Stewardship Questions and Answers

At the Annual International Catholic Stewardship Conference, we saw the powerful way stewardship is working in the Church.  Here at Ascension, we are just entering our 5th year of Stewardship as a Way of Life.  We were affirmed by what we learned:  things that still need to be done, things we want to do and most significantly, the many things we are doing right!  We heard many times that stewardship is a journey of faith that has an eternal destination.

Included below are links to several common questions and answers about stewardship taken from a book by James Kelly, one of the renowned speakers we heard at the Conference in Miami.  We know this information will continue to strengthen our stewardship journey both personally and as a parish.

What are the rewards and results of sharing our gifts of time, talent and treasure for others?

What do I want my church to be?

Is stewardship only a gimmick for raising more money for the Church?

How are we to give of our time, talent and treasure, and how important is it?

What are the rewards and results of sharing our gifts of time, talent, and treasure for others?

What is "Church"?

What are the rewards and results of sharing our gifts of time, talent and treasure for others?  Doing so brings satisfaction, peace and joy to the giver's heart; builds up our family, community, Church and world; means we are following Jesus' words and example; fulfills the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the exhortations of the Holy Father and deepens our relationship with God and improves our connections with God's creations on earth; and helps alleviate those difficulties caused by the shortage of clergy and the lack of funds that the Church faces in the United States today.

This particular question concludes a book by Rev. Joseph M. Champlin, called Sharing Gifts:  A Spirituality of Time, Talent and Treasure.  Father Champlin identifies courage and trust as the two fundamental virtues required in the hearts of people who accept and follow the principles of sacrificial giving.  However, he challenges that our time, rather than our treasure, is our most precious commodity.  To surrender a portion of our few available hours to help in our Church and our community takes planning and "courageous generosity" of self and spirit.  Most of us are slaves to our calendars, carefully planning our meetings, weekends, dinners, kids' activities, etc., etc.

Some of our volunteer work might be dictated by our children's schools or even our employers, but the time we give in stewardship to our Church and/or community should be dictated by our hearts.  We should share our time, using the best that God gave us; our talents.  When we use our talents and strengths in our volunteer work, we will enjoy it and others will see the "courageous generosity" in our gift of time.

Fr. Champlin also challenges us to trust.  When we enter a life of stewardship, we take a leap of faith.  We trust that in our giving, we will still be able to meet our needs and many of our wants as well.  We trust that God is never outdone in His generosity.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God ... and all these things will be given you besides."  Matt 6:31-33

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 What do I want my church to be?  The following reflection is from the Diocese of San Diego.  It is truly "food for thought."

My church is composed of people like me.

I help make it what it is.

It will be friendly, if I am.

Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.

It will do great work, if I work.

It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.

It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.

It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit, if I who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.

Therefore, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my church to be.

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Is stewardship only a gimmick for raising more money for the Church?  No, not even close!  First, stewardship is based on the spiritual principles of the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The Bible has dozens of references to stewardship and Jesus specifically talks about stewardship in His parables.  He made it very clear how he wanted His followers to live a Christian life and share with others not only our treasure but also our time and talents.  So, stewardship is based on God's Word, not on fudnraising to meet the needs of the church.

Second, stewardship is based on the individual's need to give, not on the Church's need to receive.  Stewardship is based on the premise that all we have and all that we are comes from God.  As a way to thank God for all our blessings, we return a portion of the time, talent and treasure allotted to us.  So a person''s decision to give of their time, talent and treasure is based on their need to give.

Third, giving of time, talent and treasure is not limited to the Church.  Some people will give a portion of their time and talent as volunteers to community agencies in addition to volunteering in their parish.  Many also give money to other community agencies in addition to supporting their parish.  In short, stewardship is not a fundraising gimmick, but rather, a way of life based on spiritual principles. BACK TO TOP

 


 

How are we to give of our time, talent and treasure, and how important is it?  Stewardship involves intentional, planned and proportionate giving of our gifts of time, talent and treasure: Intentional – A well thought out, deliberate discussion is made to live out the Christian life in a certain way. That way is to thank God for all our blessings by returning to the Lord a portion of the gifts allotted to us.  Planned – At the beginning of every year, we pray together and discuss as a family how we will give of our time and talent and budget our gifts of treasure.  Proportionate – We include in our planning the amount of time we plan to share and the percentage of our monetary gifts we will give.   Our total stewardship is important to our personal growth, to our families, to our church and to our community. Giving of our time involves being with God in prayer and worship, sharing our love with family and friends and volunteering in our church and community to help others and promote justice. When we share our talents, we recognize the abilities and strengths that God has given us and we develop them for the good of others. In sharing our material gifts, we enable our church and community organizations to carry out their missions of assistance and outreach. Our stewardship becomes second nature; it is the way we share our lives in obedience and gratitude to God. BACK TO TOP

 

What are the rewards and results of sharing our gifts of time, talent, and treasure for others? Doing so: brings satisfaction, peace, and joy to the giver’s heart; builds up our family, community, Church, and world; means we are following Jesus’ words and example; fulfills the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the exhortations of the Holy Father, and the pronouncements of our own bishops; deepens our relationship with God and betters our connections with God’s creations on earth; and helps alleviate those difficulties caused by the shortage of clergy and the lack of funds that the Church faces in the United States today.  This question concludes a book by Rev. Joseph M. Champlin, called Sharing Gifts: A Spirituality of Time, Talent and  Treasure. Father Champlin identifies courage and trust as the two fundamental virtues required in the hearts of people who accept and follow the principles of sacrificial giving. However, he challenges that our time, rather than our treasure, is our most precious commodity. To surrender a portion of our few available hours to help in our Church and our community takes planning and “courageous generosity” of self and spirit. Most of us are slaves to our calendars, carefully planning our meetings, weekends, dinners, kids’ activities, etc. etc.  Some of our volunteer work might be dictated by our children’s schools or even our employers, but the time we give in stewardship to our Church and/or community should be dictated by our hearts. We should share our time, using the best that God gave us; our talents. When we use our talents and strengths in our volunteer work, we will enjoy it and others will see the “courageous generosity” in our gift of time.

Fr. Champlin also challenges us to trust. When we enter a life of stewardship, we take a leap of faith. We trust that in our giving, we will still be able to meet our needs and many of our wants as well. We trust that God is never outdone in His generosity. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…and all these things will be given you besides.” – Matt 6:31-33  BACK TO TOP

What is "Church"? Spring is a time of renewal, growth and promise.  We rejoice and celebrate at Easter with the promise that we will live eternally with our God in Heaven.  The newness and beauty of spring is a reminder of the awesome power and to relect upon "church" and our personal responsibilities as members of the Body of Christ.
At the very heart of stewardship is recognizing our gifts from God.  In our humanity, we often forget why we are here, what God is calling us to do.  We need to be reminded, through prayer and relationship, that God is calling us to something greater than ourselves to carry out the mission and ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ.  St Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, illustrates this beautifully:
"...Live in a manner of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism; One God and Father of all." (Eph. 4:1-6)
We are "One Body" in our universal church.  We have a responsibility as good stewards to reach beyond our own parish; to our diocese and to our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout our nation and our world.  We do this through our monetary gifts to the Diocesan Services Appeal, to Catholic Relief Services and to various missions around the world.  We also reach out in stewardship through our prayers.  We should never question what our individual gifts can accomplish.  Each and every gift is important.  It is the uniqe contribution of each invidual that unites to build the Kingdom of God; our One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

 

 




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