God's work in creation is clear. “God looked upon all that God had made and said, ‘That’s good!’” God's creation, released to our hands, with God's blessing of sunlight, soil, and rain, becomes our daily bread through the work of farmers, commodities traders, millers and bakers. We know that the bread we pray for is “daily bread.” We cannot hold on to it or expect to keep it. Hoarded blessings will rot in our hands like day old manna in the desert. All that we have comes to us from God and goes back to God.
Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God works to reconcile the broken world. Through our hands, God's grace restores relationships, offering forgiveness, healing and salvation in and through the work of believers who gather around bread and wine, declaring the good news of Christ Jesus. We join God’s plan for the reconciliation of the world when we share with the world our time, talent and our possessions, recognizing that these gifts of God “must be cared for, managed, shepherded, shared, given away – not for their own sake, but in order to accomplish God’s ultimate will that the whole world be saved.”
God the Holy Spirit is constantly at work calling us through the Gospel to reach outward toward our neighbor. God invites us to join in God’s mission to our neighbors as we are called and sent to love them in every realm of life: Home, Work, World, and Church. In all of these realms, God’s work is intimately joined with our hands. God, working through ordinary means such as wheat and grape and human speech, uses mundane aspects of our lives and transforms them into holy, saving work.
Offering: Stewardship Ministry is comprised of passing the offering plate in worship, and possibly the occasional sermon.
Pledging: Stewardship Ministry is comprised of the above plus asking for a pledge or commitment form. Little teaching or explanation surrounds this process other than, “it’s needed to help the church with budget planning.”
Percentage or Proportionate Giving: Stewardship Ministry is comprised of asking the congregation for a pledge or commitment that is proportionate to income. Since the concept of proportionate giving is Biblical, teaching about other basic Biblical principles normally accompanies this way of engaging stewardship teaching.
How do these different approaches stack up according to the 6 Biblical Principles?
Average current stewardship practices in the SD Synod
Average giving is 1.82% of household income
This fact along with survey data points to the conclusion that a majority of the congregations in the South Dakota Synod are “Offering” congregations. A smaller group are “Pledging,” and a very small group are “Percentage or Proportionate Giving” congregations.