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 7 June 2019 | St Albans, UK [John Surridge. Photos: Victor Hulbert] 

"StStewardship waterewardship is practical from the word go," states the newly appointed TED Stewardship director, Pastor Paul Lockham. Even in his introduction to a team of stewardship leaders from across the Trans-European Division, he pointed out that he uses a refillable water bottle rather than a single use plastic bottle. "Stewardship is a biblical balance across our entire life," he said.

Lockham was leading the first TED Stewardship Summit since 2012. For one full day, on Tuesday 4 June 2019, Union, Conference and Mission stewardship directors gathered at the headquarters office in St Albans for a very practical time of learning, discussion and resourcing.

In his keynote address, TED President, Pastor Raafat Kamal, emphasised that stewardship is not just about money but is much bigger than that. “Everything we do comes under the banner of stewardship,” he said. “It is really about discipleship.” Citing the story of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, he went on to say that, although Greta’s motives may be different, Adventists too should be good stewards of the environment because we believe that everything belongs to God.

Stewardship group
TED Executive Secretary, Audrey Andersson, led the first interactive session by asking participants to share the challenges they faced in trying to raise awareness of stewardship in their fields. These varied from lack of resources in appropriate languages, to disillusionment with the church structure and system among the millennial generation. Nevertheless, in general there was deep appreciation for the faithfulness of our members in returning God’s tithe and giving generously of their own resources.

Stewardship Paul LockhamLockham, spent some time reviewing the current General Conference strategic plan for stewardship. Entitled ‘God First’, the plan takes great care to emphasise the basic principle that God is the Owner and Provider of everything that we usually think of as “ours”. In the past, tithing may have been presented as a legalistic demand made on every church member to return to God what is His. Though this has scriptural authority, a much better way to present tithing is as a natural response to the Christian understanding of our place in God’s world.

In a lively discussion of the ‘storehouse’ principle – the place where God’s people should return His tithe – Christel van Maarseveen from the Netherlands pointed out that “not everyone in the church sees the church as representing God. The church can and does make mistakes, and this can lead people to lose confidence in it.” Yannis Vrakas from the Greek Mission noted that this was particularly true of young people, but it can make a big difference if they are given the opportunity to see the bigger picture of the church, by going on a mission trip for example.

Stewardship FOCUSVictor Pilmoor, Chief Financial Officer for Stanborough Press, surprised all of those present with the wide range of stewardship resources which are now available from Stanborough Press. Among the stacks of books and magazines which he distributed was the latest Focus magazine, featuring Greta Thunberg on the cover and containing a number of environmentally themed stewardship articles. (It is no coincidence that the new Stanborough Press editor, Pastor David Neal, is the former TED Stewardship director). Other resources included a new edition of E G White's "Counsels on Stewardship", published for the first time in paperback, and an excellent children's colouring book entitled, "My Gifts".

Surprisingly though, what captured the imagination of the stewardship directors more than anything, was the "Combined Offering Plan". This was new to many, despite being introduced as far back as 2002, and enables churches to take up just one offering per Sabbath. Monies from this one offering are then allocated in proportions previously agreed by the church, with the largest portion remaining with the local church and smaller amounts going to the conference for world missions and the like. This systematic approach ensures that the local church always receives the money that it needs for its own operations, despite the emotional giving sometimes generated by special causes.

For more information, see the stewardship page on the TED website at: ted.adventist.org/stewardship-ministries.
A free digital copy of the environmentally themed Focus Magazine is available by sending an email to the editor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
119 St Peter's Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
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