Although I was raised in a Catholic home I pretty much abandoned the faith for the first ten year of my adult life. One of my most cherished memories following my conversion and subsequent return to the Church were the years that I was blessed to be leading a class of grade five children in our parish religious education program. These youngsters were eager to learn about Jesus and the stories of miracles in the bible and in my own journey back to God.
The lesson that I most looked forward to each year was the story of Cornelius. In that class the students were directed to put on a short play re-enacting the story of Peter baptizing Cornelius’ entire family. What I found most inspiring about that event in scripture was that it only happened because of a vision the Apostle Peter had in Joppa (Acts 10 & 11). In that vision Peter came to realize that God does not show favoritism but accepts people from every nation who put their faith in Him.
Without Peter’s vision in Joppa Cornelius’ family would have been left out of God’s plan of salvation because they were Gentiles, and up until that point Gentiles were not given an opportunity to hear the Good News. However, God had shown Peter in the vision that the life-saving message of the Gospel was for all people, not just the Jewish people.
St. Peter dared to think differently about the mission given to him by Christ.
It is time we dare to think differently about stewardship.
Thinking differently about stewardship is what Joppa Stewardship Leaders is all about.
In a similar way I have always felt God calling me to share the life-changing message of stewardship with all people. I do not see it as something I am limited to share with Catholic Christians. There is a sense that I am called to share the spirituality of stewardship with all Christians, regardless of their denomination. Moreover, this is a philosophy for living that I desire to take to the streets…to non-believers and other-believers.
Stewardship is an approach to living that is radically different and remarkably rewarding. Stewardship will give anyone who embraces it a better experience of life! It’s for all people…so, Joppa Stewardship it is.
It is my hope, and prayer that Joppa Stewardship will be a place where all the people of God, whatever your tradition, can come and share your experience and wisdom. In doing so, together we will build the leaders, who build a movement, inspire conversions, and change the order of things.
My formation in Christian stewardship came during a fourteen year period (1999-2014) under the guidance and teaching of the Roman Catholic tradition, I was the Director of Stewardship at the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. In addition I have been blessed to have gained many valuable insights through my association with many sisters and brothers from other Christian denominations. My hope is that this blog will not be a “Catholic only” blog, but that it will inspire thought and wisdom from a diverse group of God’s people.
Always grateful & hopeful in our good and gracious God,
Joseph Daniel Potvin