How We Do It
Part I – Core Values
In unity with Christ we seek to understand and copy His character in our relationships. There are four characteristics of Christ’s life that particularly inform the stewardship or management of our baptized life. These characteristics form our core values.
Sacrifice: Believers put the needs of others before our own trusting that God will care for our needs.
Grace: Believers let grace define their view of others and learn to forgive and live forgiven on account of what God has done for them.
Generosity: Believers knowing that everything belongs to God are generous with the resources God provides for their management.
Mercy: Believers show mercy just as Christ was merciful to us and let God be the judge and dispense justice.
Based on these core values we serve the needs of our neighbor in our daily lives using the resources God provides individually and uniquely to each of us.
Part II – The Simple Process
Disciples are made through a process of God acting upon us and through us causing faith and trust to increase. Thus, discipleship is a growth experience. At St. James we understand this process begins when we Gather as a community for worship and fellowship. From reception of Word and Sacrament and sharing in the common thing of Christ, our faith is fed and we learn to live together in community. Departing, we Go into the estates of our life to serve God by serving our neighbor. Led by the Holy Spirit we Give our service for the benefit of others using our core values to guide us. The result is that we Grow in faith and trust in God.
Part III – The Life Wheel
In creating God blessed the first human with the instruction to be fruitful and multiply subduing the creation. This blessing expresses God’s will and intention for our stewardship or management of His things. The Biblical word for this in the New Testament is “oikonomos” from which we get the word economy. Our stewardship is God’s economy for managing the unification of all things in heaven and on earth into Christ.
This begins by recognizing that our body created in His image is our first priority. Our responsibility is to care for our health and sexuality using our bodies in the manner God intends in creation.
In addition to our physical body God provides each of us with unique gifts to use in service to God and neighbor. Our skills, abilities and talents are given with a purpose intended. Our responsibility is to grow in our faith and invest our selves into His Kingdom using the gifts He gives to us.
God spoke creation into existence over a six-day period. He revealed that time is a manner of order and a gift to guide our industry and economy. We are responsible to manage our time in service to God by prioritizing and focusing ourselves on His purposes.
God’s act of creating formed matter out of nothing and organized it into the world we live in. His first instruction to the first human was to care for the earth. Our responsibility is to see the environment as necessary for our existence and work to sustain its balance to continue to provide for our lives in service to God.
God separated the first human into a man and woman creating a family. This order of creation defines all of our relationships. Our responsibility is to care for those we relate to with the understanding that God is always at the center of the relationship and that the other person is also created in the image of God. Service to neighbor includes maintaining peaceful relationships.
God provides everything else for our management of His economy. Our property, and money are forms of currency to be used to care for ourselves and others. This is the area of our stewardship that causes us the most difficulty. Because we still struggle with trusting God to provide we often assume ownership of His things and accumulate them for ourselves.
The Life Wheel
In order to remain faithful and productive as God’s stewards each believer needs to daily discipline himself. The pattern of this discipline begins with confession before God that we are poor stewards by our own ability and need His guidance to be faithful. Trusting in our baptismal grace we then believe His forgiveness that restores us to begin new.
- Managing God’s property begins with the attitude of thanksgiving at what God has done and reveals a generosity that flows from our abundance rather than a fear born from scarcity in gratitude to God.
- Managing God’s property reveals our trust through a sacrificial, proportional, first fruit discipline in support of God’s Kingdom through the local church.
- Managing God’s property seeks to use the remaining resources to invest responsibly in care of family for today and tomorrow in the home and in the neighborhood.
- Managing God’s property is always concerned with believing God will provide, seeking His guidance through prayer, and harmonizing our investment with His will.
The Cycle of Service