Free church resources & sermon notes for Lent 2014

By Alexandra Khan | 29 January 2014 | Comments (1)

Do 40acts Together with Stewardship

 

Lent has formed part of many church traditions for centuries, as we take the time to remember Jesus' sacrifice for all mankind. Traditionally Lent is marked by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent.

Whether your church usually observes Lent or not, we invite you to join us for 40acts Together. This free seven-week, downloadable series will include full sermon notes for each week, event planners and promotional activities to help your congregation get to grips with generosity, and reach out into their community during Lent and beyond. Download the sermon outline, and you'll get a preview of the resources.

 

download a free sermon outline for Lent 2014

 

Sign up for 40acts Together as a church leader and you'll receive:

- full sermon notes for each week
- an event planner and weekly emails to inspire you
- posters and postcards to put up and give away in your community
- the daily 40acts emails with reflections from high profile contributors from the Christian community

Contributing this year: Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Shaun King (HopeMob), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Jonty Langley (Huffington Post), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days), Sam Gibb (Sorted Magazine), Charlie Blythe (A21 Campaign, Hillsong) and many more.

Head to the 40acts website and select your group from the list. You can sign up as a group leader, and the resources will be available to download for free from Feb 10th.

 

sign up for 40acts 2014 as a church leader

equipped to go: the top 5 things OSCAR thinks every missionary should know about

By Mike Frith | 4 April 2012 | Comments (1)

OSCAR is the premier online information portal for missionaries. We spoke to its founder - Mike Frith - about the top 5 resources every missionary should know about.

  1. Where to find the Right Opportunity - Some of the first questions anyone has when called to mission work are ‘Where should I go?’, ‘What shall I do?’ and ‘Who with?’. OSCAR lists opportunities from a huge range of mission and overseas Christian organisations ... in fact we list more opportunities in most categories than any other Christian website in the UK. We also link to others who also advertise Christian opportunities, which makes OSCAR a good place to start. See www.oscar.org.uk/vacancies
  2. Where to find the Best Deals – There’s a lot of expenditure even before a missionary gets to the field; like flights, shipping, equipment, medicines etc. Then during home leave or holidays, more finance is needed for renting a house, a car or taking a holiday. For all of these, there are specialist services who can provide you with a good deal, often discounted and tailored to what you want rather than what someone wants to sell you. OSCAR lists many services throughout its website which fall into this category. Just search for what you need.
  3. Where to find People Who Understand – One of the problems in a missionary’s line of work is getting specialised advice and support from people who really understand their situation.  From the practical to the spiritual, OSCAR lists many services offering specialist and expert help in areas likely to come up in the life of a missionary.  This would include general financial advice, tax, insurance, medical treatment, childrens’ education, counselling etc.  As with the first point, just search the OSCAR site for what you need. OSCAR also has an interactive online community of around 400 Christian workers (OSCARactive), so there’s always someone in a similar situation who can offer peer-to-peer advice or share experiences.
  4. How to get your Church Onboard – There are some good resources to help you with raising personal support. Stewardship provides some great help in this area, including the ‘Funding the Family Business’ course. But what about getting your church onboard? ‘Serving as Senders’ is the title of a key book which helps churches grasp their responsibilities and opportunities for being involved in the life and ministry of the people they send. There is also a day course based on the book which can be conducted right in your supporting church to help get everyone on board. See www.oscar.org.uk/training
  5. Help with Re-entry & Retirement – Re-entry is an important time. It’s also a time when missionaries can feel the least supported. When you return from overseas or retire from mission work, OSCAR continues to help you when others might think you don’t need it. We list services which can help you find a car, buy a house, find a church, link up with other returned missionaries ... you name it. We also have info about courses, retreats and services which can offer advice during this important time. Again, just search OSCAR for what you need or email us and we’ll help you find it.

 


You can email Mike at [email protected] for more info on any of the topics above.

new support for Christian workers

By Alexandra Khan | 8 February 2012

Help is on the way - Cory Doctorow

image by Cory Doctorow, used under Creative Commons Licence.

