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Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2018

Teaching Stewardship to Children

Share this month’s planned giving article, “Ideas for Teaching Stewardship to Children” via your church newsletter, e-mail, or web site. The article contains practical ideas for teaching stewardship to children including modeling a generous lifestyle, managing money, donating, and volunteering. Most important, though, is regular time in God’s Word with our kids so that we have God’s power to redirect our focus from ourselves to others.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – July 2018

Stewardship Deals with Issues Much Bigger than Money

“I once saw a plaque with the following inscription: ‘What you have is God’s gift to you. What you do with what you have is your gift to God.’ ‘What I do with what God has given to me’—those words are a good working definition of stewardship . . . My stewardship, then, is my management of what God in heaven has given to me on earth. Stewardship is a personal, practical matter. It involves God and me. It involves what I did with my life yesterday, as well as my plans for tomorrow. It involves the way I am spending my time right now. Stewardship is an especially practical matter for the Christian . . . We know the Savior who bought us with his blood . . . we have a desire to serve our Lord and Savior with all that we have.”

Wolfgramm, Arno J. Stewardship: What I Do with What God Gave Me. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2001.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – May 2018

A Grateful Attitude Makes a Gift Precious to God

“God is pleased when I worship and honor him with all my heart. Abel’s offering (Genesis 4:4) was pleasing and acceptable because he offered it in the fear of God and in faith and because he strove to show his grateful heart by his gift. For when the heart is offered, this is a gift that is very gratifying indeed to God.”

Plass, Ewald M. (Ed.). (1959) What Luther Says: An Anthology (Vol. 1). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – November 2017

Gratitude for Earthly and Spiritual Blessings

“To begin with, we must rejoice at the less important good things which we enjoy according to the Second Table of the Law in that our bodies and possessions are protected. For these gifts are of minor importance when compared with those which we enjoy according to the First Table: that God has revealed himself, has made known what he intends to do with us, gives his Word, grants faith and the Holy Spirit, hears prayers, daily increases his church, etc. These things are so great that no tongue is able to amplify and praise them as they deserve . . . Only those are truly thankful who receive the gifts of God joyfully and rejoice in the Giver.”

Plass, Ewald M. (Ed.). (1959) What Luther Says: An Anthology (Vol. 3). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – July 2017

Let’s Not Play at Stewardship

“‘Appreciation for divine mercy cannot take the price of redemption for granted; neither can it regard the purpose of redemption as a hobby. That heart will not play at stewardship’ (Robert Hochmuth, Initiated into the Secret of Enduring Prosperity [1965 essay], p. 4). If we really believe this, our commitment to raising up godly givers will be intensified, not marginalized.

“I am also more convinced today than I was 35 years ago that to teach money management is the kind of privilege that we must approach confidently, passionately, straightforwardly, and not at all apologetically or reluctantly. I tell students that there are certain subjects that they simply must ponder exhaustively, master thoroughly, and share winsomely – or they will ‘die a thousand deaths’ in contemporary pastoral ministry. Assaults on subjects like infant baptism and baptismal regeneration, church fellowship principles, gender roles and relationships in God’s world, and amillennial eschatology will surface frequently and often antagonistically. If we have not done our homework and allowed the Spirit to do his heart work in us, we will pay a big price and so will the people we are supposed to serve. But if we are thoroughly convinced that we are sharing divine truth and that God gave it in love, we see opportunities to serve rather than threats to be endured. And the subject of acquiring, managing, and giving money should be on this list of messages to be mastered and shared with eagerness. We are about the Lord’s business, using the Lord’s law and gospel with the Lord’s purposes in mind. When this reality is relished, our tone and attitude toward stewardship will improve and so will our ministry to souls in this vital area.”

Forrest L. Bivens. Seizing the Opportunities: Ways to Encourage Godly Giving. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Essay File. Page 2.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – May 2017

Christian Stewardship is about Our Relationship with God

“Money management and godly giving are integral parts of sanctified living, not at all optional or even peripheral. The focus is squarely on the relationship of Christ’s people to their Lord and his revealed will—not only or even primarily their relationship to their money, their church, or their neighbor. To ignore this facet of the Christian’s continued existence on earth or to address this subject only occasionally is to fail to minister properly to the needs of our people. Christians need to know that they have been saved and how they have been saved. They also need to know they are called and enabled to serve God. God expects faithful stewardship, dedicated serving. What a tragedy it is if the person who has learned the way of salvation either has never grasped or has been sidetracked from his mission of living for God in a conscientious and competent way!”

Forrest L. Bivens. Seizing the Opportunities: Ways to Encourage Godly Giving. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Essay File. Page 2.

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.

Weeks to Emphasize Stewardship – Encouraging Word – July 2015

Weeks to Emphasize Stewardship

While our “Stewardship by the Lectionary” resource offers stewardship-themed devotions for all weekly lectionary readings, some weeks are particularly strong for a stewardship-themed Sunday. Following are some ideas for a stewardship Sunday or emphasis in the latter half of 2015. Refer to future editions of “Stewardship by the Lectionary” for further development of these themes.

Pentecost 15 (September 6) – Manage Well the Gift of God’s Word! (Deuteronomy 4:1, 2, 6-8; Ephesians 6:10-20; Mark 77:1-8, 14, 15, 21-23)

Pentecost 17 (September 20) – Whole-life Stewardship Flows from Faith in Jesus (James 2:1-5, 8-10, 14-18; Mark 8:27-35)

Pentecost 21 (October 18) – The Danger of Living “the Good Life” (Amos 5:6, 7, 10-15; Mark 10:17-27)

Christ the King (November 22) – “One in Christ” debt elimination offering

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Stewardship Resources

Congregational Planned Giving Program

Our weekly offering at worship is not the only opportunity we have for giving to the Lord. We can honor the Lord when planning for the transition of our accumulated wealth (our “estate”) at life’s end. And there are a variety of other opportunities that enable us to support the Lord’s work now (while at the same time receiving tax benefits). The Bible encourages planned giving—intentional, cheerful management of our blessings to care for family and to return a portion of our possessions to our Creator and Savior God.

The purpose of the congregational planned giving manual is (Part I) to help your congregation jump-start a program of promoting planned giving opportunities to members. Part II shares an easy way to start a congregational endowment fund through WELS Foundation. Part III tells how to set up a congregational planned giving committee to provide further manpower for carrying out this work. Part IV discusses how to establish and administer an endowment fund. And Part V highlights WELS organizations that can help you with any of these steps.