Stewardship Resourcing In a 'New Key'

January 22, 2009

"The music we're singing is still upbuilding joyful, faithful stewardship in the local church, but we've powered it up into a new key," says Betsy Schwarzentraub, Director of Stewardship for the California-Nevada Annual Conference. "Now the focus is on working with clusters, districts, and language ministries, to 'make the most of our time,' as the Scripture says."


For the past eight years, Schwarzentraub and her consultant Stewardship Associates have gone to individual congregations as requested by pastors and church leaders, funded by a stewardship partnership between the Annual Conference and the Conference Foundation. But now without the Foundation portion, Schwarzentraub's Conference work in stewardship is truly halftime, so Annual Conference leaders have recommended she make her trips to churches as fruitful as possible.


"It's not that difficult, really," she says. "When you want any one of our 15 stewardship workshops or consultation areas, just give me a call. Invite your cluster, or make the event district-wide, and then you can host it."


This shift to two or more churches or ministries makes it possible to plan ahead for group gatherings or across-the-district events. Your District Superintendent would be pleased to know in what aspects you wish to grow, and the district office can help get the word out. If you work in a language ministry, you can request specific dates and places that would be most helpful for your constituency.


So what stewardship areas are available? Check out Dimensions of Stewardship and Workshops to Help You on the Stewardship page of the Conference website at These are flexible topics, and everyone learns from one another.


"The link between faith and generosity is really what stewardship is about," says Schwarzentraub. "When we trust (that is, have faith in) God's radical generosity, then we're eager to reflect God's generosity by the way that we live. It's generosity of heart, not just of our checkbooks or assets."


That's a good thing these days, when the economy seems like it's fast flying south, and local church budgets, as well as individual incomes, are tighter than ever.


"There's no simple answer," says Schwarzentraub, "but there are resources. We can help one another be realistic as well as challenging. Great stewardship isn't a program. It is strengthening an open, accountable climate in the church, building a culture of generous self-giving."