March 26 - April 1, 2007
archive.stewardshipoflife.org Paul's brilliant stewardship appeal
Here is an archive column from last year. Enjoy!
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. The chapter could stand alone as a stewardship appeal letter, and it ought to be studied by every congregational finance and stewardship committee.
1 Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them.
When I told everybody that you are not the cheapskates you are reputed to be, they all started digging deep.
3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be;
In God we trust; for all others we send the brothers out to collect the dough.
4 otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—in this undertaking.
Everybody would know that I exaggerated your giving to get them to cough up more, and that you are really cheapskates after all.
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.
We don't like the "E" word. Think of it as a voluntary gift that preserves your reputation.
6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
What's in it for you? Plenty. Trust us!
7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
So as I reach for your wallet, let's see those pearly whites.
8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.<
God will sign the IOU.
11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.
We'll put in a good word for you with the Big Guy in the Sky.
13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others,
See? It's a test. Cheapskates flunk!
14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
So write the check already. The boys will be there soon.
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
(Want to reprint this message? Rights granted for congregational non-profit use. Just include this note: Copyright (c) 2006 The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org.)
New This Week:
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