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Stewardship Program Options – Encouraging Word – July 2018

Stewardship Program Options

WELS Congregational Services is producing a new stewardship program for 2019. Meanwhile, congregations can find stewardship resources and quality programs at wels.net/stewardship. If you haven’t already tried them, here are a couple of recent programs with good reviews.

Joyful Generosity guides followers of Christ through the Bible’s clear teachings on the management of our possessions. The program includes six weeks of worship and Bible study materials as well as 21 personal devotions. Dave Fleischmann, pastor at Trinity, Kaukauna, Wis., was happy with the gospel approach of the series, saying, “I pray that it affects the hearts of my members as much as it affected my heart.”

364 Days of Thanksgiving focuses on how we can be thankful every day for the blessings God gives us. The emphasis includes three weeks of worship and Bible study resources. Churches can bulk order a devotional journal at a discount for members to use to record their blessings. Ray Schumacher is a member at St. Peter’s, Helenville. His congregation decided to hand out the book to encourage members to count God’s blessings. Members liked the idea so much that each time an announcement was made about the program, a member would step forward to cover the cost of books. In the end many people could take a book for free. “The other thing that caught my attention,” Ray shared, “was that people were following through. They would talk about how the process helped them see how many blessings they had received.”

Positive Response to Stewardship Program – Encouraging Word – November 2017

Positive Response to Stewardship Program

WELS Ministry of Christian Giving published the new stewardship program, Joyful Generosity, earlier this year for congregations to use in 2017 and 2018 (due to the expected heavy focus on the Reformation’s 500th anniversary this year). The program includes six weeks of worship and Bible study materials as well as 21 personal devotions.

Pastor Dave Fleischmann, who serves God’s people at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kaukauna, Wis., says he hesitated at first to undertake a six-week program. “That is a fairly long stewardship program. I was worried about ‘stewardship burnout’ by the end. However, that did not occur. In fact, the average attendance during the series was actually up a little bit from our normal attendance.”

Overall, he was very happy with how gospel-based the series was, saying the series is even visitor-friendly. “I pray that it affects the hearts of my members as much as it affected my heart.” He says, “Next year I certainly plan on doing another stewardship series, though probably not one as long as this one. I pray that many pastors will use this series to help lead their people to ‘Joyful Generosity.’”

Congregations can find Joyful Generosity, the three-week 364 Days of Thanksgiving program, and other stewardship programs and resources online at wels.net/stewardship.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – November 2016

The Secret to Being Overwhelmingly Grateful, Part One

“As sinful human beings, we tend to take God’s blessings for granted. We often don’t notice the amazing gift of air conditioning until it breaks down in the middle of summer. We aren’t aware of how much we depend on electricity until the power goes out and we stare at one another, wondering what to do without our TVs, cell phones, and computers. A wise, old pastor once told me, ‘The secret to happiness is not getting what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got.’ We spend so much time focusing on what we don’t have, on what other people have, on what we want to have, that we lose sight of what we do have. The secret to being overwhelmingly grateful is to recognize what you have.”

Schroer, Andrew C. 364 Days of Thanksgiving. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2015.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – September 2016

Overwhelming Gratitude

“The point of the story of the ten lepers in Luke chapter 17 is not that the other nine were ungrateful. The point is how overwhelmingly grateful the Samaritan was. He put off the one thing that he had desired for so long—to be told by the priest he could go home—and put off being reunited with his family and friends to first return and thank the person who had healed him. The Samaritan understood that thankfulness is not some nebulous, vague feeling. Gratitude cannot exist where there is no giver. You can’t be thankful without having someone to thank. The Samaritan realized it was God who deserve the credit. He recognized it was Jesus who he healed him. So he ran. He cried. He fell at Jesus’ feet and thanked him with overwhelming gratitude.”

Schroer, Andrew C. 364 Days of Thanksgiving. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2015.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – July 2016

The Secret to Happiness

“Are you depressed? Are you frustrated by the problems and struggles in your life? The secret to happiness isn’t to rid your life of problems. The secret to happiness isn’t getting what you want. The secret to happiness is recognizing what you have in Christ.”

Schroer, Andrew C. 364 Days of Thanksgiving. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2015.

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364 Days of Thanksgiving

364 Days of Thanksgiving focuses on how we can be thankful every day for the blessings God gives us. The emphasis includes three weeks of worship and Bible study resources. Churches can also bulk order the devotional journal at a discount for members to record their blessings each day of the year.