Every month I add another newsletter article that your congregation is free to use — just cut and paste! It’s free for local, nonprofit use. Please just be respectful and include the copyright notice. Other uses? Inquire: firstname.lastname@example.org
January – 2022: Your year for generosity (271 words)
Make this a goal or resolution for 2022: “I will be more generous.” The spiritual discipline of generosity transforms us into people who experience the life abundant that Jesus talked about.
December – It’s the thought that counts (302 words)
“It’s the thought that counts.” That’s what we SAY about gift-giving, but then we focus on the gift itself, often tearing our hair out to find the “perfect” gift for someone who already has everything they need and want. The December Toolkit explores putting real thought behind gift-giving.
November – Thanksgiving’s path to contentment (277 words)
Being thankful for what you have, rather than craving what you lack, is a certain pathway to contentment. Why do so many people instead choose the path of incessant desire that leads to misery?
October – A harvest of sufficiency, contentment, and generosity (311 words)
This month’s newsletter article takes a new approach to “Harvest,” Using a passage from the 2,500-year-old book of Leviticus, we explore how God encourages us to examine our harvests to find sufficiency, contentment, and then generosity.
September – Stewardship is about setting good priorities (269 words)
Stewardship could be summed up as how we use our God-given gifts to draw closer to God and accomplish Godly purposes. And THAT’s mostly a matter of priorities.
July – Stewardship of our bodies (269 words)
God’s breath of life is what makes our bodies more than just 100-plus pounds of water and minerals, so it’s important to be good stewards of our bodies.
August – Stewardship of our leisure time (406 words)
Saints and mystics have long touted the need for rest and renewal. In the monastic tradition it’s referred to as otium sanctum – Holy Leisure. Not just wasting our free time, but using it for renewal. As steward/disciples, we aim to use our leisure time wisely. (An archive column from 2018)
June – Stewarding our relationships: Rehab, renew, repair (287 words)
The pandemic’s winding down and the summer’s winding up. It’s time to rehab and repair our relationships that have suffered as a result of our year of social distancing.
May – Stewards of our elders’ wisdom (266 words)
For thousands of years civilizations have honored and sought out the wisdom of their elders – the mother and father figures that have shaped and nourished them. As the 21st century unfolds, with its myriad problems, we need to listen to what our elders have to say.
April – Stewards of our natural world (285 words)
Care of God’s creation is turning out to be THE most important issue of our lifetime, as multiple environmental crises are converging in our lifetime to put into doubt the future of the planet’s habitability for future generations. This is not hyperbole, just science. God’s people are called to care … and get busy.
March – Lent: Time to go the second mile (301 words)
Thanks to vaccines, we can expect an end to the pandemic this year, but the economic recovery will linger much longer. This season of sacrifice and discipline, consider helping to relieve the suffering of Covid-19’s economic victims.
February – Love your neighbor (310 words)
Maybe John Lennon was right when he wrote the lyric, “All You Need is Love.” It’s been in very short supply in our world and nation. Good stewardship of our lives is rooted in the two commandments that Jesus identified as summarizing God’s message: Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself.
January – The Year of my wellbeing (253 words)
Last year was, as we say in my native Rhode Island, “Wicked Stressful!” The pandemic, the economy and a grueling political season really took a toll on our emotional, physical and spiritual health. That’s why it’s a good idea to emphasize wellbeing in 2021.
December – Prepare for a new thing (300 words)
In Advent and Christmas we rejoice in the “new thing” that God did for us with Jesus. 2020 has been such a turbulent year, December’s stewardship toolkit explores the question, “to what new thing is God calling us today?”
November – Let your thankfulness show (291 words)
Sages, mystics and prophets through the ages have taught us that cultivating an attitude of thankfulness will bring us closer to God and give us a happier and more fulfilling life.
And how do you cultivate thankfulness?
October – Share your harvest, if you are able (277 words)
Fall is the time for “Harvest Festivals,” but with so many of our siblings hurting from the Covid-19 crisis, it’s a ripe time to urge people to share their plenty with those in need.
