Below are the some frequently asked questions concerning the stewardship and development. If you have a question, but do not find it below, please contact the Office of Stewardship and Development.
- What is the difference between stewardship & fundraising?
- What is the connection between stewardship and evangelization?
- Where does the concept of stewardship come from?
- What is accountability?
Stewardship is based on spiritual, theological principles of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible has many references to stewardship and Jesus speaks of stewardship in many of his parables. Jesus made it very clear how he wanted His followers to live out their Christian life by becoming involved with others and sharing our time, talent and treasure for the continuation of God’s Kingdom here on Earth.
While fundraising is based upon organizational need, stewardship is based upon an individual’s relationship and understanding of God our Creator, and a deep realization that everything they have is gift, and all those gifts are from God. In thankfulness and with the full knowledge that we are stewards of the gifts given to us, we return a portion of our time, talent and treasure to our parish and our community to reach out to not only our parish family, but our larger community as well.
While the end result of a sacrificial stewardship commitment is a personal gift that allows our Church to carry out ministry, stewardship focuses upon our need to give back, not on the needs of our parish or community organization. This is a difficult concept to grasp because we have become a very “need-focused” society.
Fundraising can result in a “give it and forget it” mentality, but with stewardship, each commitment is very personal, is based in prayer, and is sacrificial in nature. This type of giving strengthens our relationship with God and with each other.
The word ‘evangelization’ is often misunderstood, but we must acknowledge it is the essential mission of the Church, calling us to life-long conversion and growth in our relationship with Jesus Christ. As disciples of Christ, we must live our faith fully, share our faith with others, invite them into our faith community, and work with all the people of good will to transform our society with the values of Christ.
Evangelization and stewardship go hand in hand. By working at understanding and exploring our faith, sharing our faith, living our faith and thereby transforming the world, we are being good stewards by acknowledging all our gifts and putting our faith into action.
“There is an inbred connection (between stewardship and evangelization). A connection where, if we have the gift of faith, Stewardship calls us to proclaim and to share it. Which is what evangelization is all about.” Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy
“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” James 1:21-22
As we explore our faith and come to accept God as the giver of all we have and are, the fear and misunderstanding of evangelization fades. Our lives become faith stories that are shared with others. By being disciples of Christ, we do not choose either evangelization OR stewardship. We live BOTH.
The greatest giver in all of human history is, and will forever be, our God for He gave to the world His only Son, Jesus, as our Savior. In striving to live our lives in the selfless way Jesus would, we are called to give freely, never counting the costs.
The following theological points serve as a basis for a Christian way of life expressed through stewardship:
- Stewardship expresses a basic attitude of gratitude to God for God’s many gifts to us and the trust we have in God as the ultimate source of our security.
- As stewards we are called to use these gifts to further God’s creative and redemptive purposes; as stewards we use God’s gifts for God’s purposes.
- God’s creative and redemptive purposes are most fully revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus. The basic pattern of Jesus’ work is found in the Paschal mystery. It is a pattern of giving life for the sake of others, and in the giving, finding life more fully realized for ourselves and for those to whom we give.
- The Church is a gathering of disciples who nurture and encourage one another in discipleship. The practice of discipleship in and through the Church is one of the primary ways we are called to follow Jesus. It is the whole Church, the Body of Christ, that is responsible for carrying on the work of Christ in the world today.
- Our sharing in the Paschal mystery of Jesus brings us to the notion of sacrifice as a sign of gratitude, praise, and trust in God. Sacrifice means giving from our substance – so we are changed by our giving.
Excerpt taken from Stewardship: Disciples Respond, A Practical Guide for Pastoral Leaders, ICSC, 1997
Accountability is very important to any good steward. It means that we acknowledge our gifts and manage them responsibly. We also use them to serve others. We see this message throughout the Bible. One example is found in 1 Peter 4: 10 – “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Just as each person is accountable for God’s gifts, the Church must also demonstrate accountability for the gifts entrusted by its members – that means we acknowledge gifts given, and use them to serve others. Some ways our parishes and diocese can do this are:
- A detailed, Annual Accountability Report inserted into the Parish Bulletin or mailed directly to each parishioner’s home.
- An ongoing column in the Parish Bulletin with general income and revenue information each week or month. This will also allow for recording of gifts of time and talent (hours or projects) and allow a special highlight of good works. Click here to download a sample of a bulletin accountability column.
- A year to year comparison tracking stewardship contributions so that parishioners can see where their gifts are going long-term. This type of report can also show trends in giving or how community, national and international events affect giving. The comparison can take the form of a simple spreadsheet, or an article in the Annual Accountability Report.
Do you have other questions? Please click here to contact the Office of Stewardship & Development for more information.