"The transformation of the disciple into the steward happens in diverse and sometimes subtle ways. For many Christians the transition begins in the late thirties or forties. An external event may trigger the change, perhaps a new assignment in ministry or a promotion in one's responsibility at work. The triggering event may be within the family, as parents realize that it is they who must decide about their children’s religious education. Or the impetus toward stewardship may be more interior: I sense I must begin to take my own religious experience more seriously, or I feel a need to be a more active contributor to the future of this religious congregation." Seasons of Strength, New Visions of Adult Christian Maturing, Evelyn Eaton and James Whitehead pg. 49
"Invited in mid-life into more responsible jobs and more authoritative positions, we are reminded that what we care for- children, schools, parishes, the land - we do not ultimately possess. A stewards is, by definition, no an owner." pg 50
As Director of Stewardship for going on 11 years, "I am wondering, what if my approach has been wrong?" If the ideas above are true, then stewardship cannot "take hold" until a person has the spiritual maturity to respond as a steward. Perhaps this is another idea for conversion which often accompanies stewardship.
I've been giving this thought and while I would like to think I am good steward, it has only really been in the 5 or so years that I have fully appreciated that my kids are not mine as stated in the first paragraph. I mean, I knew all along of course. But I am not sure I really appreciated that my three kids are very different people than my wife and I. Frankly, it was something I grew into.
That leave me hanging on the idea that stewardship is something we grow into. While I "know" what it is, I may not be able to live it right away. Matter of fact, I had Priest tell me that "we are not ready for stewardship here yet."
When I heard that I immediately thought, "how the fritz am I supposed to my job!!" A couple years of reflection has taught me that, the people in his parish probably are not ready for stewardship. If they are spiritually immature and consider themselves "owners" vs "managers" anything I try to do will have minimal affect.
To make sense of this dilemma, what if we did this? We know that most parishioners come into stewardship in middle age according to the book. At least have a conversion experience to grow into a steward. We know it is a process. What if we created the process?
Think about it, to become Catholic there is a process, it is RCIA. What if we create a RCIA type process for stewardship? What if we took many of the processes we already have in place and enhanced them a bit to follow a RCIA type of flow?