September – Steward the common good (282 words)
Love for neighbor is a stewardship issue because we are appointed caretakers of all that God has entrusted to us, including community, relationships, and the welfare of others. Stewarding the common good is one way to achieve this.
August – Steward our future church (302 words)
For clarifying our thoughts and priorities, there’s nothing like a crisis. And Covid-19 is a biggie. How can we learn the lessons of the pandemic in order to steward our church for a better, brighter, more missionally focused future? It may start by asking the right questions.
July – We the People: Steward our democracy (303 words)
Amid a pandemic, racial tensions, economic instability, rising inequality, disparities in criminal justice and other issues, many are asking, “Who does the government really serve?” The Declaration of Independence reminds us that we’re in charge, and we have the power to make changes to direct the path our government is on.
June – Steward your new community! (276 words)
Like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon to new life as a butterfly, we can help our congregations and communities awaken from Covid-19 to a reality that is deeper, richer and more beautiful. Our painful lessons can help us grow stronger and more faithful than ever.
May – Will Covid-19 help us become better stewards? (292 words)
The virus crisis has dealt us pain aplenty, and we know that with pain comes growth. The questions are, when the disease moves on, what lessons will we have learned and what kind of people will we have become? Let us pray that with the Holy Spirit’s help we will be formed into better disciples of Jesus Christ.
April – Steward the Earth, our only home (278 words)
What kind of planet will we leave our great-grandchildren? Over the next 50 years, climate change and environmental crises will disrupt patterns of life and civilization that have existed for centuries. As caretakers of Earth, we can do better.
March – Steward your soul for a fuller life (273 words)
If we’re not careful, Jesus teaches us, our desires, ambitions and worries can overwhelm us and absorb all our energy, while our soul dries up like a plant without water. As stewards of our soul, we prayerfully pay attention — and enjoy a richer life.
February – Steward your life: Cultivate a heart of love (297 words)
Jesus challenges us to embrace love as the key discipline and develop a heart so full of love that it flows to even our enemies. Isn’t that how we’re supposed to live as disciples? It’s just good stewardship of our lives.
January – Steward your best year ever! (300 words)
Though it’s not the most common use of the word, steward is also a verb, an action word. We steward all that God has entrusted to us, making choices that, as Mark Allan Powell says, help us “be the people God wants us to be and have the lives God wants us to have.”
December – How do you use your perfect gift? (318 words)
We ought to make good use of our gifts, but most of us have a few Christmas presents, given and received in love, that are forlornly collecting dust in a drawer or closet. That’s not very good stewardship.More important than a bottle of perfume or a loud tie, how are you stewarding that most precious of all Christmas gifts?
November – 30 Days of Thanksgiving (273 words)
Thankful people are happy people. It’s not just a feel-good slogan on a refrigerator magnet or bumper sticker; it’s proven science. So why aren’t Christians more thankful and happy? While we all sometimes face hardships that can avert our thankfulness, many of us simply take our blessings for granted.
October – Wants, needs, and the path to contentment (322 words)
Many of us suffer from insatiable desire simply because we have never learned the difference between needs and wants. As a result, we live unsettled lives of continually grasping for more. God can help us learn what we need to know to find contentement.
September – Stewardship of our intelligence and gifts (383 words)
This month millions of folks go back toclassroom for another year of education, training their brains for higher thinking, deepening their knowledge and learning new skills. How about you? Good stewardship calls us always to be learning, growing, developing our God-given abilities.
August – Deceived by “The lie of more!” (392 words)
Many of God’s people have squandered abundance for scarcity by falling prey to the devil’s lie that true happiness and true peace are within our grasp if we only have a little more … more stuff, more money, more experiences. We can fight this lie!
July – Stewardship of our civic freedoms (364 words)
As Americans celebrate the birthday of our nation, we give thanks for our civic freedoms that have made us the envy of much of the world. But as with any valuable gift, our civic freedoms can be abused, neglected or underappreciated. We need to be better stewards.