In 2011, we set out to discover how we could support Christian workers more effectively. We conducted two surveys and asked a range of questions relating to personal finances, budgeting, income, savings and lifestyle. It came as no real surprise to learn that Christian workers are living on far less than average income, and are often receiving less financial support than they need.

 

You can read the full survey summaries and results here:

 

Christian worker survey summary #1

 

Christian worker survey summary #2

 

How we're going to help:

 

This year Stewardship will oversee a substantial increase in free resources for Christian workers, based on what you shared with us in the surveys. From free training days about support-raising, to downloadable guides about pensions and savings, we’re aiming to equip and help Christian workers so that they can be effective in their calling.

 

Free training days... if you’re in full time Christian work, we believe you should always feel confident and equipped with your finances and personal support raising, whether you are brand new to the work or long established. But we know it isn’t easy, which is why we now run regular, free, ‘training days’ at our offices in Loughton, Essex.  Designed to cover the biblical basis for support-raising, technical issues such as taxation and practical subjects like budgeting or using social media effectively. You also get a great Stewardship lunch thrown in for free and the chance to have a sneak peak behind the scenes!

One visitor from last year commented:

“It was an invaluable opportunity to meet fellow workers in very different fields – it gave a refreshing perspective on my work; seeing the bigger picture. I’d encourage others to attend.”


Free resources... The first of our free resources is entitled ‘Finance for Living’. In this three-part series, Myles Wilson (founder and author of Funding the Family Business) discusses the key issues of support raising, and asks two vital questions – ‘how much is enough?’ And ‘to ask or not to ask?’. As well as tackling the practical ways to approach finances, Myles looks at the psychological barriers that often prevent Christian workers from asking for support.

Download the Finance for Living series directly from this blog, or head to the Christian worker area of our website to download them from there. Please note, the Finance for Living series is in PDF format requiring Adobe Reader. This is free and can be obtained here.

ministers in debt... tackling the taboo

By Bethan Walker | 6 January 2012

CAP money ministers

 

"As a chartered surveyor in Local Government, I enjoyed a good salary and loans with preferential rates. Then God called me into the ministry. Living by faith in Bible College was somewhat different!”. Restructuring debts and taking on a second job, whilst working for the church, seemed like the only option. “We ended up using credit cards to buy groceries, we felt we had no other choice; we chose more debt rather than allow our children to go without.”

This is how Julian’s story begins; one of a number of Church ministers who have found themselves reaching out to Christians Against Poverty’s debt counselling service in recent years. And Julian isn’t alone. Our own anecdotal research suggests that debt amongst senior church leaders and ministers is rising, with many feeling forced to suffer in silence.

“Being in debt is a massive taboo subject especially for a church leader – who can you confide in? You worry that your ministry will be affected if people in your church learn of your struggle and not everyone has a family friend they can turn to.”

Which is why this week we are celebrating the launch of CAP Money Ministers - a new, confidential service for senior church leaders experiencing personal debt issues, working in partnership with Christians Against Poverty.

Mike O’Neill, Stewardship’s Chief Executive, adds “We often hear from church leaders who lack confidence in their own finances and in their ability to speak confidently about money with others. That’s why we are so thrilled to be partnering with CAP to launch CAP Money Ministers; a service which we hope will release hundreds of church leaders from financial worry and, in doing so, free them to do the same for their congregations."

For Julian, the lifeline came when a friend referred him to CAP, who quickly worked to turn his situation around.

“The great thing that CAP did for us was to give us hope: hope that we could sort out the debt, hope that it wouldn’t last forever. There is a way out of debt.” Read the rest of Julian's story here.

Anyone can struggle with their finances and fall into debt, particularly in the current economic climate; those that lead churches are no exception. Even those leading churches, who are expected to be perfect all the time!

If you are in a ministerial position and need help with money management, contact CAP Money Ministers’ confidential helpline on 01274 760780, or click here to find out more.

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