Gearing Up for Financial Stewardship
Many families in North America live in the shadow of financial difficulty. Others live lifestyles that invite financial problems. And still others manage their lawns better than their budgets.
Your congregation can become a kind of a "financial outfitter” by marshaling already-existing capabilities for financial stewardship that are easily available. You can help members face honestly these realities of contemporary culture, to equip them to be stewards of God’s riches in a joyful spirit, to act on God’s call for financial wisdom and generosity.
Your congregation can become a kind of a "financial outfitter” by marshaling already-existing capabilities for financial stewardship that are easily available.
You might try programs and activities such as the following:
- Cross-generational mentoring
Put together older and younger members who are wise about financial realities with those who could benefit from that wisdom. Start with dinner and personal stories and pair up into mentoring relationships.
- Lifestyle tips in newsletters
Ask some avid readers to clip articles and ideas about money management or lifestyle simplicity, and publish them — with appropriate credit — in a column in your newsletter. Call it “The Abundant Life.”
- Find the hidden experts
A host of money management experts is most likely easily- available to your congregation. They might include representatives of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, financial planners or counselors, county agents, nutritionists, instructors in lifestyle fundamentals, bankers, accountants, attorneys, fundraisers or social workers. Ask these “experts” how they might enjoy helping congregation members be wise stewards of the money God provides them.
- Starting open and honest conversations
Because conversation among friends is powerfully persuasive, think of some simple ways to get “talking about our financial selves” into the conversational patterns of congregational life. You might start meetings with participants’ observations about their place in or feelings about the general or local economy.
- Try dialogue sermons
Try dialogue sermons — when the texts suggest it — that model “money conversations.” Start a conversational column in your newsletter called “Money Matters,” interviewing different members each issue. Provide a simple resource for small groups to use in beginning personal sharing and praying about money and financial matters.
Remember that God is capable of equipping you for wise financial stewardship. That’s a gift from the Holy Spirit you can count on!
This article was published in Seeds for the Parish
, a bimonthly resource paper for leaders of ELCA congregations.