A Narrative of Generosity

Use our resource to teach and reflect on a whole life approach to Stewardship.

The Narrative of Generosity encourages the sharing of stories to teach and reflect on Christian stewardship. It is a modular-based resource with 12 themes to help us fulfil our God-given role as stewards.

The Narrative of Generosity invites us toshare, reflectand act. The whole congregation and wider church family are encouraged to participate in the conversations, focussing together on one chosen theme at a time. This resource can be tailored to suit all expressions of local church and is adaptable for online engagement.

12 Stewardship Themes

God Stories

Jesus said "And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent— Jesus the Messiah."

John 17:3

God has entered into relationship with humanity, inviting and entrusting us as part of God's family to be good stewards.

We commit to nurturing our relationship with God, finding time to enjoy God and living out the generous responsibility given to us.

God weaves through all the stories of our lives. Do we expect to encounter Him in our day-to-day comings and goings as much as we do in church activities?

Share

Share stories about:

  • How you first met God
  • How you meet with God now
  • A meaningful time when you felt God close to you
  • A significant time when you worshipped God together. It may have been a Sunday service or a more informal gathering or even a social occasion when you came together and met with God.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • The various ways others have approached and met with God, both individually and collectively
  • How these meetings with God have influenced individuals and the spiritual direction of your congregation
  • The importance of fostering an open and constant communication with God.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you nurture your relationship with God in a new way
  • Choosing a time when you come together as the family of God, making space for creative and varied acts of worship
  • Sharing your faith story with someone new
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your God stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Time Stories

Jesus said, “The time has come, and God’s Kingdom is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News.”

Mark 1:15

Our time on Earth is given by God and has an eternal value.

We partner with God as we are led to use our time wisely to benefit our families, our friends and our neighbours, in our homes, in our social connections and in our communities.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has made everything beautiful in its time and has set eternity in the human heart. This Godly perspective encourages us to appreciate that what we do with our time has an eternal value.

Share

Share stories about:

  • How you have spent time wisely and why you felt it was valuable
  • How your faith impacts on how you spend your time
  • How your understanding of your life and God-given purpose is developing over time.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our time
  • Whether how you spend your time is holding you back from living a full and abundant life
  • How your church is spending its time.

Act

You might consider:

  • Making small changes in your daily routine to make more meaningful use of your time
  • Choosing a time when you explore God’s purpose for your life
  • Choosing a time when your church meets to review how it spends its time
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Time stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Gift Stories

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16

God has blessed us all with a diversity of gifts.

We partner with God as we are led to exercise and share our gifts freely for the growth of the Kingdom, while providing space for all to discover and use their particular gifts, skills and talents.

Romans 12 tells us God has given us the necessary gifts, skills and talents to grow the Kingdom and calls each of us to exercise our gifts as part of the Body of Christ. We may need help to recognise these gifts in ourselves and others.

Share

Share stories about:

  • A time when you have been blessed or helped through another person’s gifts, skills or talents
  • What may have prevented you from using your gifts, skills and talents
  • A time when someone encouraged you to use your gifts, skills or talents.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our gifts, skills and talents
  • Whether everyone is enabled to discern and exercise their gifts, skills and talents within the life of the congregation
  • The range of gifts which are in use within your congregation and community, and also any apparent gaps.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you come together to explore how the gifts, skills and talents of your church family might be used more effectively
  • Choosing a time when you use your gifts, skills and talents in a new way
  • Encouraging someone else to use a gift, skill or talent
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Gift stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Money Stories

Jesus said “No one can have two bosses. He will hate the one and love the other. Or he will listen to the one and work against the other. You cannot have both God and riches as your boss at the same time”.

Matthew 6:24

We honour God when we use money well.

We partner with God as we are led to use our money wisely, both in our giving and in investing it ethically for growth, as a reflection of the generosity shown to us.

Giving to God is a privilege and allows us to participate in His plan of generosity in the world. People in the early church gave generously to help those in need (Acts 4:34-35), to support other churches (Romans 15:25-28) and to enable mission and ministry (3 John: 5-8).

