Who loves Stewardship time? No, seriously?
I graduated seminary with a serious aversion to this magical time of year. I couldn't imagine how, as a person paid by the money that comes out of the pockets of the congregation, I would ever be able to stand up in the pulpit and, it felt to me, shill for my salary.
I got over it. Here's how.
First, I worked with a guy who had a serious... well, crude metaphors come to mind. Suffice to say, he loved stewardship. He lurved it. He loaved it. He preached-- wait for it-- six stewardships sermons throughout the fall! No, scratch that: he preached four and I, who couldn't imagine preaching one, preached two. And I caught some of his enthusiasm. It had to do with genuine love of the church. It had to do with calling people into being the best, most dedicated, giving people they could be... not for our salaries (though you still can't get away from that little detail), but for the spreading of the gospel. I was hooked. I started seeing stewardship as a challenge that I might, just might, be able to rise to.
Second, the model for stewardship at that congregation was very much driven by the work of the members. We did our six sermons (which, in all honesty, I do think was overkill), but they did six minutes for mission. And I truly believe that their work-- their testimony-- was more powerful than our sermons.
And finally, I went to an institute for newly minted ministers of my denomination, in which we were offered a workshop of Stewardship. Now, many of my classmates fell asleep during this workshop. And it's true. We were inundated with information in a way that was not entirely helpful. Except: we were given a thick take-home packet at the end. It included sample brochures created by various congregations. And the little tiny design geek that's inside me... the one who used to get a charge out of creating a newsletter for the youth group when I was a director of Christian Ed... found another way to play with stewardship time: creating cool narrative budgets, complete with awesome pie charts and beautiful, carefully-chosen verses from scripture.
So this is it! We're doing it! Who's with me?