June – Develop a heart of generosity (352 words)
It feels good to give, but we are blessed with so much more when we give generously. The act of giving truly blesses us by shaping our personalities and developing our character. That’s a truth affirmed by research. June – Develop a heart of generosity
May – Stewardship of Community (281 words)
Though God has filled the world with neighbors for us to love, we have a special opportunity and responsibility with the ones in close proximity to us. Across the nation congregations are finding new life, energy and purpose by making connections to the community of neighbors surrounding them.
April – Stewardship of God’s ‘very good’ creation (291 words)
Six times while creating the heavens and the earth God pauses and sees that it is “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 26). But when all is completed, God marvels and calls it “very good.” Today that “very good” creation is under extreme strain. As God-appointed stewards of creation (Genesis 1:28), we have to admit we’re failing. We must do a better job.
March – Holistic Stewardship for Lent (380 words)
For your Lenten faith discipline this year, try working on an attitude of holistic stewardship. That is, prayerfully, joyfully and thankfully examining the interconnectedness and interdependency of the many blessings God gives us, and how our stewardship of any one can affect our stewardship of the other. For instance, if we are better stewards of our time, might that help us be better stewards of our relationships?
February – Stewardship of loving relationships (323 words)
This is the month of love, and most of us are pretty good about loving our friends and family. But Jesus calls us to love everyone — even our enemies. This is a tall order, but learning to love the unlovable transforms us into Christians who can transform a world of hate.
January – Stewardship of time (423 words)
Every day is sacred; every day presents opportunities to live more fully in relationship with God and our neighbors; every day is for love and joy and peace and fulfillment. Yet it’s all to easy to let the days slip away. This month consider a focus on stewardship of your time – how you spend every day God gives you.
December – Stewardship for Advent & Christmas (329 words)
Many of us cherish everything about the Christmas season — except those incessant advertisements telling us to buy this and by that. We ask, “Where’s Jesus in all this commercialism?” The question challenges us to examine the role money plays in our personal lives and our culture.
November – Stewardship and gratitude (321 words)
Gratitude is the attitude, the key that can unlock the doors of our lives to more joy, satisfaction, contentment, love and peace. Gratitude undergirds everything we do as disciples of Christ and stewards of the gifts with which God entrusts us.
October – Stewardship of our money (305 words)
Jesus often uses words of caution when teaching about money. Jesus warns us of money’s power to capture our souls and turn us from loving God first and most, and then our neighbors as ourselves. Because we North Americans live in a wealthy culture, the temptation to love money more than God and neighbor is high.
September – Stewardship of our work life (262 words)
The priesthood of all believers has been characterized as Martin Luther’s most underappreciated theological insight. Simply put, Luther observed that God calls all Christians — not just pastors — to lives of holiness.
August – Stewardship of church (360 words)
Steward-discipleship means taking care of all that God has blessed us with. We think of our health, our relationships and our money, but our church? You bet! The church the only organization whose primary purpose is to bring people into intimate relationship with God and also gather them as sacred community.
July – Stewardship of our leisure time (406 words)
Saints and mystics have long touted the need for rest and renewal. In the monastic tradition it’s referred to as otium sanctum – Holy Leisure. Not just wasting our free time, but using it for renewal. As steward/disciples, we aim to use our leisure time wisely.
June – Stewardship of our physical health (456 words)
God has given each of us a physical body that, like an automobile, is a complex vehicle carries us along our road of life. To live the fullest life possible, like our cars, we need to take good care of our bodies. We in the United States have significant room for improvement.
May – Thank God for our families (393 words)
Family is one of our most valuable gifts from God, and one that, as all holy gifts, we are entrusted to treasure, love and nourish. As parents, we are responsible for nourishing children to become healthy adults. And as children, we are responsible for caring for parents as they age.
April – Thank God for our food (392 words)
With every mouthful at every meal we thank God for our daily bread, and for the soil, air and water that sustains life. Easter and springtime are perfect occasions to celebrate God’s miracle of life that gives us fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, fish and dairy foods.
March – Consider a Lenten ‘Facebook fast’ (353 words)
God entrusts us to treasure and use wisely all that we have and all we are. Growing evidence concludes that excessive digital media not only wastes our time but also may cloud our thinking.
