What does it mean to be a Christian Steward?
When we join the church, we commit ourselves “to faithfully participate in its ministries by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service.” Living out that promise faithfully determines that we are committed to Christian Stewardship.
In Jesus’ time, the steward was the manager of the household. The steward was not the owner of the assets, but a responsible administrator of the owner’s property. We are all stewards of some possessions and influence. We either take care of the earth or we pollute the earth. The question is: “What kind of stewards are we?”
A starting place is the recognition that God has invited us to be responsible for our lives and resources. We are not likely to manage well unless we acknowledge that we are managers. We are not likely to exercise good stewardship unless we recognize that we are stewards. Imagine Jesus standing before you and saying, “Take authority and be a steward.” Then explore what that will mean in your daily life.
How are financial giving and stewardship related?
Giving money for the work of the church is one very important aspect of stewardship, but it is not the whole of stewardship. When stewardship is reduced to financial giving, the richness of a biblical symbol is dismissed.
Christian giving is a responsive act. It represents gratitude to God. It is a symbol of self-giving. Therefore, giving is not a once and for-all event, but a regular part of life. It is a spiritual discipline that reminds us who we are and whose we are.
Does the United Methodist Church encourage tithing?
The United Methodist Book of Discipline affirms and encourages tithing. Throughout Christian history, tithing has been a helpful way for people to assess their giving. The roots of the tradition are deep within Hebrew history. Most Christians view tithing as a spiritual discipline rather than a mathematical legalism. It is a gift from God to help us “put God first in our lives” (Deuteronomy 14) Urging tithing without providing guidance is not helpful if one did not grow up with the tradition, and for that reason we offer additional resources on the topics of wealth, money and its responsible management. Please call the church office for additional resources, or visit www.gbod.org/stewardship.
Is giftedness an important stewardship issue?
Giftedness is an important dimension of stewardship. We are all called to name our own gifts and to help others as they discern theirs. (1 Peter 4, 10-11) Spiritual gifts are abilities given by the Spirit of God to enable Christians to serve the body of Christ, and we all have at least one spiritual gift. Gifts are to be used and to be affirmed. One gift is not more pleasing to God than another. All are a part of God’s plan for God’s creatures.
It may be helpful to use a spiritual gifts inventory to aid in determining the gifts which God has given you. Discerning and using God’s gifts is an important aspect of spiritual growth and discipleship. To help you determine your gifts, and ways you may use them at First United Methodist Church, please complete the questionnaire “Have you opened your gifts yet – a guide to spiritual gifts”, which is available at the church.
Does my presence at worship matter?
Our presence is a witness to our faith. Worship attendance provides a meeting place—for the soul with God, and for those who come together seeking spiritual guidance, comfort, and strength. Worship provides an atmosphere for reflection and self-evaluation. It helps us to get our bearings. It reminds us that we are part of a great company of faith.
We also uphold the Church by our presence throughout the week – in our homes, at work, in recreation, at school, wherever we are. Our very presence among others should speak of our commitment to Christ. God forbid that our presence on the job or after work should reveal one thing and our presence in the pew another! That’s the real test of presence. When we are present when someone needs us; to give a listening ear, to walk beside another person when times are hard, to send a letter or to make a call, – that is Christ in tangible form for many people. Presence in the pew should reinforce our presence in the world.
How is prayer important?
Please be loyal to our church by your prayers, so that all we do within the church and community might express the will and compassion of Christ. Pray that the work undertaken by our congregation will help to accomplish those things we believe Christ would have us do; that the decision makers of the church, our community, and world, will be guided by the One who comes to bring life and hope and peace.
Why should I complete a Stewardship Financial Card?
Completing a card and returning it to the church office is a tangible way to express your intention to fulfill your promise to “uphold this church by your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.” By knowing the amount anticipated, it enables the church to prepare a more exact budget and also reminds each of us on our quarterly giving statement what we have estimated.