Monday, May 10, 2010

A Distasteful Subject

I just got a packet in the mail from the District Office... it is about the subject we either hate to talk about (most all of us Pastors) or we love to talk about (the strange few who put out this stuff)... it was a STEWARDSHIP packet.... Ggggggggaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

There are aspects of the parish ministry I do under duress and aspects I would do without pay and aspects that make me want to bury my head in the sand... Stewardship falls into the later category.  I have always believed that well fed parishioners will make good stewards... eventually.  It is a slow but deliberate process and yet I know that it will not do to avoid the subject... at some point we have to talk money (and not some smokescreen about gifts but about cash, cold hard cash).

I hate to talk about it because people hate to hear me talk about it.  Stewardship is the urgent subject that we avoid like a colonoscopy -- (my fav joke about it "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!").  Alas, I have few jokes about stewardship because it is easier to laugh about what happens in a colonoscopy than it is to find humor in stewardship (the only one I know I can tell is "The good news is that we have all the money we need for the Church.  The bad news is that it is all in your pockets.").

The Bible studies cover the same ground over and over again.... stuff belongs to God not to you... it is yours to manage not to possess... we are given it to use for His glory and purpose and not to indulge ourselves... God blesses us when we return to Him what He as given us... giving is a privilege and not a duty... God wants a cheerful giver... establishing the right priorities about our stuff is a key to contentment and peace... etc...

Some of the programs are new -- we have the District Consecrated Stewards program which is like a capital campaign but without the big cause and with pledging toward the budget/general fund instead of a building project or something similar... but it runs the same predictable path of Bible studies, calls, dinner, pledge, and reap the rewards... and this did not work so well our last capital campaign...

Our Financial Secretary noted once that when I preach on money (even when it comes up naturally in the lectionary) the offering goes down... hint... the rule on money is preach less, receive more...

So the big test of the morning is whether or not I will get up enough courage to open the envelope from District clearly marked STEWARDSHIP... or maybe I will postpone this to tomorrow...

Yep, that is what I will do... I will see how I feel tomorrow...

6 comments:

William Weedon said...

Or you could just put it in the trash...

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

District is only advisory. . .

Janis Williams said...

My favorite thing about stewardship sermons was always hearing Baptist preachers say, "Jesus talked more about money than any other topic...."

Total missing of the intent of Jesus' speaking. So maybe speaking from the pulpit about money/stewardship is also a faux-pas?

Jesse said...

I always get a kick out of the spreadsheets my parish sends me in the mail illustrating what "growing in stewardship" would look like.

Kevin Jennings said...

What Wil said.

Pastor Peters said...

You know what is wonderful about tomorrow.... it's always a day away