In Service - A Monthly Resource for the Episcopal Church

This month's focus is on Stewardship

Volume 2: Issue 7
October 2016

The Future of Stewardship

C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Diocese of Texas

The theological bases for stewardship have been as diverse as its practices.

Theologically, stewardship has shifted from a call to possess land and give thanks to God, to the Church's right to oversee the governments of the world, to the divine right of kings, to noblesse oblige, and finally in the last century, arriving at a tithe of ten percent as the norm for Christian giving.

Jesus teaches about stewardship as well. He is clear that the economy that the religious leaders have created is flawed and in need of reform. He says that when the poor give, they give more out of the little that they have than the rich do when they make a large gift. The poor make a proportionally larger gift.

Jesus offers a particular theology. He tells those who follow him that everything is God's. God is the creator of all things, the maker of all things, and the one who oversees all things. Jesus offers a radical vision of people who are directly in relationship with God because of God's love. He teaches that their care for one another and the community in which they live is essential to the health of their relationship with God. He tells those who will listen that they are to make use of the wealth they have, to multiply it, and to be generous and honest with it. Jesus teaches us that the stewardship question we are supposed to ask is not about what to do with all the stuff that God has given us. It isn't my stuff. It isn't your stuff. Instead, Jesus tells us to question ourselves about what we are going to do with all of God's stuff, with God's world, and with God's resources. This was a much more important concept. So important that it is the theme of giving throughout the New Testament epistles and the early church. The early Church fathers do not mention the biblical tithe.


Further Reading
Church Publishing has a number of helpful books that will assist you to develop an effective stewardship approach at your church. 
An Economia for Congregational Change

Bob Sitze invites stewardship leaders into a broader conversation of how shifted biblical and secular stewardship concepts, practice, and identity can be incorporated into a congregation's life and help bring about lasting change.

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Fearless_125Fearless Church Fundraising
The Practical and Spiritual Approach to Stewardship

Considering how essential fundraising is, it's surprising how many church leaders remain terrified of asking for money. Here is a user-friendly text that promises to transform your ministry's fundraising and its spiritual life.

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One_Minute_125One Minute Stewardship Sermons
This collection of inspirational messages reflects on the many aspects of stewardship that congregations experience throughout the year. Designed to be used at the offertory each Sunday, incorporated into the sermon or printed in the bulletin.

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Timely Downloads from Church Publishing

Next Month's Issue: Advent

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