By Dyan Dietz, DisciplesWorld contributing writer
DALLAS (2/6/08) — What has happened to the image of Christian stewardship?
That was the question posed Saturday by James P. Johnson, guest lecturer for the Stalcup School of Theology’s first annual James R. Reed Seminar on Christian Stewardship.
Johnson has served as president of the Christian Church Foundation and as president of the Church Finance Council. His topic for the lecture, held at Northway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Dallas, was “Christian Stewardship: Biblical Images, Personal Belief, and Church Practice.”
Johnson proposed that the biblical image of stewardship is an easy one to understand.
“This caretaker image has been given to us over a long period of time. We get this! This is not complicated. God is the owner, we are the caretaker,” he said.
The symbol of stewardship, however, has become one that is being used exclusively in a fundraising context. The problem within the church, Johnson said, is that “we see ourselves primarily as consumers, not as participants.”
Johnson underscored the difference between ‘Christian stewardship’ and ‘fundraising’ as he mapped out a plan for training pastors and laity and teaching congregations about the importance of stewardship.
The lectureship is part of the spring series for the Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity, which is affiliated with Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. The lecture is named after James R. Reed, president emeritus of the Christian Church Foundation.
Those present included D. Newell Williams, president of Brite Divinity School and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) moderator; his wife Sue McDougal, a Disciples minister; Deborrah Wray, vice president of Christian Church Foundation and her husband Johnny Wray, director of Week of Compassion; Joe Stalcup, the first dean of the Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity; Robert W. Hawley, vice president of Christian Church Foundation; and Robert Patterson, member of the Foundation’s board of directors.