“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
On Saturday, September 8, some 125 clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Fort Worth gathered at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, for a stewardship conference led by Bishop John Guernsey of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. Bishop Guernsey’s powerful presentation, centered on biblical and practical stewardship principles, was received with enthusiasm and appreciation.
The six-hour workshop was designed to equip Vestry and Bishop’s Committee members, church treasurers and those charged with stewardship in local congregations to develop effective stewardship programs as a key element of discipleship.
Addressing one of the barriers to good stewardship with a touch of humor, Bishop Guernsey remarked, “I’ve heard it said that church people don’t talk about money. That’s not true. We talk about money, but not in church!”
Of the three gifts we can offer – time, talent, and treasure – the subject of money, the Bishop said, “is the most difficult.
“Half of Jesus’ parables are about money,” he continued. “If the Church is not teaching about this subject, you are avoiding it.”
Bishop Guernsey outlined the need to be faithful in dealing with finances and offered guidance on how to teach and preach on the topic. In addition, he emphasized the important role of clergy and lay leaders in the area of stewardship, stressing the need for the vestry’s unanimous and public support of the tithe.
“If you, as the stewardship chair, are trying to do this on your own, you will fail,” he noted.
Bishop Guernsey noted that money can become an area of serious disobedience, but faithful giving provides freedom and brings us closer to God. The motive for giving, he explained, is thankfulness, which in turn leads to joy.
“If the stewardship campaign is not based on thankfulness, it’s only fundraising. Duty, pride, or a good cause are all wrong reasons to give. You do not resolve guilt by writing a check. That’s a false gospel.
“We give because the Lord is a giver, and we are thankful.”
Bishop Guernsey has extensive experience in stewardship training, having taught the financial stewardship education course at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) for 12 years. In addition, he has led stewardship education workshops in over 30 dioceses and more than 40 congregations. Participants have called Bishop Guernsey’s workshop “transformational.”
In order to share these sound and effective biblical principles with a wider audience, Bishop Guernsey’s Diocesan Stewardship workshop is now available on DVD from the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. Click here to order copies.
“Bishop Guernsey’s Stewardship DVDs are an extremely valuable tool for the province,” said The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, Canon for Provincial and Global Mission. “I highly recommend it to our bishops, parish clergy and congregations.”