According to the 1992 U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Letter, Stewardship: A Disciple's Response a steward is defined as a disciple of Jesus who "receives God's gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly in justice with others and returns them with increase to the Lord.” True stewardship is proactive, not reactive. It is a call to both a deepening conversion, and a stronger commitment to following Jesus as his disciple.
Christian stewardship truly is a way of life. The disciple becomes motivated to share his/her time, talent and treasure with the Church and others from a deep sense of gratitude and in a planned, proportionate and sacrificial manner. And, when we take the first steps on the journey to full Christian stewardship, we find that it is a liberating experience. We experience the joy of sharing with God, the fruits of the many blessings he has showered upon us.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus specifically talks about how God wants us to live our lives as his disciples, to help build God's Kingdom. Scripture talks about what we should be doing with the gifts that God has given us. Stewardship and its twin, discipleship, are based on Jesus’ challenge to live as God has planned and our need to give out of gratitude to our most generous God, not on the church’s need to receive.
Some Idaho parishes, on a voluntary basis, have incorporated stewardship as a significant element of their identity. Stewardship is not another task for the pastor. It is just the opposite. It is a task primarily for the parishioners - young and old - an opportunity for them to take responsibility for this vital process in support of their parish and their pastor. At its core, stewardship involves a conversion of the individual’s heart resulting in deeper knowledge of how God wishes His people to use the various gifts He has given them.
Cultivating stewardship as a way of life is a long term individual and parish journey that the Diocese has an obligation to assist with along the way. With that in mind, The Stewardship Council of the Diocese of Boise sets forth the following expectations or goals that all diocesan and parish leadership are asked to accept in order to accomplish a deeper and fuller acceptance of the teachings and practices of stewardship throughout the diocese.
The Diocese of Boise leadership, including the Bishop, Curia, Presbyteral Council, Diocesan educational and departmental staff, stewardship and development staff, consultative and advisory bodies will strive to:
• affirm and promote stewardship as a significant priority of this diocese
• seek ways to integrate the teaching and practices of stewardship within their areas of responsibility.
• sponsor stewardship educational opportunities for diocesan and parish leaders and all Church membership
• incorporate stewardship teachings, principles and practices into fund-raising, volunteer recruitment, budgetary decisions and statements of accountability.
To further the Diocesan Stewardship Initiative each parish of the Diocese of Boise is encouraged to:
• provide spiritual growth opportunities designed to increase parishioners’ continuing conversion experience
• establish stewardship as a parish priority and commit to its long term success
• establish a parish stewardship initiative that is committed to the foregoing definition, principles and these goals.
• foster year-around stewardship education
• conduct annual parish appeals of time, talent and treasure with the goal of achieving full participation of its membership
• to the extent possible, encourage parish attendance at the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s annual conference, Regional ICSC conferences, the annual Diocese of Boise Fall Conference, and annual Stewardship Day conferences.