January 23 - 29, 2006
Give your congregation the 'Malachi challenge'
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be
food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if
I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an
What would your congregation do if all member families tithed
their income? Or, rather, what wouldn't your congregation do?
A close friend whose husband is a highly successful entrepreneur said they
were persuaded to tithe after their pastor gave them the "Malachi challenge."
Preaching one week on Malachi 3:10, the pastor simply dared the 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
My friends family did just that and saw many blessings in 30 days. Not in
financial terms, where there really was no need, but in lots of little things
that added up. For instance, the husband felt blessed that the schoolboy
soccer team he had coached for years became the state champions. The
experience persuaded the family to tithe all the time.
To the world's way of reckoning that often does not look further than a
balance sheet, the Malachi challenge seems counterintuitive. But then, much
does in the Kingdom of God, where the first are last and the last are first,
and where the greatest is servant to all. But this year, as your church puts
its financial and stewardship strategy into place, do your congregation a
favor and give them the Malachi challenge.
P.S.: Be sure to read Dana Reardon's column this week for another story of
putting a financial challenge before the congregation.
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
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New This Week:
Will Our Children Be Stewards?
"If we are not
careful, we will soon have a generation of gospel consumers who have not been
formed to contribute something of their own substance to the proclamation of
that gospel to the world," proclaims a compelling resource about teaching
stewardship to children. The author goes on to suggest ways congregations can
do just that.
Click here for a "Will Our Children Be
The Episcopal Church -- Stewardship.
Expect a 'Miracle Sunday'
"To erase our congregation's $26,000 deficit, we
need hope and faith in each other. We start to think, 'I really could afford
to give another $500 a year, or maybe a $1,000, but if I give more and no one
else does then there will still be a $25,000 deficit and I might as well have
bought a new couch with the money.' "
Click here for this week's column from
pastor Dana Reardon.
Click here to read other columns.
Enough is enough
the fundamental human condition continues to be anxiety, fueled by a market
ideology that keeps pounding on us to take more, to not think about our
neighbor, to be fearful, shortsighted, grudging." A searing critique by the
late, great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, who also suggests ways people of
faith can cope.
Click here for "Enough is enough," from
the archives of
The Other Side magazine.
the connection between faith and money
from the pulpit, money may be the most taboo subject in America, and yet the
pastor who refuses to talk about money misses a great opportunity to teach the
congregation the real meaning of stewardship." A very inspiring, thoughtful
essay from the Rev. William O. Avery.
Click here for "Avoiding the connection,"
Lutheran Laity Movement Archives. This week's
Treasure Chest offering.