Stewardship for Retirees

“Let the young people do it”
 
People giving this and similar responses have already filled most of the available offices and served on many committees and boards at least once.
 
There is a pretty strong case for the fact that those who have borne the task for a long time are entitled to step back a bit.  Retirees, even the oldest members of the congregation, can be excellent examples of every aspect of stewardship to younger generations as they continue to involve themselves appropriately.
 
Retirement?  What’s that?
  • For centuries, people worked until they died.
  • With Social Security, retirement became a new phenomenon.
  • By 1970’s, we looked forward to the ‘Golden Years’ you retire to play.
  • By 1990, you retire not only to play, but to learn, volunteer, travel or work part-time.

Observations related to retired stewards

  1. Retirees can serve as models of mature stewardship for the next generation(s) to emulate.  These “seasoned citizens” have been blessed to be a blessing but their involvement in all aspects of stewardship needs to match their personal situations.
  2. Retiree have spent their lifetime developing skills and learning trades that can benefit the congregation
  3. Retirees can be a blessing as they stay active and enjoy the extended years that come through God’s blessing.
  4. Retirees may need to be invited by their congregations to serve according to their gifts.
  5. Retirees who deal with declining abilities can still serve the Lord and need to be encouraged to do so. They rejoice in being able to serve the Lord as valuable parts of the body of Christ.

If you are a retiree of our congregation, and would like to participate in a specific area of our church, i.e. Growth Groups, Service Groups, Fellowship Groups, etc., please don’t hesitate to note your interest on the Connection Card or call the church office 760-431-8990. 
 
Next week:  Year-Round Stewardship
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson



Comprehensive Approach to Stewardship

Any long-term approach to Christian stewardship must be grace-based, year-round, whole life, hands-on and intergenerational while respecting generational diversity.  The goal is to raise people not just money.  We often attempt to touch multiple aspects of stewardship in a single annual campaign or emphasis.  Stewardship is not just asking for a monetary commitment.  Stewardship is also asking for prayers, regular worship and time and talents.

When it comes to stewardship for adults, one size does not fit all.  It might seem like a lot of time and trouble, but we must try to diversify our approach to stewardship in our congregation’s life.  If we don’t, we will miss out on creating generous stewards in all but the most senior generations.  We will miss out on the gifts that succeeding generations can bring to the table in church life and stewardship. We will miss the joy of seeing people grow in generosity of all God has given.

Please help our congregation and step forward with any suggestions you might have that will help your generation become faithful stewards.

Next week:  Stewardship for Retirees


Stewardship vs. Generosity

The stress on Stewardship may be in tension with the virtue of Generosity.

One way in which this may show itself is in a contrast between carefulness and liberality, or the virtue of frugality versus the virtue of generosity.

Theologically we must ask whether we are most fundamentally administrators or givers. That depends on whether we have much that is ours to give and at the bottom of that is a question about God’s grace. Does God only lend to us or employ us? Or does God actually give to us?

Certainly, there is value in both models of our relationship to God and they are not to be seen as exclusive. (cf. Luther’s Explanation of the First Article) The Bible makes use of both. We are God’s servants; Christ is our Lord. We are to think of ourselves as stewards responsible to God. Nonetheless, the center of the New Testament message also affirms the reason we have something to give is because it has actually been given to us by God.  We are not only servants; Jesus says to His disciples.  “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 ESV) And according to Paul, the Christian is no longer a slave but a child of God, and hence an heir (Gal. 3:26-4:7)

Generosity of time, skills and money, as well as stewardship of resources follows a pattern:

  • It is a learned or conditioned response. It must be carefully taught, modeled and explained.
  • It is motivated by our Christian faith.
  • It is shaped by life experience. It is never too late to shape life experiences.  All members should experience helping others, to become involved in hands-on mission, to participate in intergenerational experiences and to see how their gifts of time, skills and money can transform the lives of others are major influences in helping people to grow in stewardship and generosity.
  • It is influenced by the witness and experience of others. Intergenerational experiences to work side-by-side with hands-on projects.
Next Week:  Comprehensive Approach to Stewardship for Adults
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson


Adults Differ in Understanding Stewardship

Stewardship education is a necessity for all the adults of our congregations, but certain approaches to the subject, all of which have biblical roots, may have greater appeal to one generation or another.  Two common models in use today are the “stewardship” model which has dominated most literature on the subject for decades, and the “generosity” model, which is more popular.

