By Cassandra McIntosh
On January 26th, 2018 at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University seminarians, lay leaders, and rostered leaders gathered together to talk about a vital aspect of congregational ministry, stewardship. At this event featured keynote speaker the Reverend Doctor Charles Lane a retired professor from Luther Seminary, co‐author of Embracing Stewardship: How to put stewardship at the heart of your congregation’s life, the author of Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation, and the author of two annual stewardship programs, Because of God’s Great Mercy and Walk with Jesus. Charles Lane encouraged us to think about stewardship not just as one part of a congregation’s ministry but a holistic part of all the ministry that happens in a congregation, to say thank you as lay leaders and rostered leaders for all the various time, talents, and treasures that God’s people share with our congregations, and to remember that part of stewardship is having faith in what God has provided. After some time listening to Pastor Lane, seminarians, rostered leaders, and lay leaders listened to a panel discussion featuring local pastors, seminarians, and lay leaders talking about Bible verses connected to stewardship, personal stewardship practices, and what it means to live generously. Following the panel the group broke into small groups to discuss Pastor Lane’s presentation and to form questions together to bring back to our presenter. It was an educational and formational day for all who attended.
Local Pastor Stephen Mims, from Pisgah Lutheran Church in Lexington SC, said that at the stewardship symposium “Chick Lane took a problem that many congregations have been struggling with for years and made good stewardship seem achievable.”
Seminarian Molly Markley offered these reflections on her experience, “As a senior seminarian, I am thankful that I attended the stewardship symposium at LTSS. At the end of the symposium, the seniors had valuable time together with Charles Lane. It was a safe space to raise questions and be in conversation with colleagues who are also about to enter first call. We all had common fears and anxieties about church stewardship, but by the end we all felt a bit more confident. Because of the stewardship symposium, I feel more prepared going into first call.” Another seminarian Joanna Gragg reported, “I really appreciated the opportunity to hear some practical wisdom from Charles Lane. I also enjoyed the opportunity to sit with other church leaders and hear about their struggles and successes concerning stewardship.
The Stewardship Symposium has been a great partnership between the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Speakers and Events Committee, and the LTSS/Region 9 ELCA Council for Stewardship Education. While the symposium is offered to students at the seminary, local congregations are also invited to engage in important conversations on the use of our time, talents and treasure which God has entrusted to us.
About the author: Cassie McIntosh-Overcash, from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina is a senior seminarian at LTSS and currently serves as their student body president. She also currently works at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Prosperity, SC.