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Featured image for “Desperately Seeking Stewardship”
Jan. 24, 2017

Desperately Seeking Stewardship

One of my favorite leadership principles goes something like this: systems are organized to achieve exactly the type of results they ultimately achieve. In other words, it’s unrealistic to expect results out-of-line with how we’ve organized our systems, even if we’d really prefer a different sort of outcome. When it comes to stewardship, this type of thinking highlights the church’s
Featured image for “Stewarding the Christmas Story”
Dec. 20, 2016

Stewarding the Christmas Story

What does stewardship have to do with Advent and Christmas? Tithing 10% of what’s under the tree? Today’s writer, Scott Jacob, suggests how we might be stewards of more than goods and possessions. As we hear the familiar texts again this season, Scott calls us to give a different type of present. We’ll be taking next week off, but look
Featured image for “What does the Reformation have to do with Stewardship?”
Dec. 06, 2016

What does the Reformation have to do with Stewardship?

I don’t know about you, but I rarely venture far without my smartphone. A few weeks back, I stopped to think how much I appreciated the power, capabilities, and battery life of the tiny device. It helps me connect to people, to find new locations, and even donate electronically. All was well, until Apple announced that an even better iPhone
Featured image for “What Good is Work? (Part II)”
Oct. 11, 2016

What Good is Work? (Part II)

The week before the seminary started its fall term, I was traveling in Scotland. My grandmother lives there and was in the hospital. I hadn’t seen her, or several other of my close Scottish relatives, for years. And yet, I hesitated when setting up my automatic email response on my seminary email. “Should I admit I’m away for personal travel,”
Featured image for “What Good is Work? (Part I)”
Oct. 04, 2016

What Good is Work? (Part I)

When I taught at Concordia College, I often found myself discussing the concept of vocation with students. They usually had great plans to find work after college that exactly aligned with their many passions. While I never wanted to squash dreams exactly, I sometimes shared with them a story Craig Barnes tells in his book, The Pastor as Minor Poet.
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Sep. 27, 2016

Giving Days

Today’s newsletter focuses on a growing area of fundraising and non-profit giving: Giving Days. Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.” In their own often tech-savvy way, Giving Days are prime opportunities for proclaiming what we believe
Featured image for “Drainage, Debt, and the Rain of God”
Jul. 26, 2016

Drainage, Debt, and the Rain of God

For some churches, “debt” is a four-letter word. (Well, technically, it’s a four-letter word for all of us, but I hope you take the point.) Church leaders tend to avoid needed maintenance issues for fear of the challenge of raising money, or the possibility of taking on debt. Pastor Bradley Schmeling’s post reveals how one congregation became a steward of
Featured image for “Generosity For You, Not From You”
Jul. 19, 2016

Generosity For You, Not From You

A lot of stewardship books find their way to my desk and then, if I’m honest, to an ever-growing stack beside it. In this week’s newsletter, I reflect on one of those books that rose to the top, Contagious Generosity, which serves as a fine example of a particular aspect of stewardship teaching these days. Next week, we’ll hear from
Featured image for “Why Give? Because Jesus Gave Us Work To Do”
Jun. 28, 2016

Why Give? Because Jesus Gave Us Work To Do

A church that throws parties, enters floats in parades, and shows up at community festivals? These are all aspects of the work Rev. Dr. Katie Hays supports as lead evangelist in her new congregation, Galileo Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. In today’s post, Hays describes how reading scripture with an eye for Jesus’ penchant for announcing the reign
Featured image for “It’s about Time”
Jun. 07, 2016

It’s about Time

In my first call as pastor, I remember when early June came around I was struck by an unwelcome realization: after 20+ years of living by the school calendar and having summers “off,” I was required to work all summer long! Well, it turned out that summer in the parish did feel a bit different — Wednesday nights were reserved