GENEROUS GESTURES Slovak Zion Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Synod Assembly June 28, 2008 Rev. Scott Schantzenbach, ELCA Stewardship Specialist
Stewardship Strengthens • Stewardship strengthens your relationship with Jesus through the gifts God entrusted into your care. • Stewardship strengthens your faith and church.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship • Three offertory prayers are included in ELW. • Two prayers reference only bread and wine. • Silence about possessions gives money more power than it deserves
Consumer Oriented Culture • It is complicated today to know the difference between a need and a want. • Top 3 priorities, Family, friends, pets • What would you do with $600, no strings attached? • We are in a bottomless pit of consumption • Bottled water • What is in your child’s bedroom bedroom
Consider the Following • Young adults (25-34) are the fastest growing age segment filing for bankruptcy. • The average credit card debt per U.S. household is nearly $9,000. (The typical household pays more in credit card interest than they share with their church! • Children today spend $100 per week. FIVE TIMES more money than their parents did at the same age (and that is adjusted for inflation.)
The Endless Pursuit of “IT” • Controls our behavior • Shapes values • Credit score and Zip Code • Slaves to the “almighty dollar” • If we do not get this under control it will ruin us!
The Rich Fool Luke 12:16-20a NRSV “Jesus told them a parable. ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry,” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you…”
The Rich FoolLuke 12:16-20a (bold type is a Greek translation) “Jesus told them a parable. ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry,” But God said to him, ‘Foolish man, in this night THEY demand your soul from you…”
Tip-Toe Through the TULIPs • T Technology • U Utilities • L Land/Facilities • I Insurance • P Personnel
Buckets Of Money • How consumers play games • Scarcity and Abundance • “Borrow against” the endowment • “Run a tab” with your pastor • Pull the equity out of the church building. • Pastor’s not managing money well
Stewardship in Times of Economic Challenge “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two CitiesEnglish novelist (1812 - 1870)
100% Believing Our Lord Delivers STAY THE COURSE TACTICAL STRIKE CHANGED LIFESTYLE BOLD
STAY THE COURSE Leads to a dead end TACTICAL STRIKE Insufficient, unsustainable and reactionary CHANGED MISSIONAL LIFESTYLE Faithful systemic response 100% Believing Our Lord Delivers BOLD
Average teen spends $100/week Seniors are 27% of population, have 50% of discretionary money and control 70% of wealth in the U.S. The parable of the used Honda Civic The parable of the Rich Ruler, Luke 18:22 “’Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me.’ But when he heard this he became sad for he was very rich. Willing to be willing?
Mark 6:34-44 What are the issues and challenges which the crowd, disciples and Jesus face in this story?
Bible Study What would be the anticipated result of following the first inclination of the disciples?
Feeding the 5,000 How does Jesus “redeem” this difficult situation?
Mark 6:34-44 A Miracle of Sharing What behaviors are modeled for us by those present the day of the miracle?
The Miracle of Bread Are there similarities between this story and Jesus time in the desert?
Jesus Feeds the Multitude How might a generous heart and an act of sharing strengthen our relationship with Jesus? With our neighbor?
4 Green Dot Gestures
Green Dot Gestures • These 4 gestures expressed in the context of trusting the Spirit, calls us away from fear, greed, consumption and self absorption. • Green Dot gestures provide a template for generosity, hospitality, forgiveness, sharing, and humility
Taking • In the world of consumption, “taking” can be misconstrued as an excuse to grab what you want. • “Taking” is not a justification for personal gain at another’s expense. • “Taking” in the parable is more akin to the act of receiving. • “Taking: in the parable is rooted in an act of generosity.
Blessing • “Blessing is the peculiar act of naming God’s presence in our actions. • The act of “blessing” recognizes God’s presence and favor on those who have gathered.
Breaking • “Breaking” is in part the simple act of dividing what we have to share with those around us. (Acts 2) • “Breaking” signals an intention to share and prepares for distribution. • “Breaking turns gifts into assets.