The “stewardship” model tends to those in the Civic and Adaptive generations: (Silent, Builder an Gen. Y)

                Civic – born between 1901-1928 and 1984-2002

                Adaptive – born between 1929-1945

They fit an organizational or industrial model of society in which there are owners, managers and accountability for resources.    While not neglecting God’s grace in Jesus Christ, this model often starts with the sovereignty of God, declaring in no uncertain term that God is the Owner of all things and that we are but managers or stewards of those things.  We have a duty and responsibility to be faithful in management of those resources.

The “generosity” model tends to appeal to those in the Idealist and Reactive generations (Boomers and Gen. X):

                Idealist – born between 1946-1964

                Reactive – born between 1965-1983

They fit a more relational and collaborative model of society (e.g., the Body of Christ) in which people operate as team players in God’s mission not out of duty, but out of commitment to a cause for which they are willing to make sacrifices.  The generosity model starts not with the sovereignty of God but with the grace of God, who is not simply the Owner but the Giver of all things. A generous person is one who gives of himself and his resources, and who does so freely and not out of a sense of compulsion.  He sees it as a meaningful and joyful expression of who he is and who he wants to be and of what and whom he cares about.  Christian generosity is an expression of Christian liberty.  “Generosity is possible for Christians because the freedom of the Gospel makes a space for love in which there are good things to do that we don’t have to do.”

Next week:  Stewardship vs Generosity

God Bless you all, Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson



The Role of the Parent

What does the Bible say about the role of parents?

  1. Parents have the key role in providing spiritual directions and care for their children
  2. The purpose of spiritual training is to raise faithful, loving children.
  3. Spiritual development is a lifelong, continual process.
  4. Parents must rely upon God’s grace and power to impact spiritual development, they should therefore pray for God’s help.
  5. The Bible is the basis of our stewardship training.
  6. The spiritual teaching of children will be nurtured and celebrated by the church.

Essential Elements to Teach Children

  • God owns all things; we own nothing.  God owns us twice because He both created and redeemed us.
  • We are stewards (managers) under God of all we are and have and do.  Everything we have is given to us by God as a trust to use for His purposes.
  • We are accountable and responsible to God for all He entrusts to our care.

Ways Parents Can Encourage Stewardship Development at Home

  • Be faithful stewards: lead by example!
  • Pray daily with children.  Include prayers for growth in stewardship and prayers of thanksgiving for everything the children have.
  • Use a family devotion book to get the family involved in a discussion, game or activity centered on a biblical stewardship principle.
  • Memorize a Bible verse together each week.
  • Create and implement a means for children to distribute their allowances proportionately for giving, saving and investing.
  • Use opportunities to show love and appreciation for life, the environment, money, etc.
  • Read Scripture together.

What Should Be Taught About Money

  1. It is not our money.  It all comes from God.
  2. We are not entitled to it but we are entrusted with it.
  3. God expects us to use it in the interest of His kingdom.
  4. The tithe is the biblical standard of generosity.

Parents can use the giving of an allowance to teach tithing, saving and investing to children.  According to the book of Leviticus, the first 10 percent of our income is to be offered to God.  If God required this of His Old Testament people, how can His New Testament be less generous.

Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson



Middle School

Middle school children are capable of logical reasoning. They have more complex attitudes and skills. Relationships become extremely important. Positive role modeling is critical at this age. Our purpose should be to provide a healthy, loving environment. This environment should reinforce a sense of trust and independence and recognize the child’s need for self-awareness self-confidence, self-expression and self-appreciation. Children feel empowered when they view themselves as significant human beings and perceive that others see them that way, too. Kids of this age, if given an allowance, could be encouraged to use percentage giving as an expression of their gratitude to God.
 
Research reinforces the profound truth that if you want to have a lasting influence upon the world, you must invest in people’s lives while they are young. Lifelong habits, values, beliefs and attitudes are formed before the age of 13. A stewardship principle that could be nurtured by this age is one of regular, weekly giving.
 
Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.
If you connect with children today, effectively teaching them biblical principles and foundations from the start, then you will see the fruit of that effort blossoms for decades to come. The more diligent we are in these efforts the more prodigious a harvest we will reap. Alternatively, the more lackadaisical we choose to be in our effort to raise children as moral and spiritual champions, the less healthy the church and society will be.
Next Week’s Article: The Role of the Parent
 
God Bless you!
Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea
Stewardship Chairperson


Understanding Children

He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV)

It’s not easy being a child in today’s 24/7 world. While the word is becoming more complex, children maintain the same basic needs as they have for decades: to be loved and trusted, to feel safe and to have a purposeful life.

We know that the adults children will someday become are the end result of the thousands of times they received comfort when they cried as infants, learned to play with others as they got older, were spiritually nurtured by caregivers, and were shown that they were loved and valued.

