A team working together around the challenge of stewardship in the 21st century has worked hard over the past eighteen months to put together “The Generosity Project,” a pilot program running from Sept. 2017 – Dec. 2018 which will work to provide stewardship resources and support to a cohort group of pastors from New England regions. Members of the team have prepared blogs for “The Generosity Project” participants, which will also be shared on the ABCUSA website in the coming months. To learn more about The Generosity Project, click here.
In March, team member Ken Marsenburg, Director of Development for the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary, provides his thoughts about stewardship and giving.
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.” – Matthew 4:8-11 (NRSV)
Matthew’s account of our Lord enduring 40-days of temptation just before the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is a passage well known by millions of believers. It reminds each of us of the struggles between our own good and placing God first before all things, with faith and trust. It’s a daily leap of faith each believer struggles to place in our hearts and minds, for now over 2000 years.
While the word trust is more commonly found in the Old Testament and faith in the New Testament our Trust, our Faith, our Contentment, and our Love sets us free to give of our Time, our Talents (Spiritual Gifts) and our Treasures for prayer, worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship and management God’s resources for ministries both within and outside the walls of His Church.
Scriptures teach us to “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” Hebrews 13: 5 – 6 (New American Standard Bible). Fear of not enough keeps many from trusting.
In contrast to scriptures, Wikipedia explains that “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official US motto, 62 years ago in 1956 as a replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus Unum (Latin for “Out of many, one), which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782.
It was once shared with me that the word SANKOFA is derived from the SAN (return) KO (go), FA (look, seek and take) in the Akan language of Ghana and literally means ‘go back and retrieve,’ reflecting the Akan belief that people should take the wisdom of the past forward into the future. Our Generosity goal is to boldly reintroduce and reinforce God’s Word. The goal in this stewardship journey is to raise faith, love, trust in worshipping our God with the wisdom of the past (God’s Word).
All that we have comes from God – Everything we are. Yet we crave to be in 1st place in games, employment, love, and life. Our spirit, mind & body collectively guide us to what comes first in our lives. The Generosity Project is a personal spiritual journey that together as believers requires training our spirit, our mind, and our heart to freely accept HIS will as Lord and Saviour.
Our desire is to continue on the road of generosity/stewardship as we:
- Provide teachings from the Word of God;
- Determine what’s being asked of believers;
- Discuss keys to becoming a steward-filled church;
- Understand the things that are God’s – Luke 20:25;
- Resolve why placing God first in our life is essential; and
- Uncover why we should place our trust in God.
We pray this Easter that God will inspire each of us, to open our hearts with prayer, scriptures and our minds with worship to the call of Generosity. Let us truly know that placing God first with our time, spiritual gifts and treasure will build-up the Body of Christ and bring God’s love and compassion to all. Who do you trust?
Bio: Deacon Kenneth (Ken) Marsenburg is ABCUSA’s Director of Development serving through the Office of the General Secretary. For over 30 years, Ken has served as consultant and director in initiatives raising well over $750 million for secular and religious organizations throughout our Nation, including the 1985 $32 million ABCUSA Alive in Mission campaign. He has been privileged to serve diverse protestant denominations, healthcare, and educational institutions providing hands on experience with all facets of fundraising and solicitation resulting in five to eight figure major gifts as well as hundreds of comprehensive church stewardship initiatives with measurable outcomes.