What is Stewardship?
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
The promotion of the practice of stewardship is important for the mission of the Church and for the spiritual well-being of each individual Christian. Everyone benefits from the sacrificial gift one makes of his time, talent, and treasure." (Mt 28: 19-20). -Pope Benedict XVI
Stewardship Initiative of the Diocese
The growth of the Church in Idaho presents both new opportunities and new challenges. The number of Catholic worshipers in Idaho is increasing, the demand for services is increasing but the number of priests and religious are decreasing. The good news is that the number of laity being prepared for parish pastoral support for stewardship and leadership roles has never been greater. The Diocese of Boise believes that stewardship is a diocesan priority, sees it as a necessary positive response to these circumstances and is committed over the long term to promote its teachings and practices through all available means.
Encouraging and Supporting Parish Stewardship
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 Idaho Catholic Congress, and annual Stewardship Day conferences.
Parish Stewardship Renewal Resources
Below are materials to implement a stewardship process in your parish. All the items below can be downloaded and printed at your convenience to help engage each parish family member in a stewardship way of life. From the novice to the experienced stewardship team, you should find something to help you in your endeavor. For one-on-one help, parish visits, or you need any help along the way or to receive Publisher or Word Documents of any PDF, please contact the Development Office at 208-342-1311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stewardship Manual Broken Out by Chapter for Convenience
Stewardship Renewal Resources