, this resource looks at the goals of the "One campaign" through six study sessions. Available for free pdf download or for purchase. Click here for “God's Mission in the World,” and then look for links to download the PDF or to order for purchase. Check out the other free resourcsion." Inquire about other uses.es on the page as well. From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and The Episcopal Church.

Timely gifts
"We are daily blessed with so many things and yet there are times that we feel especially like God has been smiling on us. It is always a blessing when we are able in a concrete way like thins to be part of God's blessings." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

No Gift Too Small
Do you or your fellow church members sometimes think you have nothing to contribute to congregational life? It may be you are focusing on what you do NOT have to offer, rather than what you DO have. Here's an essay that may help you to shift thinking. Click here for “No Gift Too Small,” from Building Church Leaders.

Are You a Good Steward of your Health?
"Can you honestly say,' Here am I, Lord, send me?' Think a minute before you answer. Maybe you can say, 'Yes, I’m spiritually ready,' but what about physically?" Good questions worth asking whether you are clergy or lay. Click here for “Are You a Good Steward of Your Health?," posted on Pastors. com.

February 5
Embarking on a capital campaign
For the uninitiated church, undertaking a capital campaign can seem as intimidating as swimming the English Channel. But here is a resource that can help churches take the plunge – a list of six important steps to keep in mind. Click here for “Embarking on a capital campaign,” from the Congregational Resource Guide hosted by The Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations.

Teach children stewardship by example
"Older people remember the days when they saw their grandparents paying bills. The grandfather would bring home a pay envelope, and then he and grandmother would sit together and divide it up into other envelopes with labels on them for where money was owed.  First would come the envelope for church." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Proven methods to improve faith-based giving
“It is one of the great paradoxes of our generation that in our day of affluence, most churches are struggling to raise sufficient resources to fund their ministry …The truth is that all churches possess very significant untapped potential.” This article presents 12 ways to help tap that potential. Click here for “Proven methods,” from Canadian Fundraiser.

Parish Stewardship Manual
Here is a comprehensive resource chock full of stewardship research, ideas and inspiration. Guaranteed you’ll find something useful here. It’s the 140-page manual issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California. Click here for “Parish Stewardship Manual,” from the Diocese of San Jose.

January 29
Faithful Living: A Biblical Ethic of Financial Stewardship
"Financial stewardship is not only a matter of faithful giving but of faithful living. In response to the gospel, we submit our lives to the rule of God, to the lordship of Christ, and to the direction of the Holy Spirit," begins Mark Allen Powell in this extremely interesting essay. Click here for “Faithful Living.” From The Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

Stewards of God's Love
"Our time and our possessions may be finite and we might have to count them out to make sure that they are used rightly. But the Love of God is infinite and the more it is shared the stronger our knowledge of it becomes." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Sermon Starter: The Offering
In this fine essay, pastor Anne Robinson explores the history and meaning of "the offering" in liturgy. "During our worship service we put the offering after the sermon to try to show that our offering of money is a response to the Word of God. It is a response to the Good News proclaimed to us." Click here for “The Offering,” from the United Methodist Church Center for Christian Stewardship.

Enough Already! Resisting Consumer Mania
Are Americans once again ready to embrace simple living? Get out your John Denver records and check out this review of three new books about overconsumption and scaling back. Click here for “Enough Already,” from the "The Christian Century."

January 22
Developing a ministry-based church budget
If your church is like most, you form a budget by figuring how much ministry you can pay with the dollars you are expected to receive.Instead, try looking at the ministry you would like to provide and then calculating the budget to pay for it. Sounds exciting? Here’s a resource that will show you EXACTLY how to do it. Click here for “Developing a ministry-based church budget.” From the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

Faithful giving means trusting God to provide
"So many of us who know how much we are going to be earning cannot seem even to offer to our church an estimate of giving so that the church can have some idea of what they have to work with in planning a budget for the year." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Making sense of church finances
With multiple sources of revenue and numerous types of funds to juggle, church finances are more complicated than ever. That’s why it’s wise that church accountants and treasurers adopt commercial accounting procedures, as well as computer software,  to help keep everything straight. Here’s an article that will help you get started.  Click here for “Making sense of church finances,” from Your Church magazine.

