Happy stewardship season!
I get it. It’s incredibly awkward to preach about money, especially when the biggest chunk of most churches’ budgets goes to personnel – namely, your salary.
But please, for the love, do not approach stewardship messages with a “let’s just get through this” mentality. Do not make jokes about visitors choosing the wrong Sunday to try out your worship service for the first time. Do not blame your finance committee for making you talk about a significant spiritual issue. Preach that sermon as proudly as if you were riffing on Jesus’ two greatest commandments, because giving is one expression of loving God, loving others, and loving self.
Stretching to give more toward God’s work in the world is a spiritual discipline, an opportunity to grow closer to God and God’s children. In other words, you are not asking for charity in your stewardship messages. You are helping your people grow as disciples of Christ. (The flip side of asking people to stretch in their giving is making sure their money truly is being used to further God’s work in the world.)
Ok, rant over. Here are some tips to make sermons about money less antacid-requiring:
Explain how stewardship is a spiritual matter as well as a practical one. Many people don’t understand that a stewardship campaign is not just about keeping the lights on in the church.
Be honest about your own struggles/aspirations to give. Let your parishioners know that you’re preaching to yourself as much as to them.
Talk about your church budget as a ministry action plan. Make clear how every aspect of that plan helps the congregation fulfill its mission. (So it’s also important to have a current, carefully-discerned mission statement!)
Preach about stewardship throughout the year. This brings home its importance, and no one has to dread a drawn-out campaign in the fall.
May your stewardship season be inspiring and fruitful, and may your Tums supply remain untouched.