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Growing God’s Gifts Stewardship campaign at Trinity Bay South increases ministry potential

Photo: © istockphoto.com/Devonyu

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hile the secular world is bombarded with information about personal finances, stewardship is often viewed as a private matter within the Church. Unfortunately, this leads to a lack of emphasis on the giving of our time and money. One corps, however, is putting its resources where its heart is. Following last year’s stewardship education with Howard Bridger, territorial stewardship resources consultant, the Trinity Bay South Corps, N.L., saw its financial giving increase by 54 percent. “The increase in giving is awesome,” explains Captain Chris Pilgrim, corps officer. “Without the teaching from Bridger, I don’t believe we would be seeing the significant results that have been taking place since October.” Trinity Bay South Corps participated in both the two-day stewardship assessment and the nineday stewardship campaign that Bridger offers to corps within the territory. The purpose of both programs is to raise awareness of biblical stewardship and to challenge congregations to greater commitment. “ S t e w a rd s h i p is a spiritual issue,” explains Bridger, who is also the corps sergeant major at Triton-Brighton Corps, N.L. “It is faithfully giving to God out of our time, talents and treasures to the extent that God has blessed us. It is not just about money or tithing. Rather, when we step out in faith with regular tithing, it strengthens our belief that everything belongs to God and that in turn leads to good stewardship. “John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that he gave,” 16 I September 2011 I Salvationist

BY JULIA HOSKING, STAFF WRITER Bridger continues. “God’s nature is to be a giver and so as we conform to his character and become more like Christ, we should grow naturally in our desire to give.” Time and Talents Although Bridger recognizes the historical generosity of Salvationists in terms of giving time and talents to ministry, he cites recent statistics that indicate the opposite in terms of financial stewardship. “Fifty-three percent of more than 11,000 active members from 143 corps across our territory give between zero and $10 a week,” he says. “Those statistics show we are not honouring God with our finances and so I believe we’ve short-circuited God’s blessings on us individually and corporately as the body of Christ. It’s in that context that I feel passionate about teaching people the importance of using God-given resources for his purposes. “Because The Salvation Army is in the business of growing God’s people, not growing church budgets, it’s not enough to just have financial resources. People need to continue—or start— committing their time and talents to ensure that their corps is healthy and able to sustain a vibrant ministry in the community.” New Opportunities Noting that there is always room for improvement, Trinity Bay South Corps opted for a stewardship campaign to increase the congre-

gation’s current giving and to see new givers emerge. The corps started with the two-day assessment, which involved developing a financial and ministry profile based on statistics and interviews with lay leaders and congregational members, and then a presentation of those findings. “Bridger talked to the corps about what we were doing, but more importantly, identified our potential and where we could be,” says Captain Pilgrim. “After he delivered that, our corps mission board met and we decided to continue the stewardship journey with the nine-day campaign.” Bridger returned to the corps and offered education on the principles of Christian stewardship (see sidebar). “A central feature of this campaign is a banquet where visions for the corps are shared,” explains Bridger. “People are also provided with the opportunity to formally commit their time, talents and treasures to the ministry of their church.” Leaders have stepped forward for home league and the Pioneer Club, which reaches almost 100 children in the community. All of this enables corps officers and lay leaders to effectively plan for the future. “Overall, our corps responded positively,” reports Captain Pilgrim. “We have watched the Lord bless and use this ministry opportunity over the past 11 months. It has been exciting to see God’s people honour him with increased giving.” “God has blessed us immeasurably,” concludes Bridger, “and it is our responsibility to stir up within people the desire to use their God-given gifts to advance his Kingdom.”

Stewardship Principles

• Be good stewards of your money (1 Corinthians 16:2) • Show your love through giving (2 Corinthians 8:7-8) • Give generously and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-8; Matthew 5:41-42) • Honour God by serving others with your gifts (1 Peter 4:10) • God is the provider of all that we possess (Matthew 7:11)


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