Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – November 2015

Discuss Giving in the Context of Stewardship

“The theme of stewardship keeps the subject of giving in the proper perspective. People see giving as it relates to God rather than merely to the church or me, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:5, ‘They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.’ When people know why God gave them their money and possessions, what God has called our church to do, and why God has placed them in our congregation, they are highly motivated givers rather than reluctant payers of dues.”

Pohl, Wayne. Mastering Church Finances. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1992. Page 45.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – September 2015

Anticipate Designated Giving

“With increased designated giving (due to cultural changes since the 1950’s), church leaders are wise to anticipate these gifts. During the budget process, the leaders can try to estimate the amount and nature of designated gifts in the coming year. Several key people can often tell church leaders what special ministries and problems interest people.

“This can be done in two ways. You can observe what causes and needs are being publicized and promoted in the community…The leaders can also recall the causes the pastor has mentioned in his sermons.

“If the church’s leaders can discuss the implications of such ministries ahead of actually receiving the gifts, they are in a better position to either turn down the gift or to expedite its use, depending on how the leaders feel about the ministry or program that the giver wants to underwrite.”

Fenton, Gary. Mastering Church Finances. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1992. Page 81.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – July 2015

Joy Is a Fruit of Faith

“Joy may be thought of as an emotion, but for the Christian it is something more concrete. Christians will not be plunged into despair by the adversities of life when they cling to the joy they have in Christ. Paul rejoiced in what the Lord had done for his salvation while he was sitting in a jail cell at Rome (see his letter to the Philippians). Joy is what Peter offered the persecuted Christians of Asia Minor when, in his first epistle, he spoke to them of the inheritance we have guaranteed for us through Christ (1:6). Joy is what Christians have as they stand with tears in their eyes by the grave of a Christian loved one. They have their Savior’s promise of the resurrection of the body and eternal life with him in heaven. The Christian’s joy is not like the morning fog, soon dispersed by the heat of the sun. Our joy is lasting, enduring, undimmed by the trials of this life.”

Lange, Lyle W. Sanctification: Alive in Christ. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1999. Pages 133-134.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – March 2015

Stewardship Is an Extremely Important Subject

I am assuming we all agree that stewardship is an important subject and that “the shepherd trains Christian stewards” is to be a statement of fact, not a pious but somewhat empty wish. But to say it plainly, I am now convinced that it is more important and merits a higher priority in pastoral work than I once thought. This is an urgent, crucial, or extremely important task. Fifty years ago WELS President O.J. Naumann wrote, “The subject of Christian stewardship is one that may never be dismissed from the believer’s mind. For in the service of our Lord and Savior we are first and foremost stewards.” We know very well that our Lord Jesus continually says, “Dedicate for my use all that you are and all that you have. I don’t merely want so much of your time, money, or energy. I want you. You are my full-time manager, and half-measures or half-hearted efforts are no good.”

Bivens, Forrest L. “Seizing the Opportunities: Ways to Encourage Godly Giving.” A Symposium on Christian Stewardship: Raising up a Generation of Godly Givers. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, 17-18 Sept. 2007.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – Month DD, YYYY – TEMPLATE

Provide an Ongoing Flow of Information about the Congregation’s Work

“In a communication-saturated age, churches need to find and utilize multiple avenues for getting their message across.

“As an ongoing follow-up to a new member informational packet, the congregation would do well to publish a monthly newsletter, as well as written quarterly reports from all the boards, committees, and organizations of the congregation. Since every member shares in the mission of the congregation, it is vital that every member be kept informed about that mission and what the congregation is doing to fulfill it. Communication—from the voters’ assembly, from the church council, from organizations, from the pastor, from the Lutheran elementary school principal, from boards and committees—helps to keep the work of the church before the eyes and in the hearts of the members of the congregation.”

Valleskey, David J. We Believe – Therefore We Speak. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995.