On the Shelf:
What is Stewardship?
By Ellen Johanson

What is stewardship?

If you look it up in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary it will tell you that “stewardship is the office, duties and obligations of a steward”.

Hmm. Not that helpful….one of my teachers once told me not to define a word by using that word (in part or in full) in the definition.

The second definition according to Merriam-Webster is a bit more helpful: “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially, the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

Now that’s a bit better but it still sounds so legalistic—like the language of rulers, regulators, administrators, guardians or even manipulators. Perhaps this is to be expected since the word first appeared in English in the 15th century when society was deeply embedded in the medieval period governed by two powerful sources: The Church and The Monarchy.

But what does stewardship mean for us today in a post-modern world where it seems that the Church and monarchies have little relevance? Does it mean tithing 10%? Going to church every Sunday? Caring for God’s creation and the lost and least among us? Or does it mean giving more–more money, more time, more energy to God?

Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life

For the next few months, we’ll be featuring different stewardship resources, courtesy of the Cokesbury store closure. This month the stewardship kit is titled Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life by Bob Crossman. For Crossman, discipleship and stewardship are intertwined and they are defined as “giving all of oneself to Christ as Lord and Savior—not 10% or 20% but 100%.” Published in 2012 by Abingdon Press, this six-week study explores these steps to generosity: Prayer, Bible-reading, Worship, Witness, Financial Giving, and Service. With each step through worship, sermons and small group activities, congregants consider prayerfully their commitment level and their ability to increase that level by one step at a time.

I like the fact that this is a current resource and that it contains material for social media as well as print. You’ll find all that you need (and likely more) to run a church-wide stewardship program including the program guide CD-ROM, Adult Reading/Study Book, Small Group Leader Guide, Devotional Book (with 40 devotions for a generous life), a preview book summarizing the campaign principles, a CD-ROM with tweets, posts, and prayers for social media, and a DVD with worship loops and lead-ins. There is plenty here to dig into and use to develop disciples who will transform their churches and communities.

To find out more about Bob Crossman or to reserve this or other Media Center resources, call me at 1-800-755-7710 or go to www.regionalmediacenter.org.

Ellen Johanson serves as the manager for the Regional Media Center.
E-mail the Regional Media Center, here.


Leave a Reply