Probably most of us have never thought of leadership as a currency of stewardship, but a closer look will reveal just how important it is for the effective stewardship of our God-given resources. Knowing how to empower members to share their gifts and experiences and to do it in a way that is beneficial to the community is crucial.
As Eric Law puts it in his book “Holy Currencies”, “Gracious leaders think of their leadership roles as water. They use their skills, knowledge, experiences, and disciplines to “flow” through a community, interacting and connecting different people, groups or gifts, thereby causing new things to happen.” Gracious leaders know how to generate and use all of the Holy Currencies. They help create gracious environments within which mutually respectful relationships and the discernment of truth across differences can be built among members and the wider community as well.
Investing in developing our ministry leaders at all levels is vital for building an effective parish ministry. Gracious leaders typically don’t grow on trees but are nurtured and developed through modeling, adopting biblical principles and values, and taking opportunities to learn. Good stewardship then includes the development of the gifts and skills of all our members and especially of those who have leadership functions.
In thinking about leaders, don’t just focus on clergy or vestry members. In a sense any of us who are seeking to influence God’s people towards God’s purposes are acting as leaders. This means that we all need to consider committing to mentoring or training that will enable us to be part of the gracious leadership pool of Trinity. For us as a church to be truly missional and move towards greater sustainability, we need to invest time and funds in the development of effective leadership.
Stewardship is not just about money but about using well all that God provides us. Eric Law in his book “Holy Currencies” helps us to understand that there are actually 6 currencies which are available and as good and faithful stewards, we need to use all of them both to be sustainable and missional as a church. Let’s take a closer look at these currencies and see how they can help Trinity fulfill its mission and calling.
So many churches think that they are poor because they do not have a large endowment fund or abundant pledged income. However, volunteer time is a valuable and important currency. Without the offer of time, not much can happen.
Often one of the first responses from parish members is that they do not have the time to invest in church-related ministries that might be proposed. The fact is, most of us have more time than we think we have. If we compare the amount of time we give to watching TV, playing games on the computer or fiddling with our phones, it’s surprising how much is actually available.
Each of us needs to frequently assess how much time we pledge to Trinity as well as money to see God’s purposes furthered.
Likewise, the currency of place is a crucial gift from God that needs to be stewarded well. Both the property and physical assets of Trinity are an invaluable currency that enable vital ministries to take place that can build relationships, create wellness both within our church and community that help us to maximally fulfill our mission.
If a church facility is only used a few hours a week for worship and meetings and is locked for the rest of the week, that church is not maximizing its currency of place. How then can we utilize our facilities to be more relevant to the community?
Eric Law suggests that we seek creative uses of our property to bring members of the community to our place. Using church space for art shows, theater events, community forums, support groups, community gardens, farmer’s markets etc. can connect people to what God is offering them.
Churches are only poor when they do not fully utilize effectively their properties to serve the community as well as the congregation. For example, one church offered their church parking lot for a weekly Food Truck Frenzy. The church created a nice picnic area for people to eat and interact. The food truck owners donate 10% of their proceeds to the church. Members of the church spend time at the Food Truck Frenzy to meet people and listen to them. Trust is being built and truth about the needs and concerns of the community are discovered.
How much more might we be able to utilize our facilities to make Trinity truly relevant to the community and serve its needs?
Guess what book the Vestry, Visioning Task Force and the Stewardship Commission are all reading this summer! You might be surprised but it is called Holy Currencies by Eric Law. Sound like a relaxing beach read? Well maybe not, but it is a very important book for our congregation to read and implement in the coming year. Why? Because Eric Law helps us to find a way as a parish to be not only sustainable financially but at the same time be truly missional; that is, able to effectively fulfill our mission and vision while paying the bills.
Often we think of money as being the most important currency for a church. Our yearly stewardship campaigns focus on pledges and income. However, author Eric Law helps us to understand that there are actually 6 currencies which are available and as good and faithful stewards, we need to use all of them. So what are these currencies and why are they important?
•Time and place
We see many Episcopal churches running into financial trouble or not growing because of a lack of awareness of all six of these currencies and how they can be exchanged to advance vital ministries and God’s Kingdom purposes through us. It is the flowing of these currencies that gives them value. It is the dynamic exchanges of these currencies that circulates and regenerates resources making a ministry such as ours sustainable and missional.
Want to know more about these holy currencies and how they can make a major difference for us as believers and as a parish? Then I would encourage you to join the summer reading and get a copy of Holy Currencies by Eric Law. It is highly readable and extremely practical and challenging. You can get your copy easily through Amazon in Kindle form or as a print copy. So stay tuned for much more about these dynamic currencies in the coming months.