Creating a Generous Congregation

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Smartphone Addictions

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 5, 2016

Technology has made so many things possible, with literally global access to knowledge and information. I was stunned years ago, when I first had the chance to go on the Internet. At that time I was working on my doctoral thesis – and got into thirteen libraries around the world in a half-hour’s time, all…

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“Stewardship and Culture” course

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 15, 2016

I’m excited to teach an online course on “Stewardship and Culture: Building Contagious Generosity” this next Jan. 9 through Feb. 11. Registration will be open beginning in December at The class will feature four audio-video presentations, an interactive online Class Forum, and four weekly live conference calls on Saturdays, Jan. 21 and 28 and…

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What Stuff Means

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 20, 2016

In The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff in Its Place, Lynn Miller has a great exercise for our personal reflection. It goes like this (my paraphrases): For each word on this list, write down what it means to you. There are no wrong answers. House Car Salary Food Clothes Cash Savings Retirement…

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Impact Investing

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 23, 2016

“Impact investing” was a new phrase to me until I saw a piece on YouTube. The term refers to microfinancing: loaning very small amounts of money to individuals to help solve economic and social problems. Microfinancing is a market of about 100 billion dollars today, serving roughly 100 million people by giving loans of 50…

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Giving Simply

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 7, 2015

“I never carry my checkbook to church. Ninety percent of the time I make financial giving decisions, it’s in front of the computer monitor. How can I even participate in supporting the church financially when you don’t have online giving or even automatic transfer?” The young woman looked around at the room filled with stewardship…

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Money Sanity Solutions

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 6, 2015

Written for “Live Free,” the 2015 issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center When it comes to money, families often go silent out of fear or taboo, or else yell in rancor, born of financial anxiety and family conflict. So how do children learn healthy money habits from…

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Giving Tuesday

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 12, 2014

What a beautiful gift some anonymous donor has made for the United Methodist “#GivingTuesday”! For the one day of December 2, every gift made online to The Advance at will be matched, up to $1 million. “The Advance” is a collective term for hundreds of grassroots United Methodist mission projects in the U.S. and…

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‘Tis the Season

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | October 28, 2014

By now, those of us who attend worship somewhere most likely have noticed that ‘tis the season for financial commitment programs – what many church leaders call “stewardship campaigns.” It’s when we think about God’s overwhelming generosity of blessings in our lives, and respond by financially supporting God’s work right here on earth, primarily through…

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Dealing with Possessions

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 6, 2014

“Too much stuff” can be a challenge at any point in life. I read a terrific article by two newlyweds who discovered a way to “navigate the jungle of wedding gifts,” offered an alternative giving site for their wedding, and worked out some powerful “slow living practices” that they are instigating in their young-adult lives.…

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The Power of Enough

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | April 2, 2014

As we enter Thanksgiving and the gift-buying days leading up to Christmas, now is a great time to talk about what is enough. According to the consumer version of this season (in the U.S., at least), excess becomes our expectation, even our norm: excess food, excess buying, excess entertainment and activity. “Enough” is a word…

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