I’ve never been a big fan of stewardship series. It is not because they are not essential. They are. Obviously, there was a reason why Jesus said you cannot serve God and money. Money can be a great imitator of God. It will quickly take on idol status if we do not keep it in its proper perspective.
Unfortunately, too many times the annual stewardship series seems to have one goal in mind: MORE. More discipline. More sacrifice. More focus. More needs. More ministry. More money. It is easy for any ministry team to accept the focus of more. Too often they wind up there anyway. The, the team looks around at each other, feeling like sales managers, looking at sales charts that show a great year. So, why do we need the sales team to do more?
There is no doubt that many of us can do more, but how effective is the ”you can do more” strategy? Does it create deeper disciples? Does it enhance the spirit of love in our community, or does it simply sow the seeds of guilt among a faithful people? Is it theologically sound?
This year, instead of asking for more we decided to throw a party. Using Deuteronomy 14:22-29 as the scriptural foundation for our series, we developed the stewardship theme of “Celebrate!” Just imagine the shouts of joy when the tithe was brought into the place of worship. It wasn’t just “money,” it was food, drink and spices of numerous kinds. The worshipers consumed part of it, and they shared with those around them. It was a celebration of God’s goodness and of the family–the community of faith.
In similar fashion, we are celebrating the ministries completed through the gifts our family has given. The first thing we recognized was how little we celebrate. Our church calendar is full. We move from event to event, without celebrating our successes. And, we have decided we must be intentional about celebrating. If not, we simply get caught up again in the whirlwind of “more on the calendar.”
With celebration commanding our thoughts, our creative arts team went to work. This stewardship season is not and will not be a time of dread. There is a spirit of joy and excitement about being the people of God.
One of our team members shared about a church that used sticky notes to celebrate ministries of their church. The church loved the idea. We loved the idea, too!
In the spirit of celebration, we have printed a couple thousand pads of sticky notes with a “Celebrate” logo and distributed them throughout the campus. The instructions to our church family were simple: Write a note of thanks for the ministries that have impacted you and place the sticky notes in the appropriate areas.
Today, there are hundreds of sticky notes around our campus and in the community as well. The party is just beginning.