The Diocese of St. Cloud is offering a day for people to learn about the practices of stewardship. The day’s theme is, “Stewardship as a Way of Life: Building Vibrant and Engaged Parishes.”
Presentations on Aug. 22 at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in St. Augusta will focus on stewardship formation and offer direction and practical advice on how to implement stewardship at the parish level. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by opening prayer and two sessions led by national speaker Eric McArdle.
McArdle is president and co-founder of Catholic Stewardship Consultants, a Christ-centered consulting firm that provides customized stewardship services to Catholic parishes. He has worked for over 20 years with parishes across the country developing spiritual-based stewardship programs that focus on communication, education and evangelization.
“I plan to share about how stewardship is a very practical way to live your life as a disciple of Christ and that it’s applicable to each and every one of us,” McArdle said. “I also intend to share best practices of developing stewardship as a way of life in parishes and to share the experiences of parishes we work with that have seen dramatic changes in parish life.”
The day also includes a panel of local guests who will share their experiences with stewardship as well as lunch and time for questions and answers.
The Visitor invited McArdle to answer questions surrounding this year’s theme. His answers are below.
Q: Where does the concept of stewardship originate?
A: The Bible. Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Bible is really the textbook for living a stewardship way of life.
Q: There are a lot of misconceptions about stewardship. What is the most common misconception and how do you help people have a better understanding of what stewardship really is?
A: The most common misconception is that stewardship equals money. We focus on giving people a holistic understanding of stewardship, that stewardship is about every gift that God has given to us. From the breath we’re taking right now, to the time God has given me today, to the talents he has given me to earn a living or to serve others, as well as all of the material and financial resources he has blessed us with. Stewardship is how we live our lives, day in and day out, as a disciple of Christ.
Q: Who is responsible for stewardship?
A: Each individual is responsible for being a good steward of what God has given to them. It’s the responsibility of the church to teach them the true meaning of stewardship and help them on their journey as disciples of Christ.
Q: What inspires you to talk about stewardship?
A: The fact that it changes people’s lives and helps them grow closer to Christ. Over the past 20-plus years [I’ve seen] how it has changed my life, the life of my family and the lives of many people all across the country. Also the fact that we are helping to build the church by helping parishes more effectively carry out their mission of growing disciples of Jesus.
Q: How can I be a good steward?
A: By gratefully recognizing and receiving the gifts that God has given to you. By using those gifts in the way God wants you to use them. And returning a portion of those gifts with increase to God.