In Conversation with Maureen Rock

Stewardship - at the heart of growing lifelong disciples

News February 16, 2023

16 February 2023 | St. Albans [David Neal with Maureen Rock]

It is late afternoon as we get together in Maureen Rock’s office just along the corridor from where I (David Neal) work at the Trans-European Division (TED) offices in St. Albans. Maureen tells me she has just been on a zoom call with the Stewardship team at the General Conference in Silver Spring. It’s a high profile time for Stewardship Ministries as this quarter’s Sabbath School Bible studies focus on the theme, Managing for the Master-Till He Comes.

“How’s it going with the world church currently focussed on the stewardship theme?,” I ask. “It has started off well and I am excited about these lessons” replies Rock, “I like the approach of these studies because they start off in the right place – at creation, reminding us that all humankind is part of God’s family, who invites us to manage not only our own lives but also our world.” But as Rock quickly adds, “It’s not only the big picture matters this series of studies considers, but one which gets right down to the nitty gritty of how God invites us to manage our everyday lives – which is incredibly helpful for the cost-of-living crisis many TED members are currently facing.”

“I notice you keep using the word ‘management’ more than ‘stewardship’, I remark. “Absolutely,” replies Rock. “You see David, we are still challenged with the use of this old English word which in our TED context has no direct translation in a number of our languages. So yes, ‘management’ best describes the partnership God invites us to enter into.

Having just returned from a weekend of ministry in the Cyprus Region, Rock shares how elements of her practical presentations were focussed on dealing with debt – an approach which invited participants to first “look at themselves as a person”. “Can I emphasise here that this has to be a compassionate and understanding process, listening to the challenges tens of thousands our TED members face. My role is to invite them to place their desperate situations, into the context of being faithful to God and returning to Him what is His. We had such a dynamic discussion dealing with what it takes to get out of personal debt in Cyprus.,” remarks Rock. “We are saying to an individual –  because God has given you so much, everything, why not accept His invitation and recognise that by returning to Him a tenth of your personal increase?” Unpacking this further, Rock also adds, “we need to recognise that in our partnership with God we bring to the table absolutely nothing – and God has invited us to be partners with him, not as His servant, but as his friend. Is that not the miracle of grace?”

“And so what I try to do”, Rock continues, “is to the break down the debt problem into small steps – to manage the first steps towards debt recovery. And that recovery I am convinced involves a management partnership with God. At our local churches, it is important that we build loving relationships with each other so that we can carefully support those who find themselves living with debt through no fault of their own.

“If we are inviting God to ‘manage’ our lives because of his wonderful act of grace to us through Christ, in the same way is this not what a disciple does?”, I ask. “Absolutely” says Rock who goes on to answer the question by asking more questions. “What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? If I accept God’s gracious invitation to follow Him, own and manage my life, resulting in me being a teachable person, am I willing to live a life in continual listening mode to discover His will for my life? Is not the understanding of Christian stewardship at the heart of discipleship, taking a lifelong journey with God? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ because inviting God to manage my life is at the heart of discipleship. This is ‘grateful living,’ and I might just add, Stewardship Ministries is right at the heart of the TED’s strategic focus to ‘Grow Lifelong Disciples’!

As I continue to listen, I’m picking up from Rock an essential outcome of the discipleship process. “Therefore Christian stewardship is embracing our relationship with God in all aspects of our lives, our time, talent, treasure, body temple and family life. This in turn can only lead us to being effective contributors to our neighbourhood, sharing God’s word and giving a testimony of His grace providing hope to those we meet. The most important aspect of stewardship is not the raising of money for the church, but the development of devoted Christians.”

Rock began her ministerial journey back in 2010 as a local church pastor, but was quickly recruited to serve as the Principal of the British Union Conference Adventist Discovery Centre in 2017. Her call to ministry grew after working in business consultancy and management. It was in the spring of 2021 that she was called to serve in the stewardship role at the TED. I’m interested to know how Rock has settled into the role.

“What excites you most about Christian Stewardship? I ask. Without a moment’s hesitation Rock replies, “It’s the opportunity to reach out to support our counterparts at the Union-level sharing the breadth of dynamic resources we can make available for them to use – both in the language of the Union, and age relevant. My burden is to help them and the church promote and present stewardship subject matter in a different and more holistic way than it’s been shared in times past, because this ministry is about developing people, growing people into faithful Christ followers – putting Him first. And just in case any of your readers have missed this point, I will say it again and again – this is not about ‘what we must do for God – or the church’, but a consideration of ‘our response’ to his great and overwhelming grace for us in Christ.’

As I begin to draw our time together to an end I can see that Rock is anxious to share a new development for TED Stewardship Ministries. Mystified about what it could be, I invite her to explain. “Conversations have begun with Newbold College of Higher Education regarding the inclusion of an academic stewardship module for future pastors as part of their ministerial training.”

The light has gone on and I can see why Rock is incredibly excited about this, because without doubt it is a huge step forward. In one sense it’s not rocket science because as Rock points out, “Teaching members the principles of Christian stewardship and becoming lifelong disciples is a major part of a pastor’s role. By including this module for newly called ministerial students we are setting the foundation for encouraging grateful living among our members.

‘Grateful living’ – what could be a better value for the Christ-follower to embrace?


Stewardship Resources

New Sabbath School Lesson app (available in 39 languages).
God First channel GC Stewardship Ministries
2023 Youth (inVerse) Stewardship Sabbath School Quarterly
2023 Adult Stewardship Sabbath School Quarterly
Hope Channel InVerse (Youth Lesson) Hope Channel show
Hope Channel Sabbath School 

[Photos: David Neal]

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