Exploring Christian Giving Three training modules for Clergy and Readers
Background Theological what the Bible has to say about creation, gifts, responsibility, accountability, tithing, jubilee, the grace of giving, discipleship, ownership, relationship to the things of God, generosity etc. Three elements in the training
Background Personal – money and me the development of the individual leader and their understanding of and relationship to their gifts, money and possessions to help them have a balanced relationship with these things. Three elements in the training
Background Practical the importance of challenging Church people with the principles and practice of Christian stewardship and the benefits that come from addressing vision and commitment in a regular and not haphazard way. Three elements in the training
Salvation and Stewardship how do I get into a relationship with God? l in the light of that relationship, how should I live? Problem - we try to teach the answer to the second question to people who have not yet experienced the necessarily prior relationship with the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit. The two great messages of Scripture might be summarised by the questions:
From Receiving and Giving: “There are few aspects of life in general, and Christian life and ministry in particular, which cannot be described in terms of stewardship. It seems right therefore, while acknowledging the importance of stewardship in the wider sphere, to concentrate on the crucial matter of the stewardship of our financial resources. The Church is called to mission. God in his grace has called us to share in that mission. Such a call involves our co-operation with God in the funding of that mission.” Bishop Roy Williamson
For discussion 1.“One great problem often is that we are trying to teach the answer to the question about how we should live to people who have not yet experien- ced the necessarily prior relationship with the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit.” How true is this statement for your parish and why are you in that situation? 2.How long before a giving programme should the issue of peoples’ relationship with God in Christ be tackled in your preaching and teaching?
texts or themes? Preaching needs to look wider: 2/3 of Jesus’ parables are about money and wealth He taught a ‘counter-cultural’ message He attempted to change peoples attitudes to their wealth The early churches clearly believed strongly that they should support one another ‘proof-texting’ is often dangerous, and can be stale – for the preacher and the hearer!
Old Testament General teaching on stewardship of creation and wealth Specific teaching points The Old Testament is quarried by preachers for two purposes: On the specific teaching points, how much weight can these individual Old Testament texts stand?
For discussion 1. Is there a key Bible passage that has, over the years, affected your own personal attitude to money and giving? 2. When you need to preach about giving, wealth and funding mission, do you tend to: a)look to scripture for general principles about ‘the cost of discipleship’ and ‘bearing one another’s burdens’? b)simply talk about funding the life of the church by leaning heavily on one or more key texts?
For discussion 3. Look at one of these passages: Mark 12:41-44 – the widow’s mite Malachi 3:6-12 – robbing God 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 – each of you should set aside a sum… How might it be properly used and how might it be abused in preaching about stewardship? 4. The model of inter-dependence, sharing, and bearing one another’s burdens is critical to the Church of England’s parish share system. Where would you look for its biblical roots?
Stewardship and vision “Where there is no vision the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 Christian stewardship implies having a goal or a vision by which we can properly manage our resources and motivate people’s giving.
What is Stewardship? inclusive not exclusive not just about money the whole Christian life discipleship managing our God-given resources responsibility
Steward as Manager of creation of ‘the mysteries of God’ of God’s different gifts of grace
Stewardship is for Mission to be a Christian Steward is to intend to be aligned with God’s mission in his world to this end we make the best use of our resources corporate and personal as the Body of Christ
Four observations Human beings need a sense of direction Initially the Church was given a sense of direction by the Spirit at Pentecost Often today many local churches have little idea of direction Human beings are better motivated by a sense of purpose
Stewardship and vision A vision-building programme is essential Value each person’s contribution to the consultation Make aims and objectives and carry them out Giving is then seen in the context of mission and related to a sacramental view of reality
For discussion 1.How do the ‘four observations’ relate to your congregation? 2.What are your reactions to this way of seeing the steward as manager? 3.What are the difficulties in running a giving programme in a parish where the people have no sense of vision?