Giving • “Giving” begins with a simple act of sharing but when following the pattern of Christ, moves to the depth of self-giving. • “Giving” is done in the context of memory and hope. • When “Giving” is unrestricted it builds a relationship of interdependence and trust. • “Giving” sustains the community.
Time For Action • This is God’s Gig • Provide the Vision and Mission Parachute Drop • Strengthen Partnerships and Get Weapons Off the Street When You Get Home
When You Get Home • Behave your way into a new way of thinking with a green dot “10~10~80 lifestyle” Share 10% Save 10% Spend 80% Time for Action
Green Dot Time Means… 5. * Receive thankfully * Humbly embrace God’s purpose * Lovingly sacrifice * Share first fruits, asset based, percentage gifts Time for Action
5 Mission Support Principles
Principle 1 Mission Support Sharing is a First-Fruits Gift Congregations make their decisions about mission sharing first, before other budgetary decisions are made and, as a matter of priority, send gifts for Synod/Churchwide Mission Support and designated benevolences on a monthly basis.
Principle 2 Mission Support Sharing is Proportional Congregations share proportionately from their resources as an act of worship, devotion and support of the mission tasks of the Synod and ELCA Churchwide Units.
Principle 3 10% is the Base Level of Mission Support Sharing Congregations strive to share a minimum of 10 percent of their income for Synod/Churchwide Mission Support, moving as they are able toward and beyond a tithe of unrestricted income for mission beyond the local parish.
Principle 4 Congregations Tithe Unrestricted Bequests Congregations tithe (give 10 percent) unrestricted bequests for mission beyond the local parish, as a continuing example of first fruits, proportionate, giving and sharing.
Principle 5 Congregations Tithe Unrestricted Endowment Income Congregation offers at least a tithe (10 percent) of all unrestricted income from the endowment and memorial funds to the Synod and/or other wider ministries of the ELCA.
At the Table • When we gather at the table we practice these gestures. • Break bread with those with whom we disagree, differences are set aside in light of common practice • In the passing of the cup the primacy of our own needs is challenged. • We create community grounded in language of receiving, thanksgiving, sharing, serving.
Look at Your Watch The green dot reminds you… The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom has come near, worship God in your stewardship!
The Six Point Postscript Generational Motivation Special Gifts Legacy Stewardship Looking After the Funds Commercial Ventures Personal Finance
Generational Motivations • Uncle Sam Wants You • Join the People Who Joined the Army • Be All That You Can Be • An Army of One • Army Strong
Special One-Time Occasioned Gifts • Opportunity to give more than you might give otherwise • Provide education about specific ministries • Help the congregation and people see a greater giving potential • Inspire gifts from those who do not regularly give • Allow for different ways of giving
Legacy StewardshipThe Mission Endowment • Develop an overall plan • Provide multiple opportunities to share • Provide guidelines and policies • Use professionals and good resources • Offer special programs
Look After the Funds • Provide detailed reporting to the congregation • Keep records of all financial transactions • Dual signatures on checks is standard • Separate financial secretary and treasurer roles • Two people count and credit giving each Sunday before money is moved from the church. • Reports must be complete, honest, and audited • Report the giving status to each giving unit regularly • Understanding “restricted” funds
Commercial Ventures • Voluntary giving by church members remains the primary method of collecting resources for God’s mission • Rental Income, (tax implications). • Rummage Sales, harvest festivals, heritage celebrations (permits and fees). • No games of chance • Establish and use Investment screens • Living off former generations
Stewardship Leaders • Find Contentment • Put your house in order. You are a public figure, the congregation knows your financial business. • Be Generous. Practice First Fruits Proportional Giving • Control Spending • Manage Debt • 10-10-80 • Good stewardship practice enables you to speak with power and integrity. If you do not teach and model 10-10-80 Stewardship… the world will become the default teacher.
Where your money is, there your heart will be also. (Mt 6:21) Stewardship strengthens your relationship with Jesus through the gifts God has entrusted into your care.