Support our siblings affected by disaster, hunger and oppression through One Great Hour of Sharing.

where your heart is ... a weekly offerings stewardship blog

Becoming truly thankful

A common table prayer opens with “O Lord, make us truly thankful for that which we are about to receive …” It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But isn’t there something a little strange about that prayer? I mean, why would anyone pray that way?

Becoming truly thankful

A common table prayer opens with “O Lord, make us truly thankful for that which we are about to receive …”

What it means to follow Jesus as a Matthew 25 church

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is committed to being a Matthew 25 church that is actively engaged in the world, making a difference in people’s lives and in our communities. Some may believe being a Matthew 25 church that eliminates, once and for all, the root causes of hunger, poverty, oppression and injustice is an impossible task. After all, the church has been trying to do so for over 2,000 years.

Building faith connections that last a lifetime

In the late 1980s, when I was serving as a youth group leader in my local congregation, my pastor invited me to attend a gathering that I recognize now as the early stages of a new movement for youth in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Even as I was being drawn headlong into the phenomenon that was — and still is — the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, I had no idea how the lens through which I viewed the PC(USA) was about to change.

Energy flows where attention goes

Recently, the Office of the General Assembly released the 2020 annual statistics report showing a decline in membership last year at just over 56,000, which is about the same loss rate as has been reported since 2016. For 2020, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) counts a total membership of about 1.24 million members, with the total number of congregations at 8,925.

Raising faithful stewards: A Mother’s Day tribute to my children

“Mama do.” For at least a year, if my memory can be trusted, that singular refrain punctuated our daughter’s every sentence. “Mama do.” Once, during a rare visit to our North Carolina home from my family in New York, the precocious toddler’s words even coaxed a laugh from my usually stern father, who wondered aloud how I ever managed to get anything done.

Tending and keeping

The very first command addressed to humanity in the entire Bible is to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth and subdue it; and have dominion” (Genesis 1:28). We see humankind displaying a type of dominion when it comes to pollution and extraction of the Earth’s most precious resources with no room for compassion, dignity or respect. But was this control what God had in mind for us when this beautiful Creation came into being?

Saying ‘thank you’?

Early in my ministry, I started the practice of writing thank you notes to those church members who had fulfilled a leadership position or served in some special way. I’ll never forget the time I received a call from a member who expressed to me how surprised she was to receive a “thank you” from the church. To this day, I wish I had asked her more about why she was surprised.

Rethinking stewardship approaches

I am not usually a fan of a pastor or someone in my position using themselves as a good example. If pastors tell a story from their lives in a sermon, I think it should be a story about how they learned something about their faith because of a failing or a shortcoming, or a story about something funny that happened to them. I also think pastors should never use their children as examples, especially if the child is in worship. The last thing preachers’ kids need is to have more attention drawn to them.

Introducing your community to stewardship

The secret to successful fundraising for nonprofits — including the Church — is that our work is never about funds development per se, but rather about people development. A church fundraiser’s goal is not just to generate funds, but also to help in the formation of generous disciples who give out of gratitude to God because they have first received.