We have a generous God! < his character is generosity < his nature is to give < he can do no other < God is love < the essence of loving is giving
Giving starts with God! < that’s Gospel! < He loved us first < He created us < He redeems us < He gives us His Spirit
Reflecting God’s generosity by being an attractive community –in our lifestyle –in our relationships –in our worship all marked by a spirit of loving generosity
in individuals giving to the Church in the Church giving in ministry and mission in the giving of mutual support within the Church -between parishes -between dioceses Reflecting God’s generosity
Giving money to the Church
"name": "Giving money to the Church
Always begin with Jesus
"name": "Always begin with Jesus
Giving is part of worship “We offer you ourselves, our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice.”
God looks for a response < in our whole lives < including our cash Our giving has to grow if the depth of our life in Christ is to grow …… It’s not so much that we give because there’s a need – rather we need to give if we are to grow as Christians.
For discussion How can we express liturgically that giving money is a part of our worship? For homework Write a programme that you would implement to help a local church to discover a vision
Personal discipleship Consider the stories about Annette the rural parish priest George the experienced incumbent (?) Kevin the first incumbent Susan the reader and solicitor What would you say to these individuals?
For personal reflection What has been your experience with money? Has it left scars on you? Do you handle your own finances well? Do you seek help when you need it or, for example, do you leave bills unopened in a drawer? How comfortable are you with your own giving to the church and other charitable activities? Can you understand the clergyman who said, “I’ve given my life to the Lord, I can’t give him my money as well.” Would you be comfortable in challenging Susan?
Choices Some of the choices are: To whom do we give? How much? What should I give? Our teaching and example need to demonstrate that stewardship is not simply about funding the church’s mission (and maintenance...). It is a lifestyle choice, brought about by moving into fuller and more faithful discipleship.
Choice: To whom do we give? Many have a broad Christian experience: during their lives they have been involved with voluntary societies, mission agencies, development projects, etc. There may be theological colleges, or others who have been formative in their own understanding of ministry. Most clergy are not content to give solely to their local church and want to support other activities on a regular basis.
But there can be negative reasons, too. Sometimes it’s to do with resentment that their household should be the biggest single giver to the church, when there are parishioners whose incomes are very much greater than theirs. Or they feel unable to give the church wholehearted financial support at the moment. Choice: To whom do we give?
Stephen Smith’s giving grid Christian ‘Kingdom values’ Other Local£750£100£75 National£300£50£25 Inter- national £150£50 Cash totals£1200£200£100
Choice: How much should I give? A tithe of every pound you are paid? A tithe of take-home pay? A tithe of income after basic living costs are taken into account? Some will say there is no question: we are called to tithe our income. But this may mean different things to different people:
Choice: How much should I give? The preacher must also relate tithing to the concept of proportionate giving. The preacher should also stress the official Church of England giving target: 5% of take-home pay to and through the local church (leaving (perhaps) 5% for other causes)
Choice: How much should I give? Perhaps the preacher must say something like: Tithing is not a rule for you to slavishly follow. It is a choice you can make. You must be able to justify your choice about a level of giving to God your household your bank manager Whatever choice you make, a prayerful choice will liberate you. You must stick to it. And review it in a year’s time.
Choice: What should I give? Old-fashioned stewardship programmes majored on time, talents and money. but really all about money? The preacher would do well to stress the Christian approach to wealth and generosity in explicit terms. But also go beyond that to honour and congratulate those whose stewardship of their time and skills can make a difference.
For discussion 1.What is the risk to the church if we preach more about stewardship and generosity in general, and less about tithing or ‘paying our way’ in particular? 2.What does your own giving grid look like? Are you satisfied with that distribution? 3.The preacher cannot give people hard rules about these choices. All he or she can do is remind people that they must make some choices. Is this a true statement about the limits of the preacher’s task?
