From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Bishop Carder featured in new video on 'Wesley and Giving'
30 Oct 1998 11:17:27
Oct. 30, 1998 Contact: Thomas S. McAnally*(615)742-5470*Nashville,
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A Christian understanding of giving from a
Wesleyan perspective is the topic of a new video being produced by
United Methodist Communication (UMCom) for use by clergy.
Each bishop and district superintendent will receive a copy of the
24-minute video and study guide late in November. Titled "Wesley and
Giving," it is based on a paper prepared by Nashville Area Bishop
Kenneth Carder and features him as the host.
According to the Rev. Arvin Luchs, staff executive of UMCom's Division
of Program and Benevolence Interpretation, it is hoped that the video
will be used in small cluster groups of clergy to help them understand
and interpret the giving program of the church.
The fact that clergy receive little training and resources on
stewardship and finance emerged from a broadly representative advisory
committee that has been working with UMCom for more than a year.
Chairman of the group is Bishop David Lawson of Franklin, Ind.
As part of a "Promotion of Giving" emphasis, UMCom is developing a wide
range of resources to help clergy develop skills to be more effective in
stewardship education. These include resources to help future clergy
studying in seminaries or courses of study understand and be able to
interpret the fund structure of the church. Resources are also aimed at
pastors in their new three-year probationary periods.
The team has been testing resources and methods with two pilot annual
conferences - North Alabama and Desert Southwest. In the latter,
resident Bishop William Dew is teaching clergy in small-group settings
using resources that are being developed jointly by the team and the
Several churchwide agencies that have a special interest in promoting
giving are actively participating in developing the resources. These
include UMCom, the General Council on Finance and Administration, the
Board of Discipleship and the Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Others team members include local clergy and lay persons, district
superintendents, a conference communicator and a conference treasurer.
Project manager is the Rev. David Hazlewood, retired staff member of the
Board of Discipleship.
Luchs said the effort is one of the most holistic approaches the church
has ever taken in fund promotion. "This program is one of the few times
we have been able to approach the issues of funding the church and be
able to bring together the best understanding of financial management,
stewardship, development, program interpretation and leadership
development," he said.
One basic conclusion reached by the advisory group is that promotional
resources needed by the local churches and annual conferences should
give more attention to reasons for giving and to inspiring people to
give, and less to the detailed analyses of church expenditures.
The Rev. Judy Weidman, UMCom's top executive, applauds both the
interagency approach and the new direction in materials.
"For the first time in years, the agencies of the denomination that
carry responsibility for stewardship have cooperated to put together a
set of materials that deal with real life concerns of people in our
local churches and how their money makes possible ministry in their
neighborhoods, as well as beyond their reach. Previous efforts may have
concentrated too much on the bureaucratic details of our many funds."
Weidman said she believes the new materials put a "whole new face on the
sometimes touchy subject of giving. The written and visual materials in
this program make the biblical and Wesleyan principles of stewardship
accessible to people looking for insight and inspiration in an area
where guilt and uncertainty have often been the lead factors."
Lawson said the advisory committee has detected a broad interest in the
topic of Christian stewardship and how it is practiced in United
Methodist churches. "This interest is not being driven, I think, by
shortage of money but by a desire to develop a strong understanding of
Christian stewardship that is related to the desire to accomplish our
The Rev. Larry Dill, a local pastor from Huntsville, Ala., who serves on
the advisory team, believes giving is increasing across the denomination
year after year because local churches are doing a better job of
teaching stewardship as a spiritual matter.
"The spiritual understanding flows from biblical teaching that where our
treasure is there our heart will be also," he explained. "There is a
spiritual hunger, and people want to respond."
United Methodist News Service
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