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4 state conventions join together to produce stewardship materials

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)–Four state conventions have joined forces to produce stewardship materials for use across the Southern Baptist Convention.
“New Century Giving provides materials for a three-Sunday emphasis which places the lordship of Jesus Christ as the declarative biblical principle and sacrifice as the giving model,” said Jim Rich, stewardship director for the Missouri Baptist Convention.
“It is strongly Bible-based, with the event of Jesus’ encounter with the young ruler in Matthew 19:21-29 as the focal passage,” Rich said.
The guide includes instructions, sample worship service agendas, worship handouts, preaching suggestions, dramatic sketches, offering envelopes, age-graded Sunday school leaflets, teacher’s guides, poster and clip art and follow-up ideas.
New Century Giving is unique in several respects, said Rich, who administrated the effort among state conventions in Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Florida.
“It rose from the grassroots,” he said. “It came from the vision of those who promote stewardship growth every day.” And the program is nonprofit and completely funded through Cooperative Program gifts.
“Amid a changing day as a denomination, the four state [stewardship] leaders desired to create a simple set of resources that would be available to all state stewardship leaders to develop stewards,” Rich said.
David Wagner, stewardship and Cooperative Program ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said, “As we approach the new century, New Century Giving is a way to challenge people to acknowledge God’s ownership, to make Jesus Lord of all and to give at a sacrificial level.”
Printed materials for the New Century Giving materials will be made available to all state conventions. Initial orders for the 17-piece program packet have totaled 1.9 million, Rich said. Design and production of materials were coordinated by the MBC stewardship and public relations departments.
In an effort to make New Century Giving materials available to all state conventions regardless of size, Rich said older state conventions are partnering with newer state conventions and fellowships.
David Michel, stewardship director for the Mississippi Baptist Convention, said the program challenges believers to examine their personal spiritual contentment and to clarify their commitment to Christ.
“In the first century, Jesus said, ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.’ In the 21st century we need a metaphor for Christian living that is just as radical. New Century Giving calls us out of our affluence and complacency and asks us to focus on bringing to fulfillment the kingdom of God,” Michel said.
Clarence Hackett, director of stewardship promotion for the Florida Baptist Convention, said it is important for church leaders to understand the difference between New Century Giving and other stewardship programs.
“New Century Giving is more than an emphasis and greater than a program,” he said. “What we are most concerned about is the issue of the lordship of Jesus in developing faithful stewards.”
More information about New Century Giving may be obtained by contacting Jim Rich in the MBC stewardship department at (573) 635-7931, ext. 223, or e-mail, [email protected].