Enter into the Joy!
A synodwide stewardship emphasis
We live in a world filled with fear and anxiety. Concerns about the economy, war, politics, children’s education, and the state of our churches abound. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all and lose hope. Or at the very least—to allow despair to creep into our lives. Is that what God wants for us?
The psalmist counters our culture of gloom: "You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy!" (Psalm 30:11)
And Jesus said to his disciples: "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11)
In 2010, our synod's Stewardship and Mission Support Table developed a program of stewardship commitment emphasis to train stewardship committees, mobilize spiritual formation groups for lay people, and involve pastors in a synod-wide pulpit exchange.This year, we are recycling the project and, following the format used in prior years, have designated Sunday, November 16, 2014 as Stewardship Sunday. The gospel lesson is again Matthew 25:14-30. Our focus will be on the joy and discipline of stewardship. Spiritual formation small groups will center themselves in the Word, in conversation, and in prayer for three sessions. The purpose is not a Bible study per se, but an opportunity to interact with God and others in spiritual conversation. Leading up to Stewardship Commitment Sunday on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost (November 16), mission interpreters and/or others will deliver mission moments celebrating the congregation’s ministries. Again, following the format of prior years, a week or two before the event, congregational leaders of the partnered congregations will meet. The pastors will thank leaders and offer biblical grounding about our interconnectedness within the Body of Christ in mission. The stewardship emphasis culminates in a celebration service where pastors minister to each other’s congregations with a stewardship message and a time of commitment.