June 15-21, 2009



The Other Giving

By Tuck Aaker

The old standard definition of stewardship is the giving of one’s money, time and talents. Most every congregation does something in the way of a way of a program to encourage giving gifts of money to support the ministry. That part of the giving trio is the one that’s the most important in most congregations. Leaders seem to think, “If the money’s coming in we won’t worry about the other two.” But is that a correct assumption? How important is the giving of time and talents to the congregation … and to the giving of money as well?

The answer is, plenty! Most people disregard the time and talent part of the giving equation because of our tremendous preoccupation with increasing our financial base. The fact is, one of the greatest motivators in any congregation to increase a person’s financial gifts comes from an increase in their involvement in some activity other than coming to services on Sunday. The more active a person becomes, the more they realize that they are in fact “working for God”, and are inspired to show their appreciation for their lives with larger gifts of money.

Most congregations have a problem of timing. They try to add the time and talent program as part of the appeal for operating funds and wind up losing focus on both! People need to focus on one thing at a time. Most people can’t multi-task in an appeal. They are asked to think and pray about increasing their gifts for the next year, and then as a sidebar look at the time and talent sheets and make another commitment. Somewhere you are going to lose them. They are likely to “blow off” some or all of those three commitments as they get frustrated, Being asked to make a pledge simultaneously for money, time and talent, they may say forget it!

Don’t get caught up in this plan to make things easier by taking care of all the business at one time. You will either lose in your fund appeal or with the time and talent program. You need to separate these two and make these two appeals as two cornerstones of your year round stewardship plan.

If you do your Appeal for Funding the Ministry in the Fall or Winter, then do your Time and Talent program in the Spring. Give it a special name like Involvement Sunday. That separates them and gives each a special time and special focus.

When you are asked to give your time or your talents and you accept, you are no longer an outsider or a newcomer. You feel like you really belong. It’s this feeling of being needed and being a part of the whole thing that is so important to your congregation.

And that’s just good stewardship!

Tuck Aaker is a retired businessman who now consults and specializes on stewardship issues for the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the ELCA. He shares his expertise in Stewardship Now, a column he writes for ELCA Stewardship Resources.

New This Week:

David S. BellTithing: A Benchmark for Giving
Although many churches hold out the ideal of tithing, on average Christians give less than 2.5 percent of their income to the church. Yet there are lots of excellent reasons why churches should still lift up tithing as a benchmark for giving. Click here for “Tithing: A Benchmark for Giving,” from stewardship consultant David S. Bell.

Quaker Earthcare WitnessPublication: BeFriending Creation
Here is a totally amazing publication, filled with articles that cover the spectrum of environmental stewardship. Whether you want to find ways to incorporate radical simple living into your life or looking for reviews of “must read” books on eco-justice, you’ll find it in the archives of this publication. Click here for “BeFriending Creation,” from Quaker Earthcare Witness.

Sharron LucasLectionary Reflection: The Case for a Slight Vocabulary Adjustment
“Perhaps the words ‘boredom’ and ‘fear’ both need to be stricken from the Christian’s vocabulary. We have no time to be caught up in fear about declining attendance numbers, stretched budgets, denominational differences, and other quibbles.” Click here for “The Case for a Slight Vocabulary Adjustment.” It’s this week’s lectionary reflection from Pastor Sharron Reissinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Lutheran Church - Missouri SynodWhat About Christian Stewardship?
This concise, Bible-based resource gives the broad view of stewardship -- going all the way back to Adam and Eve. Good perspective that is helpful in teaching and leading Christians for the 21st century. Click here for “What about Christian Stewardship,” from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.