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

Three Stations in Life

Luke: 5:5 – “And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word will let down the nets.’” All or toil, all our work, all our efforts mean nothing without the Lord’s guidance. But if we walk in the Word of Jesus, well, look what happened to Simon Peter. The Lord gives grace, and He promises to bless our efforts and bring blessings out of them that we never expected.

Everyone has three stations in life, three spheres in which we live and are to be of service to our neighbors.

  1. We are born into the church by water and the Word of God, and our duties to others in the church arise from either our birth into the church or the birth of others by Baptism into it.
  2. We are born into family, and our duties to others stem from either our birth into that family or the birth of others into our family.
  3. Finally, we are born into society, which is simply a further extension of our birth into our family. The duties we have toward other members of society come from either our birth or the birth of others into the same society.

All that we have and all that we are is to be pressed into service for the church, the family, and society. If we were to sell all we have and give only to one, the other two would be neglected, and our duties toward them would falter.

So consider your life and all that you have in light of these three stations. You pay taxes to support and help those in society. You provide food, clothing, and shelter for the members of your family.

It is all the more necessary now as we enter into periods of time while giving is low due to high unemployment or restrictions on meeting in church to give. If we love God, his gifts of forgiveness given through the means of grace we receive at church and only at church, then we will support the church just as we love our country and our family.

For all that we have and all that we are is given to us by our gracious and giving God.
Don’t let the church, your divine family, be ignored or even an afterthought. The church is nurturing you, bringing you up in salvation by Word and Sacrament for eternal life.

Next week’s article- Has the Offering Plate Been Passed By?
God Bless you all! Thank you for supporting Redeemer by The Sea,
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson

Stewardship Minute 8/6/20

Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

It is very easy to get caught up in the present and lose track of our ultimate destiny in the Kingdom of God. St. Paul encourages us to keep eternity in mind. This certainly has an application to our support for the Gospel. If we keep our focus on “the glory to be revealed,” we will see our tithes and offerings in a new light.”

What must I do to inherit eternal life? “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:18-22) Why should we not sell all that we have and distribute it to the poor?

If we sold everything we have our wife and our children would be neglected. In other words, to sell everything we have, and give to the poor would ignore, even abandon, those whom God has placed in our care. Our money, everything we have, is not to be used solely for the church. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t to be used for the purpose God intends.

Everyone has three stations in life, three spheres in which we live and are to be of service to or neighbors. These stations are the church, the family, and society. We are members of all three of these by birth.

Next week’s article – Three stations in life

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

Stewardship Minute 7/29/20

We don’t offer ourselves to God just on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings, for example. Rather, we give Him our whole selves, all the time. We understand that offering ourselves to God as living sacrifices involves the giving of our time. It requires us to be faithful stewards of the time He has given us. Yes, it means we devote to our Savior all our time. Otherwise we are not sacrificing our whole lives.

You see, God both teaches us, and has graciously qualified us, to present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices – to live as His holy priests, who offer Him acceptable sacrifices through Jesus Christ, all day, every day, in our various callings.

In the passages from Romans and 1 Peter, we hear several examples of Christian self-sacrifice: serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, living peaceably with others, submitting to governing authorities and those over us in the workplace, wives submitting to husbands, husbands honoring wives, showing compassion, and suffering patiently in doing good.

In all these things, and in all our other everyday activities, we sacrifice ourselves by using our time, not just for our own benefit, but also and especially for the well-being of others. Work time, school time, exercise time, study time, mealtime, chore time, recreation and relaxation time, even sleep time – it’s all God’s gift to us to use for purposes that please and honor Him.

This challenges us to think about the way we spend our time, how we utilize our talents, and the way we spend our treasures. Whatever it is I’m doing, am I doing it “for the Lord”? (Colossians 3:23) Am I presenting God a living sacrifice? Am I conducting myself as a holy priest, whose sacrifice is acceptable to God?

Because our Lord sacrificed Himself wholly for us, we offer ourselves wholly to Him as living sacrifices. This is following Jesus in self-sacrifice. By His saving mercy, yes, our sacrifice is acceptable to God. For the sake of Jesus’ finished work, God is pleased with us.

