Discipleship Ministries is encouraging churches to celebrate October as a Season of Saints. But many churches already set aside October for the fall stewardship campaign. This confluence led me to wonder: Is it possible to reconcile the two? How can the lives of the Saints inspire us to see stewardship in a new way?
Many parishioners react to a stewardship sermon with the same dismay as a commuter listening to NPR during the its fundraising campaign: “Can we please just get on with the regular programming?!”
However we may frame giving as a spiritual discipline, it is hard to keep a stewardship sermon from sounding like any other plea for cash – whether from a political campaign, a local charity, or a family member who is perpetually short on funds.
So how do you preach in a way that will encourage stewardship, perhaps even support a seasonal stewardship campaign, without driving the congregation to warily withdraw? This series suggests that you tell the congregation some stories that they haven’t heard yet, drawn from the lives of Christians stretching back from the twentieth to the first centuries. These exemplars of the faith did not think in terms of obligatory “gifts and service,” dedicating some portion of their income to the offering plate; instead, they joyfully dedicated their entire lives to Christ in full-hearted gratitude. May your congregation be inspired to “go and do likewise.”
While this series could be preached in October, its timeless quality makes it something that could be offered any time of the year! These do not have to be preached in any order. The titles follow.
Sarah McGiverin is a writer, worship consultant, and public speaker.