Children have 50 percent of their intelligence by age 4. By age 8, 80 percent of their intelligence will be in place. Preschoolers are in the pre-operational stage of life. Children at this age think in concrete terms. We can teach them that all good things come from God and that He wants us to take care of them.

Over time children start making connections as they begin forming a foundation for their faith. Those early years are important for determining the child’s later religious attitudes. Children in the 5-7 age range begin to understand things outside their immediate surroundings and have knowledge of cause and effect. They can begin to deal with the subject of money. As children grow, their knowledge and intellectual capacity expands.

Next Week’s article: Middle School
 
God Bless you!
Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea,
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson


Stewardship for Children

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 ESV)
 
Children are a part of the “world” for which Christ died.  If Jesus was willing to die for this troubled planet, maybe the church needs to care about it too.  We have a responsibility to do our part to love the world that Jesus loved so much.  And that “world” includes kids.
 
In A Theological Foundation for Children’s Ministry there are seven principles that should be our guiding focus as we work in children and family ministry:

  1. Children are wonderfully and uniquely created by God.
  2. Children are born sinful and in need of God’s grace.
  3. Children are invited into Jesus’ kingdom now and for eternity.
  4. Children receive and rejoice in God’s grace through Holy Baptism.
  5. Children are guided and guarded by faith-filled families.
  6. Children are nurtured and celebrated by the church.
  7. Children glorify God and are gifted by the Spirit to serve Him.

Congregational Stewardship
Children’s involvement in the stewardship life of the congregation.  Stewardship is defined as the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family – the church – in managing all of life and life’s resources for god’s purposes.  In other words, stewardship is part of our vocation, the roles God has given us to play in church, home and society.  As fellow members of the Body of Christ, we want to do all we can to help children spend time with God, get to know Him, enjoy His presence and listen to what He wants.
 
Next Week’s article:  Understanding Children
 
God Bless you!
Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea,
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson



The Importance of Visible Stewardship

One is pastoral. The second is practical. Firstly, the steward has been created to manage all of life and life’s resources freely and joyously for God’s purposes. When the steward offers up their sacrificial financial gifts, it is an act of worship. There is a reason why the offering has a place in the liturgy. God’s people stewarding the First Article grants from the Lord, give from the Lord’s bounty for the work of the Gospel. God grants. We respond. All through the liturgy we see this. The Word proclaimed is a grant of the Gospel that is met with prayer and offering. Not having this visible response to God’s generosity toward us is a loss for God’s people. It is also a loss for the next generation. Children learn generosity from the generations before them. When they see grandparents and parents making sacrificial gifts for the work of the Gospel, their future piety is formed. The selfish, stingy heart of an unbeliever was given to them at birth. The grace of giving is granted in Holy Baptism and modeled by faithful believers. The visual participation in the offering is part of preparing the next generation of faithful Christian stewards.

There is also a practical aspect to this. If there are not visible ways that the offering is connected to worship, there is speculation that generosity might fall. A change in mechanics does offer the potential for a decline in faithful financial stewardship in the congregation.

“Out of sight” often leads to “out of mind.” This should be a practical concern for the ministry of congregations.

Next week’s article- Forming stewards into the future

God Bless you!
Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea,

Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson



Has the Offering Plate Been Passed By?

Matthew 5:24b – “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Our giving to the Lord’s work is part of our wider Christian life. The Lord wants us to walk in His ways in all we do. He wants our hearts united to His. It’s not our gift the Lord wants, it is our very elves in all we thin, say, and do.

There have been several short-term casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. The church is not without its short-term casualties either.

COVID-19 and the offering plate.
Now is the time to start looking at what the next steps are so that they can be planned with the proper balance between careful stewardship of the ministry and careful stewardship of the health of the congregation.

Many of the short-term casualties will recover. Buildings will once again be filled with faithful saints listening in person to the preaching that has been in virtual realm. The Table will once again be set with Christ’s Body and Blood to be shared for the forgiveness of sins. Organs will roar to life; instruments will be tuned for praise. Voices will be raised in petition and song.

But there are some treasured items that will be long-term casualties. There is an indication that the handshake, jammed pews, common-use hymnals and bulletins could be a long-term casualty. Hygiene and sanitation will rise in importance.

It is highly likely that the offering plate will be a thing of the past. Centrally-located, convenient offering boxes and the rise of electronic giving, combined with the surface contact concern with the plate may make it one of the last pre-COVID -19 practices to return.

The fate of the plate is up in the air now. The generosity of God’s people is not.

Next week’s article- The importance of visible stewardship

God Bless you!
Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea,
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson