Stewardship work in the church should be a good experience.
Too often, however, it is “as much fun as a root canal,” to
quote Herb Miller, nationally known author and church consultant on stewardship.
On March 14, 66 people from 25 congregations met at Good Shepherd Lutheran
Church, Reading (Tuckerton), to explore Miller’s faith-based stewardship
concept. Pastors Gene Handwerk and Jim Wolford, associates of the bishop
of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, were the workshop leaders.
The March 14 workshop, Blessed to be a Blessing: Linking Financial Giving
and Spiritual Growth in Your Congregation, was an abbreviated and updated
version of Miller’s workshop to more than 400 people in September
2003. (See Blessed to be a Blessing, October 2003 issue of Partners in
the Spirit.) Several of these workshops have been or will be held across
The “stewardship as root canal” problem, in part, is that
we have confused stewardship with fund-raising. Stewardship is not fund-raising.
Faith-based stewardship is a ministry that helps us grow in faith, discover
the generosity of God, and respond with trust and love.
While the world around us teaches us to fear scarcity, God calls us to
trust in God’s abundance. “It’s not just ‘giving
to meet a budget,’” said one participant. “Stewardship
is thanking God for God’s abundant gifts.”
“I am even more convinced this [New Consecration Sunday] is the way to
go,” said another participant, who had also attended the workshop
with Miller in September. “We’re planning on using it this
Attendance at these workshops has been excellent and evaluations have
been positive. More workshops are planned. If you would like more information,
email Jim Wolford (Jim.Wolford@Ecunet.org) or Gene Handwerk (Gene.Handwerk@Ecunet.org).
As one participant said on the evaluation sheet, “The most important
thing I learned is that the synod can be practically helpful and has