The children practiced long and hard to sing their song on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. When the big day came, they clambered to the front of the sanctuary, listened to the first few plinks on the piano and watched for the nod to begin from their Sunday school teacher.
Giving Tuesday is a way for Presbyterians to hit the reset button, says Rev. Aimee Moiso of the Presbyterian Foundation. Churches can use this day to highlight special ministries and invite members to generously share all that they have.
The soup at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Glendale, Arizona, is a recipe for encouraging mission support. A Sunday school class composed of elementary and middle-school students generated mission interest earlier this year through a soup-making venture aimed at helping Presbyterian Mission. They assembled the ingredients, put them in jars they had labeled, and sold the mixture to the congregation. The children used the proceeds to give a pair of goats, a family of chickens, a piglet and six refugee food baskets through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog.
In just a little more than a decade, the Presbyterian Church of Okemos, a suburb of Lansing, Michigan, has gone from being a congregation that rarely talked about money to a church where even younger members understand the power of pledges, bequests and endowments to multiply mission and as a means to commit their life a part of a faith community.
“Stewardship is about the joyous discipline of giving thanks,” says Robert Hay Jr. of the Presbyterian Foundation. Comparing joyous discipline with a “runner’s high” where the mind body and spirit start clicking after months or even years of disciplined training, Hay says the discipline of stewardship can bring true joy in giving.
The Rev. Dr. James Reese, now approaching the 70th anniversary of his ordination in the Presbyterian Church, believes learning about stewardship is a cross-cultural exercise. He asserts approaches to charitable giving, especially in the context of the church, are formed by a community ethos — and he has the data to back it up.
Gratitude is a deep and profound part of the story of Jesus. It is complex and beautiful — and also the subject of author Diana Butler Bass’ recent book “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.”
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope.” —Hebrews 10:23