Stewardship is a dirty word in most churches.
Pastors preach about it knowing they must while members sit uncomfortably through the "it's-that-time-again" sermons and other appeals. Afire with God urges ministries and congregations to become stewards-in-action of all God has entrusted to us. Members go beyond thinking in terms of dollars contributed to see stewardship as becoming living examples of the gospel.
"Real stewardship is radical, which means going to the roots of our faith," writes Schwarzentraub. "If we take stewardship seriously—and joyfully—it won't be just another addition to the same old programs we've been doing in our congregations. It will change our thinking, acting, and imagining. And it will change our vision of ministry, working from the inside out."
The book's four chapters are simple and elegant.
- Chapter 1 addresses our mixed feelings about stewardship and uses the biblical image of the Hebrews as aliens in Egypt.
- Chapter 2 uses the experience of Moses at the burning bush as a way to explore foundations of stewardship in the Bible.
- Chapter 3 connects stewardship with the mysteries of faith and with John Wesley's understanding of the means of grace, exploring Wesley's life as a steward.
- Chapter 4 looks at practical approaches for becoming stewards-in-action.
Included are examples for faithful stewardship of the earth, ways to reinvigorate stewardship in worship, long-range planning ideas and plans for individual ministry growth.
Schwarzentraub will lead you to a spirited stewardship that embraces every dimension of life and alters your ideas about the topic: converting the noun steward into a verb! Transform who you are becoming and what you can do in the world.
Lead in Stewardship Leader's Guide is also available.