Download as PDFThis format can be applied to many Biblical passages and to many groups, and can be used in very large or very small parishes or congregations.  You can use the introductory one and one more, or use them all in subsequent meetings.  Using these sessions in sequence with your Parish Council or Advisory Board might be especially important, especially at the beginning of their year of service together, or at a retreat.  The sessions can be led by the priest, or, better still, by a lay person who is skilled at facilitation.

Session One

Hand out a paper with these four questions on it and plenty of space for them to write brief notes after each question.  The questions:

  1. Why do you give to God through this parish?
  2. What is the best reason you have heard or read for giving to God?
  3. How did you set the amount of your giving this year?
  4. What is the best way you have heard of or read to decide on setting the amount you will give this year?

Give people about 5 minutes to jot down ideas.

Ask them to meet in groups of 3 to discuss what they have written…discuss, not just report to each other. (10 minutes or so)

Gather in the larger group to share some of the ideas they heard from each other and discuss then the implications for the parish. (15 minutes)

Close with a short prayer asking God’s guidance in applying what has been learned.

Session Two

Bible Study-Malachi 3: 7-11

This time, have ready a paper with the reading from Malachi on the one page, and these questions on the back with space for notes after each question:

  1. What is the demand in the passage?
  2. What is the promise in the package?
  3. How do you see yourself meeting this demand in your church?
  4. What impact does this passage have for you in thinking of your annual responsible contribution to the church’s ministry?
  5. As a group, what do we believe about the stewardship of financial resources?

Have one person read the passage aloud.

Ask people to reread the passage silently and ponder it.

Jot down their notes for each question individually and quietly.  (5 minutes)

Meet in 3’s to discuss the answers that emerged for the individuals. (10 minutes)

Gather in the larger group to discuss the impact of both the demand and the promise on the way you give and on the way the parish gives and on the way the parishioners are asked to consider their giving. (10-15 minutes)

Close with a short prayer asking God’s guidance in applying what has been learned.

Session Three

Bible Study- 2 Corinthians 9:6-14

Same exercise as Session Two

Session Four

Bible Study—Luke 6:37-38

Same exercise as Session Two

Session Five

Develop a theology of stewardship…what do we, as a group, believe about the stewardship of financial resources?

(If the group is an Advisory Board or Parish Council or otherwise in leadership) Develop a plan to share your work and statement with the congregation, explaining why you have thought it to be central to your leadership ministry.