Share

Share stories about:

  • How your background or life experiences have influenced your attitude to money
  • How money has been given and used to good effect within the life of the church
  • A time when your congregation used its financial resources for the good of the community.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our money
  • How your faith affects your relationship with money
  • Where you place your giving to God in your priorities
  • How our monetary gifts might better enable our churches to share our faith and serve our communities.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time to evaluate your current personal giving to God
  • Exploring additional streams of income or funding for your congregation and its projects
  • Looking at ways your congregation could reduce unnecessary expenditure
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Money stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Volunteer Stories

If you feed those who are hungry and take care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness, and you will be bright like sunshine at noon.

Isaiah 58:10

God has blessed the church with a myriad of precious volunteers.

We partner with God as we are led to support and develop those who freely give their gifts, energy and time, celebrating and encouraging them in their acts of service.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us to not grow weary of doing good. It is important to acknowledge and thank those who give freely of their time to the life of the church and community. It might also be the time to involve others to share the load.

Share

Share stories about:

  • A time you have been moved by the impact volunteers have had in your congregation
  • A time when volunteers from your congregation and from your community have come together and the impact they have had
  • A time you feel you have made a difference by volunteering, whether within or outwith your congregation.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our volunteers
  • The part faith plays in our motivation to volunteer
  • How your congregation currently relates to and supports its volunteers
  • How you and your congregation might encourage others to volunteer.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you celebrate the volunteers in your congregation or community
  • Looking at ways you could volunteer to support a project or cause you are passionate about
  • Encouraging new volunteers and promoting opportunities for service
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Volunteer stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Relationship Stories

Jesus said “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognise that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

John 13:34

God created us for relationship with one another.

We partner with God as we are led to respond in love to one another, growing with each other in joyous connection while developing and sustaining an environment of peace.

Jesus gave a new commandment: to love one another as he has loved us. Our love for one another demonstrates God’s love for us. Do our relationships truly reflect this?

Share

Share stories about:

  • How you cultivate meaningful relationships in all areas of your life
  • A time when God’s nature has been reflected to you through someone else
  • A time when you have come across loneliness in your congregation or community.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our relationships
  • The challenges of showing God’s nature in your own relationships
  • How to develop fruitful, healthy and enabling relationships within both the congregation and the community.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when the church family comes together socially to nurture relationships
  • Choosing a regular time to engage with people in your community who might appreciate some company and friendship
  • Striking up a conversation with someone you may not normally speak to
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Relationship stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Possession Stories

Jesus said, “Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is futile. The passage of time will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your homes and steal your precious possessions. Instead, place them in heaven where time is eternal, and your treasure is safe.”

Matthew 6:18-20

God has blessed us with many good things.

We partner with God as we are led to use the things we have for personal and church growth, to recognise when those things become of no use and to let go to make space for new.

Jesus tells us that life does not consist in an abundance of possessions (Luke 12: 15). That said, our churches should be properly equipped and resourced to meet the contemporary needs of our communities. Do we see the true value of our material goods and can we acknowledge when they reach the end of their usefulness?

Share

Share stories about:

  • An object or possession you have a particular attachment to and the memories it holds for you
  • A time you gave away a possession for the benefit of yourself or others
  • The impact that possessions within your church have on your worship and congregational life.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our possessions
  • The value you place on material things, both within the church and in your own home
  • Whether there might be some more effective resources needed to help the congregation better serve its community.

Act

You might consider:

  • Exploring which possessions you no longer need and finding them new homes where appropriate
  • Undertaking a church wide inventory of possessions and evaluating their usefulness
  • Choosing a time when you gather to consider investing wisely in new or existing possessions
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Possession stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Youth Stories

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

Young people are a blessing to the Church.

We partner with God as we are led to support young people on their life journey, to uphold them in a rapidly changing world and to care for them as they face the pressures of contemporary culture.

Jesus valued the place of young people in God’s Kingdom. They can bring much to the lives of our congregations and communities. Do we encourage them to be involved and do we value their contributions?

Share

Share stories about:

  • A time when you have felt that the interaction with the young people in your congregation or community has been particularly powerful
  • How you have been inspired or helped in your own faith by a young person
  • A time in your youth when you were encouraged to do something or entrusted with responsibility.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our young people
  • Whether the young people in the congregation are encouraged to take a full role in the life of the church
  • Whether there are opportunities for the church to engage with younger people within the local community.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time to agree practical steps to more fully integrate young people into decision making processes within your church
  • Choosing a time to hold an inter-generational event in your congregation, involving people of all ages in the planning stages and delivery
  • Choosing a time to engage with community groups working with young people in your area
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Youth stories

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Mind Stories

In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him.

