Through planning and education, worshipers will begin to feel and see the offering as a time of celebration
Nashville, TN (Vocus) September 23, 2008
The Revs. Melvin and James Amerson, clergy brothers from Texas, have at least two things in common: they are from the same family of origin and they are passionate about giving. So much so they have co-authored a new book on stewardship called "Celebrating the Offering" (Discipleship Resources, 2007).
Discipleship Resources, one of two publishing units of the General Board of Discipleship, invited the brothers to Nashville for "An Evening with the Authors" at Scarritt-Bennett Center and to lead Upper Room Chapel Service September 9-10.
Come Sunday morning, the brothers believe worshipers should be as excited about giving the offering as they are about other aspects of worship, such as singing and preaching.
Speaking to a gathering of local pastors and laity, the Amersons said that the reality we find in most churches is a tendency to disconnect giving from the act of worship.
"Celebrating the Offering" (http://www.gbod.org/stewardship) emphasizes that the offering is a part of the worship experience, though frequently it appears to be disengaged from the rest of the service and happens without much forethought.
"In my two decades of ministry, I have come to realize that any time the preacher or minister begins to preach on stewardship, the natural response of the people in the pews is to fold their arms and close their ears," says the Rev. James Amerson, senior minister of Lolita and Point Comfort United Methodist churches in the Southwest Texas Conference.
The offering is not only a time to worship the Lord through the presentation of the believers' tithes and offerings, but it is also a time to recognize how blessed we are.
The Rev. George Donigian, editor of Discipleship Resources, says, "'Celebrating the Offering'" is important because many churches fail to think about how they invite people to give their offerings and it often comes across as if the church is putting forth a commercial instead of really celebrating the grace of God and what is really represented in offerings."
Planning is essential in making the offering an integral part of worship.
"Pastors and worship leaders must be more intentional about re-connecting the offering as part of the worship experience," said the Rev. Melvin Amerson, stewardship consultant for the Texas Methodist Foundation.
"Through planning and education, worshipers will begin to feel and see the offering as a time of celebration," he said.
Pastors and worship leaders can use "Celebrating the Offering" as a means of revitalizing the spirit of generosity in their churches.
In addition to sections that help children and youth celebrate the offering, prayers and litanies are included in the resource, which is designed for both clergy and laity.
The brothers read from "Celebrating the Offering," and this was followed by a Q & A on stewardship and a book signing.
GBOD's mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit http://www.gbod.org, or call the Media Relations Office toll free at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 7017.