Faith and Generosity as Christian Practices

July 29, 2015

Rev. David Snipes, Western North Carolina United Methodist Foundation President July 21, 2015

The word “stewardship” stirs in us many different images. For some it is strictly about money – how much we spend in total, how much we spend on what we buy, etc. For others it is much more comprehensive – it is not just about money, but also how one uses their gifts and graces – who they are as God created them - to be the disciple God has called them to be. The United Methodist Foundation believes both of these images have value.

When we practice stewardship we assume we are stewards…but what does that mean? A steward is one who cares for another’s belongings. In the case of Christian stewardship, the individual is the “steward,” the “another” is God, and the “belongings” are ALL God has given to us. It is for this reason the Foundation prefers to use the term “Faith and Generosity” when referring to stewardship. In other words, how do we recognize all that we are and all that we have is God’s; therefore, to be used for God’s good in the world? In recognizing this, faith motivates us to use God’s gifts beyond ourselves.

The following resources are available and endorsed through your United Methodist Foundation to help you grow as faithful and generous leaders in your church:

Money $ense – A six-week Sermon Series, Bible Study and Children’s Sermons that provides an introduction to faithful financial stewardship. Click here to learn more.

Horizons Stewardship – A company that assists “churches and other faith-based institutions to make strategic decisions and grow in faith, while securing the necessary capital to accomplish their vision for ministry.” Click here to go to their website.

UMF Stewardship Challenge Grant – A program offered every other year that provides a list of possible activities/ministry initiatives that promote faith and generosity. Churches in the WNCC are encouraged to participate. The winner of the challenge grant receives $1K to be used for stewardship ministry. Next program date: January 2016. Click here for information related to the 2014 challenge grant. (Same activities/ministry initiatives will be used in 2016.)

Annual Stewardship Programs – Foundation staff members work with clergy and leaders of the congregation to create an annual stewardship emphasis that ultimately ends with a Commitment Sunday. Contact the Foundation office to learn more at 1-888-450-1956 or visit us on the web at: www.umfwnc.org.

Church Financial Leaders Training – Foundation staff members work specifically with church leaders who fill the role of Church Financial Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Finance Chair and Stewardship Chair to help them better understand their job responsibilities and to put into place “best practices” to help aid in their ministry.

Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.