For many weeks, Sunnyside Ministry has been providing canned food to a group of residents who are vulnerable so that they don’t have to leave their homes as often; volunteers pick up the food from Sunnyside and take it to the apartment building where the residents live. Last week I was able to be the “transporter”, and after I got done unloading the food, I thought to myself, “Now what?” It hit me how much I miss doing little things to be useful to others and how much my stewardship has changed since March; I haven’t been able to use my time and talent in the ways in which I have grown accustomed.
Have you had the same experience this year? Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing; perhaps we all need to ask ourselves, “Now what?” and take advantage of this time to reflect on how God is calling us to joyful stewardship in new ways.
Here are 5 “StewardTips” to help as you consider your own stewardship “Now what?”:
Know your gifts.
Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts inventory? If so, was it recently? The United Methodist Church has a great online inventory available here.
Look for little ways to live generously.
Going to the grocery store? Pick a parking spot further away and leave the closer ones for others. Thank the staff. Buy a few cans of food each time you go in and take a monthly donation to your favorite agency that distributes food (many of our churches have blessing boxes, like this one at Friedberg Moravian in Winston-Salem, NC).
Examine how you’re stewarding relationships with others.
Picture yourself sitting wherever you would for worship and write down the names of 5 people you “see.” What were your last contacts with those people? What can you do to relate to them right now?
Consider how you live with money and what God would have you do with it.
Our financial lives impact our faith: as we grow in our generosity to God’s work in the world, we grow closer to God. During this challenging time, if money management has become a heavy burden, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your pastor may know of a relief fund and MMFA has relationships with two financial management courses that could help.
Finally, we’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: form a “stewardship belief statement.”
If someone were to ask you, “As a Christian, what do you believe about stewardship?” how would you answer that question? I like this response from Grace Pomroy in the book Embracing Stewardship:
Stewardship is recognizing the many tangible and intangible ways that God has shown God’s love to us, and looking for the Spirit’s guidance as to how we might share that love with the world. It is about what we do with all of our life, all the time.
So Now What? Interested in hearing StewardTips for your community of faith? Join Chris Spaugh and me for a webinar on Thursday, August 13, at 2 pm. We’ll be sharing ingredients for a successful stewardship ministry, with a focus on specific steps for a 2020 financial appeal and securing future funding for your community of faith.
Want to explore StewardTips on your own time? Visit the resources page of our website and scroll down to find helpful articles, links, and more for stewardship development.
Finally, would you like to look at your stewardship ministry with fresh eyes? MMFA is here to help. Whether it’s through a conversation via Zoom, a stewardship health assessment, or an in person meeting or workshop when the time is right, we have tools that can help you answer “Now what?” when it comes to the next best steps for stewardship.
(To learn more, please contact Laura Watson, Director of Stewardship Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-725-2589.)