This announcement is last week’s news on Facebook and Twitter, but I realized I failed to share here on the blog.
I’m excited to announce my appointment as the next Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ll begin July 1. It will be an honor to work with a Center on the leading edge of holistic stewardship education, action, and research. It’s thrilling to join a seminary learning community dedicated to relevant, engaged, and rigorous education for future faith leaders, and especially, to take my small place as a member of the leadership faculty.
Below, I’ll post an excerpt from my article this week in the Center’s newsletter. If you don’t receive the weekly stewardship reflections, tips, and recommendations you may want to sign-up here.
Before I post that, however, I must note that I’m more than a little sad to leave Concordia College. I’ve cherished my time there—work with fine colleagues and students, launching the Faith and Leadership program, and steering vocation-related adventures. As hard as it is for a Floridian to admit, I’ve really come to enjoy, even love, Fargo and its small-city Midwestern charm.
From the Center newsletter, March 24, 2015:
It’s a true honor to accept the call to Luther Seminary as the Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders. I’ve so appreciated the Center’s ministry over the years. I’m very excited to both continue the great work that’s been accomplished, and—after much good listening, praying, and discerning—launch some new ventures in the years ahead.
I’ll share some of my professional history below, but I thought I’d first introduce myself with two stories of my experience with stewardship and growing up in the church.
First, I think I was around six years old when, at a worship and music conference with the church choir, I was speaking to an older church member named George. Somehow the topic of whether I received an allowance came up, and when George heard I didn’t, he immediately reached into his pocket.
“Here’s a dollar, Adam. I’ll speak to your parents. It’s time you learned about money,” George said.
Now, as a pastor’s kid, my father served as George’s pastor. But George was slightly older than my dad and had several children (one of whom was my regular babysitter when my parents were at church meetings). George ministered to all of us when he explained it was time to talk about money in the family.
When we arrived back from the conference, my dad and I worked in the garage to make a box out of wood with my grandfather’s old tools. Eventually, we constructed a sturdy wooden box with three slots about the size of a dollar bill. With a black sharpie marker my dad wrote “SPENDING” on one slot, “CHURCH,” on another, and “SAVING” on the third. He explained to me that whenever I got my allowance —which my parents would be continuing, after George’s initiation—10% should go to each church and saving.
I’m not sure where that box is these days (though I hope it’s still in my parents’ garage somewhere). But it’s always struck me that my first real lesson in stewardship occurred when my parents were pushed when a wise, older church member discerned it was time to teach me about money. George is now a member of the church triumphant, but his lessons live on as I begin work with the Center for Stewardship Leaders.
Things have changed since my first stewardship lessons. Today, the millennial generation faces student debt and a housing market very different from George’s generation. I can pay for coffee at Starbucks using an app on my phone. In more than a few churches I can swipe a credit card at a machine in the narthex to give as I walk in to church.
In addition to the essential work of supporting wise, prudent, and faithful financial stewardship, I hope to help shape a multidimensional culture of stewardship theology and practice in households, congregations, and society. For instance, I’ll bring a passion and, at least some experiences, in digital ministry and holistic stewardship. I’m particularly interested in how faith communities might employ crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo for God’s work in the world. I’m also keenly aware, however, that we need to ask new questions of how to steward our technologies so they bring glory to God—and not just a constant flow of notifications….
I think went on to describe some of my education and work history which, if you’re interested, is on the About Me page. Finally, I will note that in my short life I’ve learned to stop trying to predict God’s call. It’s in that Spirit–open, excited, and humbled–that I anticipate beginning a new thing at Luther Seminary.