When I first heard about stewardship in 1994 it radically changed my thinking. This new way of thinking seemed so counter-cultural to me. Was I ready to take the risk? I took the risk and discovered a remarkably rewarding way of life. The rewards come as a result of the new habits and daily choices that stewardship has inspired me to embrace. Still, there have been many occasions when I have experienced those ‘out-of-nowhere’ rewards of stewardship that I can only explain as God-incidences.
For decades, the most popular approach for promoting stewardship in a parish has been the Time, Talent, & Treasure model. While this method may be tried, tested, and true, it is also a little tired. The three ‘T’s program is tired because it simply places a demand on people the moment they hear it. They think, “Oh, the parish wants me to volunteer and give more!”
Let’s dare to think differently about how we invite people to a greater commitment to this beautiful spirituality and way of life. Hearts and minds are transformed when we think outside the box of time, talent, and treasure. There is a better way to stewardship than the annual three ‘T’s appeal, a way that is both joyful and sustainable. God showed me this way at an International Catholic Stewardship Conference in 2008. I believed then that God was calling me to apply this way in my own life first, and then with time, God would make me ready to share it with others. It’s time.
Hearts and minds are transformed when we think outside the box of time, talent, and treasure
How do we change the way people think about stewardship? We can begin by demonstrating that stewardship is joyful when it is formed, not out of obligation or duty, but gratitude. At that conference in 2008, God introduced me to ten virtues that are the heart of the Christian steward’s way of thinking. Cultivating these stewardship virtues is God’s new and improved way to a more fruitful response to stewardship in a parish. This way is founded in the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation because “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others” (Cicero). Prayer, humility, discipline, simplicity, trust, generosity, perseverance, patience, and mercy are the virtues that complete the way. I intend to explore each of the ten stewardship virtues in future posts.
Always grateful and hopeful in our good and gracious God,
J. Dan Potvin
PS I’d be most grateful to hear your thoughts on stewardship.
You can contact me at the Companions of the Cross
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