Children are one of God's greatest gifts. We strive to raise them to be compassionate, appreciative, and kindhearted. As a church we promise to love and nurture them in Christ. One of our responsibilities as communities of faith is to teach our children how to recognize God's abundant gifts of grace, to be grateful for what they have been given, and to be generous. Here are a few ideas to help as we develop the next generation of stewards.
1. Help children see that God has given them many blessings. (This also teaches good self-esteem.)
We recommend to pastors and church leaders that you take the time to "step out" your congregational giving this year. Using a chart like the one in the photo (from Herb Miller's Grow1 Stewardship Program), you can easily see how people are supporting the church as well as challenge members to consider moving up a step. Many congregations share the concern that only a few members are generating most of the church's gifts; at a recent conference we heard from a pastor whose church has 10% of the members giving 45% of its budget.
What is your earliest memory of giving and of receiving? Mine involves my grandmother; she took me out to lunch every year on my birthday, letting me pick the restaurant (as a kid that was usually McDonald’s or Arby’s), and then we went shopping and I got to pick out whatever I wanted as long as it was under a certain limit. As an adult I can appreciate that her giving was how we all should give….selflessly. She didn’t make me eat where she wanted to eat (most likely the K&W Cafeteria or the Carriage House), and she didn’t give me something she thought I should have; she let me choose.
About this time last year, conversations with Jeff Coppage, pastor of Covenant Moravian Church, York Pennsylvania, were really beginning to point in the direction of a capital campaign. We actually started talking in 2014, dreaming about a plan to celebrate the congregation’s renewed interest in mission and outreach. And a very important 50th anniversary would occur in 2015. In 1965, two congregations of modest means, Bethany and Olivet Moravian Churches, joined to form a new congregation, Covenant, a name to reflect their shared commitment.
This past Saturday, Laura Watson and I attended the Board of Cooperative Ministries’ “Leadership Focus 2016”. Held at Fairview Moravian in Winston-Salem, this all-day event entitled “Living the Essentials”, attracted Moravian pastors and laypersons from across the Southern Province. After the keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Jill Crainshaw from Wake Forest School of Divinity, we could chose from eleven different workshops focusing on leadership for a variety of areas: music, mission, church communication, governance and much more.