By Megan K. Mertz
“Stewardship was once founded on solid catechesis, but it’s been separated from the altar, pulpit and font,” said the Rev. Nathan Meador, assistant coordinator of LCMS Stewardship Ministry. “[A]ny generosity not connected to the Holy Spirit is doomed. … Get the people to where the Lord works.”
This was Meador’s message at the 2015 National Stewardship Training Seminar, which was organized by LCMS Stewardship Ministry and held July 28-30 on the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, campus under the theme “Stand in Your Vocation.”
During the event, 48 LCMS parish pastors from around the country gathered to examine topics such as “Teaching Vocation,” “Preaching the Law without Legalism,” “What Does a District Stewardship Board/Committee Do?” and “Technical vs. Adaptive Change.”
In another presentation, the Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann, professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, discussed how stewardship is really just teaching people to carry out their vocations, whether in the realm of the home, church or state.
“I don’t need to run off to church to find some God-pleasing [church-sponsored job or] activity to make my life meaningful,” Biermann said. “My life is meaningful doing what God has given me to do, where He has given me to do it, in the relationships I have today. That’s critical in this whole stewardship thing.”
The Rev. Joshua Keinath, pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Yuma, Ariz., called the seminar “eye-opening.”
“Like a lot of pastors here, I didn’t have much emphasis on stewardship training, and I mentioned that to my district president when he appointed me to our stewardship committee,” Keinath said. “But I’m taking away a lot of resources. I’m encouraged to go out and be a resource to the other pastors [in the LCMS Pacific Southwest District], now that I know more about whole-life stewardship.”
Keinath said he hopes to implement some of the practical ideas he picked up at the seminar, such as reporting on how funds sent to the district are spent and providing examples of good sermons on stewardship and vocation for other pastors in the district.
“We’ve found that in the area of stewardship, the congregation usually goes where the pastor leads,” said the Rev. Heath R. Curtis, coordinator of LCMS Stewardship Ministry. “We hope that the pastors we trained this week will be good messengers to other pastors in their district about stewardship.”
Although he knows each district will have different opportunities, Curtis expects participants will be able to assist their district stewardship board or committee, share what they’ve learned at circuit meetings and serve as guest preachers during stewardship emphases in neighboring congregations.
The 2015 National Stewardship Training Seminar was the second part of a two-seminar program that started in May 2014. Another seminar is being planned for 2017.
Megan K. Mertz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff writer and managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World with LCMS Communications.
Posted Aug. 6, 2015