It’s March, which for most folks means the days are longer, the first flowers are peeping up, and the snows are receding. But for many of us who either work for churches or are congregational leaders, March is a time of money. Yes, it is Stewardship Month, or “Canvass Month”, or “All Hands Month”-whatever you call it, the time when we gather pledges from the congregation that finance the budget for the next year. It can be a little stressful, because a lot is riding on this one month. Also because people don’t really like talking about money.
But is this time really just about the money?
Being at church is not a fee for service equation. Church is not like going to the coffee shop, where you hand over a few bucks and get a frothy beverage. Being part of a congregation is having an impact. It is like exponentially magnifying your ability to make more good in the world than you could do on your own. Stewardship is caring for ourselves, our community, our earth and our faith. It is a big responsibility, and that’s why we join together to realize the amazing future possible.
Being plugged in to the congregation at this deep level is fitting yourself into a wonderful cycle of Receiving, Nurturing, Sharing, and Returning. That is what Stewardship is all about. A back and forth rhythm of connection, love, fullness, caring, action, healing, learning, and inspiration all in this so lovely a dance that we aren’t concerned with who is at any moment the giver and who the receiver. This is partnership based on shared purpose, shared values, and shared vision.
Yes, money is one of the instruments needed to create this rhythm. Money is the beat that determines the pace and expression of our dance. Just as the beat is nothing without the dancers, though, our congregation is more than pledges. What gives us purpose are the lives, stories, actions, and love of our people.
Seeing Stewardship in this light makes this an exciting month- a month of hope and excitement. Happy March!