February – Ash Wednesday stewardship (454 words)
The essential teaching of Ash Wednesday – that we are just mortals, after all – crushes our ego, dispels our pretentions and drives us deep into God’s mysteries. Why are we here? What are our lives all about? What’s really important?
January – Your year of gratitude (486 words)
People who are grateful for all they have and all they are tend to be happy and content. Moreover, don’t they also tend to possess spiritual depth and emotional maturity? A coincidence? Hardly.
December – Make a year-end contribution to your church (441 words)
In the excitement and busyness of celebrating the new beginning, we may forget to plan for an important ending – the close of the year for both our taxes and our church finances.
November – Generosity flows from gratitude (408 words)
Would you like to be a more generous person, possessing a generous heart? Try embracing gratitude as a spiritual practice. Since Thanksgiving is the fourth Sunday of this month, November is a great time to give it a try.
October – Our Harvest of Blessings (459 words)
Fall harvest provides a wonderful metaphor for how we are stewards of all the blessings that God gives us. We know that God has given us wonderful, amazing gifts.
September – Consider Percentage Giving (443 words)
Again and again the Bible lifts up tithing – giving a tenth of our income – as a benchmark for faithful giving. Yet most Christians fall quite short of tithing, generally giving less than 3 percent to the church?
August – The problem (and power) of money (495 words)
Wealth poses deep spiritual risks for the people of God. From Jesus’ teachings we learn that money has the power to turn us inward on ourselves — away from loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
July – Be a good steward of your body this summer (587 words)
The good news for everyone, regardless of body type, is that eating well and exercising more can help improve our physical health and shed extra pounds. Paying attention to diet and exercise will put life in your years and add years to your life.
June – Continue your offerings through summer (514 words)
While the world is vacationing this summer, your church continues to be busy, and the bills continue to roll in. Many congregants have no plan to keep their offerings current when they are away. That’s why so many congregations face a cash crunch in the summer months. Here are some ideas for how to help your congregation maintain its finances in the summer months.
May – The bedrock of stewardship (554 words)
Wouldn’t it be great to live in perfect harmony with your neighbors? To have all that you need? To be more loving, more generous, more spiritual than you ever imagined possible? Acts shows us the way.
April – Let’s celebrate God’s creation (589 words)
Our environment faces many challenges. Climate change is melting glaciers, raising sea levels, shifting the seasons, threatening extinction of many species and altering rainfall and growing patterns. Pollution sickens people and introduces chemicals into our environment that are harmful to people, animals and plants. What environmental problems worry you? What can Christians do?
March – Make giving your Lenten discipline (525 words)
This year, make financial giving a part of your Lenten discipline. For the eight weeks of Lent, give more generously to your congregation. And make it a sacrificial discipline – an amount large enough to be significant in whatever way is best for you.
February – We nourish and care for healthy relationships (443 words)
February is a good month to celebrate healthy, loving relationships, and not just between two people but also throughout the whole human family. Good stewardship involves taking good care of all the gifts God gives us, and certainly healthy, loving relationships count among the most precious.
January – This year make stewardship resolutions (520 words)
Go ahead and make resolutions, but this year rebrand them as Stewardship Resolutions. After all, Christian stewardship starts with the premise that we actually own nothing because God owns it all.
December – Hope, peace, joy and love (459 words)
How distressing that Christians have allowed our culture to refocus Advent into a season primarily of buying and selling. We have taken our Lord’s holiday and turned it into a marketplace. But scripture and spiritual disciplines help refocus us on what’s really important.
November – A budget is a statement of faith (294 words)
If we present the budget to our congregations as opportunities to invest in the Reign of God and stretch ourselves to see how much we can do with even the nickels and dimes God has given us, then the possibilities increase.
October – What do we really own? (375 words)
So much of our energy and time and life are spent trying to accumulate more and more – as if we were going to have it forever, as we ourselves were going to live forever. The danger is that we spend so much effort accumulating wealth that it diverts us from the things in life that are really important.
September – Stewardship sounds easy, but it isn’t! (473 words)
Because of God’s generosity we are to be generous with all that we receive from the almighty. What do we receive? Everything. All that we are and all that we have are the Lord’s, the creator and the giver.