The Generous Steward Resources
  
Helping your hands touch God's world

My Stewardship Journey

My stewardship journey began in rural Arkansas where, as a youth, I first felt the tension between the ideals of my faith and the challenge these ideals suffer in our consumer culture.  This struggle included the decision of whether to pursue a career which would measure success in terms of the income it produced or a life of service to the Church where money is often a taboo subject.

Following my M.Div. studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and later, an M.A. theological ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School I served as a pastor in inner city, tall steeple, and suburban congregations in the Presbyterian Church (USA) where I found members willing to address this taboo in ways that brought dramatic spiritual growth and increased generosity.  These ministry and educational experiences, in addition to programs withThe Ministry of Money, The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and The University of Indiana Center on Philanthropy equipped me for my present ministry which has included service to the PC(USA) as an Associate for Stewardship Education, development of The Generous Steward Consulting and service to the ELCA as an Area Ministry Stewardship Specialist.

On this journey I have discovered that Stewardship is Discipleship. On the personal level its about how we manage all that we have and all that we are, from the most intimate matters of our relationship with Jesus Christ to those of justice and the care of the earth.  On the congregational level it’s about organizational development, Christian Education, Worship and Mission- stewardship of the gospel of Jesus Christ.   In other words, stewardship is not just a matter of fundraising to meet the budget.

Fred Milligan

My Work

Since beginning my work as a stewardship consultant I have been priviledged to provide services to a number of congregations and governing bodies.

PC (USA) Presbyteries
(Underlined Presbyteries are linked to their websites)

 

Albany

Boston

Cayuga-Syracuse

Hudson River

New Brunswick

Newton

The Palisades

Susquehanna Valley

Carlisle

Donegal

Lackawanna

Lehigh

Philadelphia

Upper Ohio Valley

Baltimore

Charlotte

Coastal Carolina

Salem

Cherokee

Flint River

Greater Atlanta

Northeast Georgia

Peace River

Providence

Savannah

Tropical Florida

Holston

Middle Tennessee

North Alabama

Sheppards and Lapsley

Mid-Kentucky

Cascades

In Puerto Rico:

Northwest/Noroeste

San Juan

Southwest/Suroeste

 

Individual Congregational Consulting

  • Raeford Presbyterian Church, Raeford, N.C.
  • First Presbyterian Church, Danville, VA.
  • Eastminter Presbyterian Church, York, PA.
  • Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church, Landsdale, PA
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church, Dallas, PA
  • United Church, Blairsville, PA.
  • First Presbyterian Church, Savannah, GA 

Testimonials from workshop participants:

Dear Fred,

Again, many thanks for a splendid presentation on Stewardship Education. Although I have not attended many stewardship events, yours was far and away the best that I've heard. Perhaps in part that was due to the very fine theoretical framework and insights...that served as a basis for your analysis.

As an academician as well as a pastor, I'm always looking for the theoretical to inform the practice, and for the practice to verify (or nullify as the case might be) and validate the theoretical. Both are needed, in my judgment. With regard to stewardship, it seems that any theoretical or even theological rational is often given only a nod of attention, if that.

Your presentation had a very fine progression to it and offered participants several opportunities to interact both with the material and with each other. . . . . I think one of the biggest hurdles in eliciting greater generosity of spirit is devising ways to nudge people from a "survival" mindset to one of ‘agape’...”

Sincerely,

Bob Gustafson
University of Maine
Bangor Theological Seminary

Other comments from workshop participants:

“Excellent - My attention never dropped and I’m coming away feeling very excited about our year-long stewardship committee activities.”
Ethel Wheeler, Elder

“Outstanding presentation – very worthwhile. I hope I can apply it in my life and work. Thank you for your generosity with your time and talents in serving us and our presbytery and congregation”
Scott Ritier, Elder

More Comments:

  • "Exceptionally helpful. I’ve only been stewardship chairman for over a year and still have a lot of things to learn."

  • "This gave me a lot of ideas for the letters I send to the members every other month."

  • "This shift in thinking, shift in presentation towards generosity, rather than paying expenses was helpful. [i.e. fundraising vs. funding ministry]"

  • "The Narrative Budget will be most helpful. Thinking of ministry first, rather than money will lead to greater commitment which will lead to a change in how we handle funds. I’m excited with the possibility!"

  • "Well done, Fred! Really enjoyed the “Cloud of Wittnesses” exercise."

  • "Good material, good presentation, good people skills, good at involving participants."

  • "Now I’ve got to give some thought to how to motivate/inspire members of our presbytery to get involved. Keep up the good work!"

  • "Relationship! Being thankful. Responding to God and helping with God’s work on earth. I really need to preach this!"

  • "Great handouts. Thank you."

  • "It was a very good presentation and giving work sheets containing what was in the powerpoint will be very helpful."

  • "Thank you for covering a very wide field with a focused discussion and with some challenging ideas."

  • "I liked the emphasis on stewardship as a key to spiritual growth. The idea of motivation (heart) following action (doing) is supported by sociological research on anti-racism - Cause people to behave in non-discriminatory ways and their prejudiced attitudes will change"

  • "I appreciate the overall review plus-some to get my head back on straight – good to step back from congregations [sic] challenges and back to TRUST GOD, non-anxious presence, and recognizing what God has taught me and my role in passing that blessing along."

  • "Outstanding – I only wish the entire session of our church had been here."

  • "A very helpful presentation and guidance to one who has been “flying by the seat of his pants” on stewardship for two years."

  • "I believe it is quite necessary to educate the various church leaders on the hows and whys of stewardship. I think workshops should be offered – at least – annually."