Reduction in income, changes in corporate worship practices, and increasing life uncertainties are some of the factors currently influencing giving. How do we uplift generosity in this context? Textbooks, articles, and other resource materials have not anticipated these events. Little is known about the appropriate approach to educate members in giving during an enduring global crisis. This issue of Dynamic Steward humbly aims at filling the gap somewhat by sharing the stories of pastors, church officers, and stewardship educators from various places.
Most of the articles are reflections about actual experiences and leading us back to the Scriptures. You will hear Samuel Ravonjiarivelo, a pastor from the North of France, sharing his confidence in God’s provision for his church. Erick Were from Kenya links the counterintuitive rise in tithes and offerings he observed during the crisis to diversified modes of giving. Our colleagues in Tasmania remain amazed by the 45.25 percent increase in offerings over the previous year. The CFO of Fiji mission posits the possibilities of broadcasting the worship services on various digital platforms as a game changer. Marcos Bomfim, our world stewardship director, points us back to Promise (regular and systematic giving) as the practice that can make a difference. From another era, we can learn from Paul's appeals for giving during a global crisis.
Our diverse contributors make no pretense of having the one right strategy, and their writings are not intended to be prescriptive. We are all on a learning journey with this crisis. They are simply sharing their perceptions of the current actions of the Holy Spirit in God’s church.
As you read these articles, you’ll surely come across some good ideas that you can apply to your territory, probably with some variations. Something here may lead you to a better understanding of your own reality. Others’ experiences are powerful mirrors! However, our first intention in making these stories available is to motivate all of us to engage in reflection about our own experiences in regard to uplifting giving during this unique season: “We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience” (John Dewey).
Jeremiah the prophet exhorts God’s people to engage in the exercise of reflecting on our practice. Lamentations 3:40 reads, "Let us examine our ways and test them." It is necessary that we accurately assess progress. Time, energy, courage, and humility are necessary to examine our own practice. In what ways are our church members affected by the crisis? In what ways have we tried to encourage giving? What has been the outcome so far? Are we in a stronger or weaker position to share the three angels’ messages? Your own reflections will complement these readings and will surely bring growth to how we are doing ministry and making disciples out of season.
The Dynamic Steward team would be glad to hear and share your reflections about uplifting generosity to others; “Victory is won through many advisers” (Prov. 11:14). £