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

Stewardship Minute 7/21/20

The sin of the world is paid for. God’s Law has been kept perfectly on our behalf. The prophecies have all been fulfilled. Jesus Christ has finished it all! And that, dear Christians, should fill us with complete confidence in our salvation. Since Jesus has finished all these things in His self-sacrifice, we can be fully certain our sins are forgiven, and we have everlasting life!

St. Paul wrote: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1)

We hear the same teaching in 1 Peter. “As you come to him, a living stone, rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)

It’s the very thing Malachi foretold of the Lord, that He would come and purify His priestly people, that they may offer to Him an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)

So, what does this mean? In view of God’s mercies – that is, because Jesus sacrificed Himself to make us pure, giving His entire self into death – Paul said that we are to sacrifice ourselves entirely to God, offering Him our whole lives. For our Savior did not give Himself for us in part. So, we do not give back to Him in part.

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

Stewardship Minute 7/9/20

Our Lord teaches us to give generously out of love – love for Him and for our neighbor. Genuine love is always love in deed (1 John 3:18), love such as Jesus showed us all. It is love that sees our neighbor in need and gives generously to help him.  It is love that hears the Word of the Lord and does what it says.  If we truly love, we give generously.  If we give without love, our giving is not truly following Jesus.

We follow Jesus in generosity when we give for a good purpose to thank the Lord and support His gospel ministry and other works of mercy. The people of Israel gave generously for the service of God’s gospel purposes, to construct and support the operation of the tabernacle.  For that was the place where the Lord received the Old Testament sacrifices, through which He bestowed the forgiveness of sins on His people.  So, they gave abundantly – so abundantly that they had to be told to stop giving.  (Ex. 36:5-6)

In the same way, we should bring generous offerings to support the Lord’s work of bestowing His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in our congregations through the preaching and teaching of His Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. We should support the Lord’s work of caring for those who are poor and needy.

Our Savior calls us to follow His example in generous giving.  Let us then, with thankful hearts, rededicate ourselves to following Him in generosity.

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

Stewardship Minute 6/25/20

Our Savior calls us to follow Him in generosity. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:15) We cannot give our lives for the salvation of the world, of course. Praise God – that job’s already done!

But with hearts full of thanksgiving for what Jesus has given us, we can follow Jesus’ example of generous giving. And this is not merely an example alone. It’s also our Lord’s command. “the one who contributes, (let him give) in generosity.” (Rom. 12:8)

So, when we give to help others who are in need, and when we bring offerings to the Lord, we should strive to heed His command and follow the pattern He has established for us. Jesus did not give us leftovers. He gave His best. So, we should not give leftovers, either, but the first and best of what He has given us. Jesus did not give as an afterthought but according to the plan of salvation God established from the foundation of the world.

So, when it comes to our offerings to the Lord, we should make a thoughtful plan to give generously, in proportion to the way He has blessed us. Like the Macedonian Christians, who gave according to their ability – and even beyond their ability (2 Cor. 8:3) – we can and should give a generous portion of the income that God provides us to honor the Lord.

So also, we should give freely, just as Jesus gave freely to us. There is no compulsion involved in our works of love and our offerings to the Lord. Nor do we give grudgingly. We should give freely and cheerfully because we want to out of thanksgiving. “Each as he purposes in his heart, “as the Lord says. (2 Cor. 9:7) There is no New Testament ceremonial law involved here. Rather, we are free to give as generously as our Savior has given for us.

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

We are Stewards of the Present and Future

Sixth Thought: We are stewards of the present. Our faithful stewardship takes place in time. Stewardship is not some philosophical endeavor. We are stewards of what we have been entrusted within our time. In worship, at the rail, and in the world, we steward the trust we have been given by God for the sake of those around us. In this way, we are His hands and His feet to serve our neighbor for His glory.

Seventh thought: We are stewards of the future. While we have no control over what happens tomorrow, our stewardship today can indeed affect the future. Our congregations are legacies of the faithful stewardship of those who now rest from their labor with Jesus. As we live today, and as we give today we are laying the groundwork for the future ministry of the local congregation. The Gospel can be proclaimed until Christ returns so that others may hear and be given the same trust of faith we have by the Holy Spirit, and know the joy of being stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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