At our 2014 Bishop’s Convocation, held Nov. 12-14 at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, we heard from Rev. Renee LiaBraaten, a stewardship consultant with Kairos and Associates, and Rev. Dr. David Lose, president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, teaching on differences in giving and generosity across the generations and ways that congregations and leaders can model generous giving. We also heard inspiring words from Bishop Burkat and Bishop Stephen Munga of our companion synod, the North-Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.
These resources are for the use of Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod congregations and leaders in their ministries within the synod. Other uses require you to obtain permission directly from the authors.
Renée LiaBraaten noted that giving patterns are changing for all generations. Baby Boomers no longer have time to read through newsletters; electronic giving is big for Millenials but becoming commonplace for many generations. But one thing is constant: Giving out of a sense of duty is declining, and many people give because their contributions make a real difference. “How are you telling the story of the difference your members’ giving makes?” she asked. It is particularly challenging for congregations to get on younger adults’ “screens,” she said. One tip: Make sure your website represents who you are and what causes you support…and offers electronic giving, she said.
In this presentation, Renee shares insights into how generations are different in their giving habits, preferences, and motivations.
Slides (PPTX): WED-REV Notesgenerations presentation_final
Slides (PDF): WED-REV Notesgenerations presentation_final
In this practical session Renee shares examples and ideas to help generate faithful givers.
Slides (PPTX): FRI-Where’s the Fruit_final
Slides (PDF): FRI-Where’s the Fruit_final
David Lose noted that the story of economic growth, unheard of at the time of Christ, has come to supplant the Christian story that “all shall not want.” Giving to the church or community needs is a matter of identity, he said. The church has to practice living into its alternative story by helping Christians to steep themselves in stories of community and compassion. “Big change is often easier than incremental change,” Lose said, so when asking people to change “make it worth it.” The good news: “Creating a culture of generosity is possible,” Lose said. “Practicing it over and over is everything.”
If money can’t buy happiness, why do we act as if it does? In this presentation David explains how the church’s story of generosity has been co-opted by the narrative of consumerism, and how we can tell an alternative story.
Slides (PDF): Money Can’t Buy Me Love – SEPA Nov 2014
Faith and generosity grow out of identity. David offers ideas for helping Christians develop a generous identity and live into Christianity’s alternative story.
Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30 (Parable of the Talents) (lower quality recording):
Bishop Stephen Munga
David Lose is the President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Prior to his election as LTSP President, he served as the Marbury Anderson Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Both his MDiv and STM were earned at LTSP. Among Dr. Lose’s many skills are strategic planning and relationship building. He demonstrates an entrepreneurial gift, having founded the Center for Biblical Preaching, including WorkingPreacher.org. His analysis of the intersection of the culture and the church, and his interest in exploring new models for congregational leadership in the twenty-first century are important elements in exploring new opportunities for theological education.
Renée LiaBraaten served as a parish pastor for 14 years before becoming a stewardship consultant with Kairos and Associates in 1999. Renee has extensive experience in leading congregations of all sizes through customized stewardship, capital funding and visioning programs. Renee is a graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA. She has worked in Estonia and Latvia raising funds and organizing summer work projects to help rebuild churches in the Baltic States. She has led stewardship workshops at The Parish Resource Center in Lancaster, PA, the Northeast Stewardship Conference, and numerous Synod Assemblies. Renée lives on the coast of Maine with her husband, Jerry, who is the pastor of Nativity Lutheran Church in Rockport, ME.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Munga, elected in 2001, continues to serve as Bishop of the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Bishop Munga earned a Doctor of Theology (PhD) in Systematic Theology/Political Ethics from Lund University in Sweden. In his role as bishop he also serves as Chancellor of Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University, a diocesan institution of higher education. Both within Tanzania and in global arenas, Bishop Munga is an outspoken advocate for economic and social justice. As such, he has been asked to give input to various international entities, including the European Parliament and the G-8, being recognized as a spokesperson for the concerns of sub-Saharan Africa.
We gratefully acknowledge these partners, whose support helps make this year’s Convocation possible: