Stewardship in Worship

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The Treasure Principle

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | October 2, 2020

The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn, is a small gift book with loads of wisdom for Christians in process. Its subtitle says it all: Discovering the secret of joyful giving. The foundation of our hidden treasure, says Alcorn, is in Matthew 6:19-21, where Jesus says that earthly treasures won’t last, in contrast to our treasures…

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Ask, Thank, Tell

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 20, 2020

“Stewardship has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by a sinister villain named Paying the Bills,” states Charles R. Lane in his book, Ask, Thank, Tell. But authentic stewardship is really about discipleship, biblically based, and centered on three simple verbs that can renew and clarify our local-church stewardship efforts. This refreshing book helped…

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Preaching Holistic Stewardship from the Trinity

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 7, 2020

Now is a natural time for pastors to be planning their preaching topics for the year ahead. How can we approach stewardship holistically – in its fullness – over the months ahead to include giving money but not let it take over all the other dimensions of stewarding God’s gifts? One helpful way is to…

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Most Important Ways to Make a Planned Gift

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 20, 2020

There are many helpful and creative ways to make a planned gift. Here are the most important ones, according to Renard J. Kolasa, Esq., of Couzens, Lansky:1 Outright gifts, particularly appreciated securities. Gifts at death via Will or Trust – perhaps the most important source of gifts other than outright cash gifts during life; should…

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Steps to Solitude

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 8, 2020

It’s good to learn about one or more of the spiritual disciplines – prayer, meditation, Scripture study, and more – but to actually practice them presupposes solitude, or the clarity of mind and heart that come from it. In these days of the pandemic, many may say, “With social distancing and staying home, I have…

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Helping Children Be Thankful

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 15, 2020

Almost every parent has been there: pressuring their young child to write the obligatory thank-notes to Aunt Charlotte and the next-door neighbor after Christmas or their birthday. But does sending those notes under mild duress make your kids really feel grateful? The fact is: we cannot make children be thankful. We can only make them…

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Writing in the Sand

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 22, 2020

“To speak of the heart is not to sentimentalize but to ensoul,” says author Thomas Moore. “There is a toughness and intelligence about living from the heart. . . .”1 Moore uses the phrase living from the heart to describe what the Gospels imply about a new sense of self: “openness to experience, to the…

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Ways to Track Our Growth as a Generous Congregation

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 7, 2020

Most church leaders want to help their congregations become more generous. But how do we do that? And how can we assess or measure our progress toward specific results? “Results” are what people will know, be, or do because of their stewardship exposure and experience. “Strategies” are action steps to achieve our results. For example,…

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A Cycle of Grace

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 6, 2020

Written for Voices and Silences, 2003 Grace, Giftedness, Giving and Growth – these four words, from Clif Christopher and Herb Mather’s book, Holy Smoke!, prompted me to reflect on these themes in my life. For me, they flow in a cycle, a deepening spiral, which begins and ends with God’s grace. From God’s side, it’s…

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Foundation Statement on Stewardship

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 5, 2020

Written for the General Board of Discipleship, The United Methodist Church, 2010 Stewardship is whatever we do with what God has entrusted to us by the way that we live. In response to God’s outpouring love and covenant faithfulness, we live out of God’s abundance instead of the illusion of scarcity thinking. We seek to…

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