Preparation for the teacher:
Read the texts (found below) ahead of time.
Watch the video – it may stimulate additional questions appropriate for your context. Make certain you have tested the equipment necessary for showing the video – it helps to keep the technical gremlins away!
Do a little homework about your church and community. Find the names of a few civic philanthropists who have made a difference in your community. (Perhaps a library or civic center is named after someone who donated a large sum of money for the particular project. It can also be a corporate citizen, but an individual name is preferable.) Do the same for your congregation. Are their specific funds or significant gifts that were given by individuals that make a difference in your congregation’s ability to carry out its mission?
Pray for your students as you prepare this week’s lesson.
Teaching the lesson
As the class begins, welcome the class and engage in your usual opening exercises (taking attendance, collecting an offering, prayer concerns, other announcements, etc.)
Ask the class to define the word stewardship (or its concept) – what does the word mean to them? How is the word used in non-church settings? Are those good (proper) uses of the word/concept? Are they in anyway biblically related? Is stewardship in “the church” only about money? Why or why not? Ask them if they can you give examples of people who are good stewards in the community in which you live? When naming people who have benefited the community as whole through their personal generosity, does it bring to mind people who have done the same via the church?
Read the following texts from the Gospel of Matthew (Ask individual students to read different passages – it engages more people and keeps it more interesting)
- Matthew 6:19
- Matthew 6:24
- Matthew 24:45-51
- Matthew 25 (The entire chapter – three parables)
Have the class watch this video link on YouTube (http://youtu.be/ndbAQSl9-MY)
Ask the class to wrestle with the following questions:
Matthew urges his congregation to multiply its stewardship, like the ten and five talent servants (Matthew 25), even though his congregation is struggling. What would it take for you to increase your own stewardship? What about your congregation or Region?
The parables in Matthew 24-25 urge the congregation to be stewards of the Realm by doing things like helping feed those who are hungry, clothing people who have no clothing, visiting those who are imprisoned. Name three specific things that you can do – things that your congregation or Region can do, to engage in this kind of stewardship?
Jesus says, “You cannot serve two gods – God and Wealth (mammon). How do you see people in our culture worshipping wealth? Do you or your congregation or Region worship wealth? Do you wrestle with this temptation? What can empower you to move away from worshipping wealth and move toward worshipping God?
How can the faithful practice of stewardship by the community of the church impact the community around us for good and positive change? Does it matter if we do so? Why?
Does your own practice of being a steward bring the Realm of God closer? Should it?