by Lesle Knop
A blessing is found in the laymen and women who serve as church leaders, the stewards of our organizations whose own conversion and personal encounters with Jesus Christ initiate a profound change in who they are and what they are called to do.
I witnessed discipleship among the members of the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas board of directors, which annually meets for half-day sessions of discussion on topics that range from Christian leadership to strategic planning. At one of these meetings, the board composed its “vision statement” — what it would like to be known for 25 years from now — and it is not the typical corporate mantra or slogan.
Its new vision statement? It is simply this: “We are the hands and feet of Jesus who created opportunities to experience a relationship with him and to live our daily lives in his image.”
A less faith-filled group might measure its organization’s long-term success in secular terms, such as managing investments to maximize distributions to stakeholders. Not this group. The members understand that their fundamental activity is service and to promote the spiritual mission of the Catholic Church by encouraging stewardship.
The Catholic Foundation collaborates with parishes and Catholic institutions to develop support for the church, always committed to responsible stewardship of assets, which according to the last quarterly report exceed $40 million.
I think it is commendable that the vision of this exemplary group of men and women is not realized in the bottom line but is envisioned in the opportunities that the funds create for others to experience the love of Jesus Christ in their own lives. They see their roles clearly to help build the kingdom of God.
As Christians, we are asked to view our gifts as blessings from God, nurturing them during our lifetime and returning them to our heavenly Father with an increase. The Catholic Foundation envisions a culture of planned giving in which every Catholic asks: “Have I included the church in my will?”
Stewardship is a way of life, based on the spiritual principles of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus. Where it has been implemented, both givers’ and receivers’ lives have been changed. To learn more about stewardship, plan to attend the Region IX International Catholic Stewardship Conference on Friday, April 1, at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan. For more information, call (913) 647-0325 or visit the Web site at: www.cfnek.org.