Stewardship is a way of life: not all about money{1-30-12}

I hate talking about finances…a a matter of fact, my loathe of all things financial is one of several reasons why I NEVER want to serve on a vestry. NO THANKS! :O)

The following statements are solely my opinion.

I agree that stewardship s more about one’s financial giving to one’s church but at the same time, when a church focuses too much on getting members to pledge more money, it can quit being ” church ” & slide into just another charitable organization.

As Christians, we are called to do Christ’s work here in our world. While this call does involve some sort of financial committment on our part, is is not all about ” the bottom dollar.”

I’ve been a member of another mainline Protestant of a church who– in a misguided effort to ” educate” members on financial stewardship, hung a hand-made poster depicting a graph of the governing body’s expectations for pledged offerings. The session{ Governing body of the denomination that I eventually came to The Episcopal Church from} listed their projected ” goal” at the top of the poster & weekly reported on the pledges received each month. This offensive poster sat in the narthex of the church building, so visitors & members alike saw it whenever they came to church for any reason. If I felt nauseated every time I saw this poster on the wall, I am sure that others who came to that church felt equally appalled.

Most of us who attend church, any church, on a regular basis know that financial stewardship is part of what God calls us to do. But seekers & new Christians who have no attended church or awhile{ or ever} might see tithing as only about money. It is not. But at the same time, an intense campaign to motivate people to tithe might be perceived as just a plea for more money. No one wants to feel guilt-tripped into giving more money. If handled inappropriately, such as a poorly done stewardship campaign will guilt people into turning away from a faith community , or even from Christianity as a whole. Although there are many reasons why I left my previous denomination, the way that the ” stewardship campaign” was handled at the church I’d left before finding Small Parish factored hugely into my decision to come to Small Parish when I did.

It is true my opinions on intense campaigns to get more people to tithe is just my opinion, I’ve arrived at this opinion based on past experiences. What might turn out as a campaign to educate people on the Biblical commandment to set aside one tenth of one’s income to the church might easily become nothing more than all about money.

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