John 1:1-2

God has given us intricate and creative minds.

We partner with God as we are led to use our minds creatively, while renewing and nurturing them through prayerful reflection, meditation and ongoing learning and development.

Romans 12:2 talks about transformation through the renewal of our mind. There is a clear connection between thoughts, renewal and transformation.  Our thoughts help shape who we are and who we become.

Share

Share stories about:

  • What inspires your thinking
  • A time when your thinking or understanding was challenged or expanded
  • Something that has helped you to develop your mind or improve your thinking.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our minds
  • Your lifestyle and consider the impact – both positive and negative – on your mind and thought life
  • How you and your congregation might encourage creativity and healthier minds.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time to encourage creative thinking in your congregation
  • Choosing a time to undertake an activity which stretches your thinking and imagination
  • Creating space for renewal and to facilitate activities that encourage healthier minds
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Mind stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Body Stories

Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him in the right way.

Romans 12:1

Our bodies belong to God and our use and care of them should be honouring to God.

We partner with God as we are led to be careful stewards of our physical bodies and to support the needs of each other.

Psalm 139 speaks of God making each one of us in an intentional and wonderful way, describing a Creator who cares about our physical well-being as well as our spiritual health. In the New Testament, we see many examples of Jesus’ concern and care for people whose physical conditions impacted significantly on their quality of life.

Share

Share about:

  • What the words “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) mean to you
  • Something positive you have done in the last year to improve your own fitness, health or well-being
  • Some of the specific barriers to healthy living within your own community and context.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our bodies
  • Your own lifestyle or daily routine and consider the impact –both positive and negative – on your well-being
  • How you and your church might help and encourage your community towards healthier living.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you come together to participate in healthy activities and invite your community to join in
  • Choosing three ways to incorporate healthier activities into your personal routine and note the results
  • Reviewing whether your church building is accessible and welcoming for all
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Body stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Earth Stories

Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Genesis 1:26

The Earth was given as a gift to us all at creation.

We partner with God as we are led to care for all creatures, to manage Earth’s finite resources and to celebrate our wonderful planet.

Genesis 1 indicates that God looked at creation and said it was very good. From the start, we were tasked with caring for this generous gift.

Share

Share stories about:

  • The beauty of the Earth and those places you appreciate most
  • A time when you have been affected by nature being spoiled
  • A time when your practices and views concerning the earth’s resources were challenged.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of the Earth and its resources
  • Your use of the Earth’s resources
  • How you and your congregation might take steps to be more environmentally friendly and encourage others in this.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you do something together to appreciate the Earth
  • Choosing a time when you make a positive change to help care for the Earth
  • Learning about places which are seriously impacted by environmental issues
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Earth stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

Vision Stories

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

God, through Jesus Christ, has set us upon a journey of faith.

We partner with God as we are led to develop a mission that acknowledges the past, embraces the present and reaches expectantly into the future.

God has plans for us to prosper, to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We can often miss that divine perspective in the midst of our busy lives or in challenging circumstances, yet still we are called to keep our eyes on God and help to build His Kingdom here.

Share

Share stories about:

  • A time when your congregation was most valued in your community
  • How your church is currently having an impact on your community
  • What you would like to see your church doing in the next 5 or 10 years.

Reflect

Reflect on:

  • Your own stories and on those you have heard from others
  • What it means to be good stewards of our shared vision for the church
  • The ways in which the mission and work of your congregation has adapted and changed over time
  • God’s faithfulness and his promise to be with us into the future.

Act

You might consider:

  • Choosing a time when you walk around your community in pairs or small groups, seeing it with fresh eyes and asking God to direct your thinking
  • Choosing a time when you meet together to talk about the emerging needs of your congregation and community
  • Choosing a time when you meet to pray about the vision for your church’s future
  • Celebrating and sharing the impact of your Vision stories.

Contact your Stewardship Consultant for support and resources to support this theme.

For further information and related resources, contact the stewardship team at stewardship@churchofscotland.org.uk