The Church? How do you think of the Church? business – a charity whose accounts must be ‘in the black’. place of escape – where they can go to pray, sing and worship. supportive community – whose people and activities help them through their life. part of the fabric of the community – always there, to be repaired and beautified catalyst for justice and change – with a different set of values to society at large
Model 1: The Church in business terms At parish level, this model requires some pie charts or other simple explanation of the parish’s incomings and outgoings. The diocese, too, can be presented (with some necessary simplifications) as a medium-sized business, with the key income sources and costs clearly highlighted. The National church picture is more complex. Nevertheless, the different institutions (Archbishops’ Council, Pensions Board, Church Commissioners) can each have something to illustrate the size of their budget and the main categories of income and expenditure.
St Average’s, Borchester – weekly income £434 Weekly income: Planned giving £177 (46%) Cash collections £ 126 (33%) Other sources £82 (21%) Gift Aid taxback £49 (11%)
Where does our Parish Share go? 2004: 490 parishes - £9.9 million – 240 clergy – 44 lay staff £7,430,000 £1,580,000
CHURCH COMMISSIONERS ARCHBISHOPS’ COUNCIL DIOCESES PARISHES PARISH SHARE STIPENDS HOUSING INVESTMENTS CAPITAL STIPEND SUPPORT TRAINING ORDINANDS PENSION FUND PENSIONS CATHEDRALS APPORTIONMENT BISHOPS £570m £70m £120m £40m £50m £350m £35m £15m £100m £15m £55m £200m £220m £25m £5m £25m
Model 2: An inter-dependent organism Stronger parishes pay more than their share Weaker parishes pay in less Parishes with curates have them paid in addition to their incumbent, without large increases in share [NB: depends on exact method of calculation in each diocese…] This diocese receives £Ym/does not receive any selective allocation from the Church Commissioners while another [example] receives £Xm In this model, it’s not about balance sheets; it’s about helping each other. But it is under- girded by a Christian use of money.
The parish share A fund in which costs are pooled and every parish shares A contribution to the cost of providing ministry Not just in ‘our parish’ but in every parish –Rich or poor –Urban or rural –Confident or struggling Without this inter-dependent system, there would be no stipendiary ministry in large swathes of the diocese.
The funding of the Church Two thirds comes from individual givers in parishes across the country and from other funds raised in parishes. A third comes from the income generated by investments at parish and diocesan level and from the Church’s historic endow- ments managed by the Church Commissioners. A small amount comes from the fees paid for weddings and funerals Funds come from
The funding of the Church Funds are spent Almost half pays for clergy stipends, housing and training and pensions A fifth is used for church building repairs and new building work A small amount is given away to work outside the Church A third supports the local mission and the day-to-day running costs of the ministry in parishes
For discussion 1.If the parish share / common fund system did not exist in this diocese, would you have to invent it? 2.To what extent do the people you preach to understand ‘the church’ in business terms? To what extent do they understand it as part of an inter- dependent organism? Is there a balance that needs redressing?
For discussion 3.If the diocesan structures were to be swept away, how would you ensure a)ministry in weaker (say rural or UPA) parishes could be continued b) stronger churches continued to support weaker ones 4. How would you explain the parish share system to your congregation?
The context of giving Spirituality Teaching Information Management Human Motivation Giving money to the church happens in context
Why give to the Church? What does the bible say about giving to the community of faith? picture of a loving Community whose shared life reflected the generosity of the Life of God himself. Mutual responsibility is a notable mark of the New Testament Church. Financial provision was made for the support of those in ministry, just as it had been among the People of God in Old Testament times. Provision was made, too, for supporting brothers and sisters who were less well-off.
Our financial giving should be Why give to the Church? REGULAR “every Sunday” UNIVERSAL “each of you” COMMITTED “must” PROPORTIONATE “in proportion to what you have earned”
For discussion 1.Discuss the importance of the five aspects of the context of giving. 2.Do you agree that the Church has been better at passing on its teaching about God rather than the experience of God? 3.What other aspects of the context of giving do you think are important? 4.What do you perceive to be the difference between Teaching and Information with regard to giving?
Preaching Christian giving Select passages of scripture from the lectionary for the Sundays following the course and, in groups, prepare outlines for stewardship-based sermons to be preached in one of your own churches on each reading. –Introduction –Main points and examples –Conclusion
In conclusion Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an offering far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.