Stewardship
Don’t let the generic the generic title fool you – here’s an essay filled with lots of wisdom for any pastor or lay leader struggling with how to finance a dynamic ministry and at the same time teach the congregation to grow beyond the budget. Click here for “Stewardship,” from the Ministers Council, an association of leaders in the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

January 15
The ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ of Martin Luther King Jr.
Having won the battle for legislation guaranteeing basic civil rights for all, in 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. was working on the “second step” of the human rights struggle – for economic justice. The “Poor People’s Campaign” intended to bring thousands of impoverished people to Washington to live and lobby politicians. King’s murder on April 4, 1968 left the campaign without its main leader, and eventually the campaign fizzled.
On this day, which would have been King’s 78th birthday, we will remember the Poor People’s Campaign and urge thoughtful people of all faiths to contemplate its implications for stewardships and economics, especially in a time when the gap between rich and poor has been growing. 
Here is a quote from King’s Press Conference, Dec. 4, 1967, announcing the “Poor People’s Campaign”:
“America is at a crossroads of history and it is critically important for us as a nation and a society to choose a new path and move upon it with resolution and courage. It is impossible to underestimate the crisis we face in America. The stability of a civilization, the potential of free government, and the simple honor of men are at stake. … In a sense, we are already at war with and among ourselves. Affluent Americans are locked in the suburbs of physical comfort and mental insecurity. Poor Americans are locked inside ghettos of material privation and spiritual debilitation. And all of us can almost feel the presence of a kind of social insanity which could lead to national ruin.”
Click here to read a transcript of King’s announcement.
Click here to read King’s sermon, ”Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” delivered March 31, 1968, just three days before his death.
Click here to find lots of other free online essays, sermons and interviews at the King Papers Project at Stanford University.

Plunge Into Austerity -- for Six Months, Anyway
Repairs to her new home are compelling our columnist to experiment with austerity budgeting. "Every time I spend money on anything, I will consider it a want or a need.  Maybe it is time to use the public library again instead of buying books for leisure reading." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Dangerous Blessings:
A theology of God's abundance and our hunger for more.
The Bible tells us that money is both wonderful and deadly. It is one way God blesses people, and, perhaps more surprising, it can actually enhance our relationship with God. However, equating prosperity with godliness is a scriptural no-no. Click here for “Dangerous Blessings,” from Leadership Journal.

Offering our Prayers, Presence, Gifts, and Service
“To be a steward is to exercise good care over what you have been entrusted with.  The word can refer to caring for possessions or for people, as in the word stewardess.  In the church, Stewardship has many dimensions. In the church, Stewardship has many dimensions.”  Click here for “offering our Prayers,” from Suncreek United Methodist Church, Allen, Texas.

Elements of a Successful Stewardship Campaign
People have choices as to where and how they invest both their money and time. The vision set forth by an organization is critical in engaging people in the capital stewardship process. Click here for “Elements of a Successful Stewardship Campaign, from Worship Facilities magazine.

January 8
Neither Poverty nor Riches
“Our hungers must be carefully tended to, not just so that we can satisfy them, but for a more important reason: so that we can guard them from what is bad and guide them toward what is good,” says this insightful essay that finds biblical basis for the “middle way” between riches and poverty. Click Here for “Neither Poverty nor Riches,” from Generous Giving.

Let's have Christmas generosity year-round
"Throughout the year and throughout the ages God has not stopped giving generously to us.  When we are immersed in that knowledge day after day we learn how to give because it becomes a part of the air that we breathe." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Building Green for Better Ministry
 “There are numerous possibilities using green, or sustainable, construction that can make a real impact on your ministry. Planning ahead will save you from battling your building for years to come” Click here for Building Green for Better Ministry, from Church Business A-Z.

Automatic Tithing Machines?
Is this the next step in electronic giving? Some churches are installing in their buildings modified ATMs that enable members with check- or debit cards to contribute. Read reports from these sources: Voice of America, Bankrate.com, Associated Press

Are You Committing Institutional Suicide?
The strongly worded title of this essay conveys the urgency its authors feel about congregations who are not asking their older members for legacy gifts. In the coming decades, trillions of dollars in money, assets and real estate will be transferred from one generation to another. Click here for “Are You Committing Institutional Suicide,” from The Stewardship Connection, the website of consultant Eugene Grimm.

January 1
Some simple secrets behind successes in fundraising
Learn from some of the stories of financial success from the Anglican Church of Canada. Their tips may just help your church turn the corner. Click here for “Some simple secrets behind successes in fundraising, from the Anglican Journal, the magazine of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Missional’ focus must include cooperative funding
Southern Baptist leaders recognize that a church’s stewardship begins with individual members giving at least a tithe of their income, but the average church member in America gives just 2.6 percent of income to his church. Click here for “‘Missional’ focus must include cooperative funding,” from Baptist Press, the communication arm of the Southern Baptist Church.

Jonathan Edwards: 70 Effective Resolutions
Church leaders who make resolutions for the New Year are in good company. Jonathan Edwards, the leading theologian of the First Great Awakening, conducted his life and ministry by 70 resolutions. Click here for “70 Effective Resolutions,” from Leadership Journal.

Make a resolution for 'God-improvement'
"The problem with New Year's resolutions is that they often end up in the back of the closet soon after the Christmas presents you didn't need and don't know what to do with.  We break them and discard them. But there is a better Christian model" Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.