Talking about money and giving can be hard. You know that. I know that. In a few short weeks, we will have celebrated Christmas, and the New Year will be dawning. That’s the time when bills come due and people know they have overdone it. Belts are tightened and the time has come for resolutions and exercise. It may feel like your year-end appeal has finished and everyone is “gifted out.” Your community of faith either made their budget or it’s another deficit. Then it may feel even harder to talk about money.
The centrality of generosity
However, January is also the time for stories about the beginning of the Jesus movement. The arrival of wise sages bringing gifts to the child. Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River and calling his first disciples. Something new is being revealed: an epiphany!
“The Season of Epiphany, with its natural focus on gifts, provides extra motivation and sparkle to reflect deeply on why sharing our gifts with the world is the central response to a God who loves us beyond our wildest imaginations,” says the Rev. Catherine Stuart.
Catherine welcomed the opportunity to reflect on the centrality of generosity and her faith as part of the writing team for the newly released Discover Your Gifts―Share Your Gifts five-week worship series for the season of Epiphany. These worship resources can help you talk about money and giving at a time when it seems harder than ever. Here’s how.
Embedding generosity in worship
Stewardship and generosity are central practices to following Jesus. Discover Your Gifts―Share Your Gifts embeds these practices within five weeks of worship. Now you’re not just awkwardly talking about money and giving on their own. Instead, you are helping people explore how to live their faith generously, how offering the seemingly ordinary gifts we have can empower and enable extraordinary things.
When used as part of Called to Be the Church: The Giving Program, these worship materials do even more to support your mission and ministry. After celebrating all the inspiring ways God is at work through you — making a difference, transforming and saving lives, inspiring meaning and purpose, and building a better world — it is natural to invite people to join in by giving generously from their financial resources. With this love, encouragement, and presence in our lives, how can we not be filled with gratitude and respond with generosity?!
“I hope that, like the Magi, you’ll be surprised by what you find and reminded that each of us is loved by God, encouraged by Jesus, and deeply rooted in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Let’s heed the call to be the Church in response to God’s generosity.” ―Rev. Catherine Stuart
Discover your gifts. Share your gifts. It’s what disciples of Jesus do.
Find the NEW Epiphany worship series Discover Your Gifts―Share Your Gifts on the United Church Stewardship in Worship webpage. Called to Be the Church: The Giving Program can be found under Called to Be the Church: The Journey on united-church.ca/stewardship.
The Rev. Dave Jagger, Stewardship and Gifts Officer, Northern, Central and mid-Western Ontario, loves supporting communities of faith in their work of nurturing generous disciples of Jesus by doing good stewardship. You can contact him at email@example.com.