By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
I am discontent with church stewardship campaigns. That veiled attempt by churches to get their hands into my pockets. How dare they! Shouldn’t they be about spiritual things? These are the Sundays I will definitely sleep in!
I guess that’s why Christ Church put me on the Stewardship Team. As a result, we have worked hard in the past year to do something many thought impossible—reclaim what Stewardship is really meant to be about…discipleship.
Now I am really excited about what Christ Church is launching on October 5 and focusing on for six weeks! A Discipleship Campaign—Walking the Path.
Essentially, a steward is a manager. A steward manages another person’s property, resources, or affairs. If we accept that the God who created the heavens and earth, the animals and the birds, you and me…then we must accept the fact that everything we see, everything we have, everything we use really belongs to God. All the time at our disposal. All the talents that make us unique. All the resources by which we live. All the relationships that connect us. It’s all His! And, we are simply managers of these great gifts for the purpose of helping God build His Kingdom. We manage these gifts by our prayers, presence, giving, service and witness. The real question is: how well are we doing at being a manager and how do we get better? That is the central question of Walking the Path…and not “how do we get people to give more money” (thank God!).
If we can help people grow in their ability to manage God’s gifts, ALL of God’s gifts, then we are helping them to grow closer to Jesus AND become better skilled at accomplishing Jesus’ mission of redeeming the world! That’s discipleship! And that’s the whole point!
No church we have found is doing this. So, our unique approach is to help people:
1) understand that Stewardship is really Discipleship;
2) evaluate themselves in how well they are being a manager;
3) make a commitment to a step forward in being a better manager.
You may be wondering, “Where is the emphasis on money? Am I going to have to listen to six money sermons? Isn’t this a bait-and-switch? What’s the catch?”
Simply put: You are the catch. Jesus asked his disciples to fish for people, to baptize them, to teach them to follow Him. Jesus still needs skilled, maturing disciples to transform this world…and we believe that this is a step in the right direction—finally!
We want to help those who are serious about growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. So, this year, we are focusing our Stewardship campaign on what it is meant to be…a Discipleship Campaign…in five key areas—prayer, presence, gifts, service and witness.
What makes this especially unique is that we will give you the tools to evaluate and appreciate exactly where you are, but also help you design your own next step in each of those areas. By spending 30 minutes each week in the Discover Your Path Personal Workbook, you will begin to get a sense of how you can customize your walk with Jesus.
Many small groups are participating in the distinctive Walking the Path Study. This is not your typical Sunday school class, but an experiential approach designed to help people dig deeper and find support from each other. If your group is not doing this study, feel free to use our curriculum on your own or attend my drop-in class at 10:05 am Sunday mornings in the Parlor.
While we are all striving to walk more closely with Jesus, it still IS a walk. The workbook, the small groups, and the sermon series from October 5 to November 9 are singularly designed to help you figure out how you can take a step forward on your path in following Jesus.
I still hate stewardship campaigns. But I am willing to give this one a chance. I hope you will too. I think it could make a dramatic difference.