Volume 1 - Issue 4  



July 2, 2010

Mission Advancement

In its simplest form, Mission Advancement for the Church is the communications, planning and development work in support of the great commission to go unto all the nations teaching them everything Christ taught us, and baptizing the nations in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

How we engage in these things technically matters both from the standpoint of efficacy for the institutions we serve as well as those who have supported the

mission. A focus of the Church on seeking the greatest efficacy of this work in those that support her, is in fact the greatest surety for the efficacy for the institution.
Any program of development in the ideal must seek to bring about broad support of the mission from the laity. This broad support should be seeking the time, talent, treasure and influence of the laity for the mission. The planning and communications work must be in service of this to make it as successful as possible. The natural next step in this process is maturation from support to ownership of the mission itself by the laity. The laity become stewards of the mission – co-workers in the vineyard.

This maturation from supporter to steward is a step of maturation in the role of the laity and of the individual in the Church. It is a process that needs to be understood and discussed in more detail as we seek to integrate the work of stewardship and development into the very core function of the Church, the universal call to holiness.

Much has been written about the methods and methodology
of stewardship and development from the institutional perspective. There is much more to be written and developed as we seek a greater integration, but in order to do this it is imperative to develop the understanding of the efficacy of the gift and the giver in the maturation of the individual themselves. Within the Church, more is now being written about the mode of Christian life that is the Act of Charity.

The Holy Father has alluded to this topic numerous times in his recent encyclicals. Cardinal Cordes, the president of Cor Unum, the dicastery that oversees the charitable work of the Church, is leading much of the writing and thinking on this topic and is in the process of writing on this now. Historically, Cor Unum has overseen the charitable work of the Church as a largely practical matter, but recently there has been additional focus and writing about this mode of the Christian life.

Here in the United States, there are a growing number of development professionals and theologians looking at how the giver grows with the act of gift. In an attempt to add to this discourse O'Meara Ferguson would like to suggest that there are ways in which Catholic institutions raise funds that while efficacious for the institution in fact reinforce the most negative trends in secular society. These methods denigrate the giver from supporter to consumer. The value of the Church becomes articulated and then, unfortunately, perceived as derived from this relation to the donor as consumer. This leads to a radical subjectivism that denigrates the object, the value of the Church, the mission, the gift and, unfortunately, the giver as well. This is juxtaposed to the goal of seeking to have the phenomena of gift be the incarnation of the donors self donation to Christ and his Bride.

Se Nosse vs Se Cogito

In order to understand how forms of Mission Advancement can help or hinder the central mission they are supporting, it is imperative to understand the giver and the act of gift itself. John Paul the Great (Karol Wotyla) in his early writings while at Lublin wrote about the two types of experiences of man of their own consciousness as subject. Wojtyla writes on this in the early chapters of The Acting Person, as man understanding themselves from within as subject or from without as object where they look upon themselves. This second manner is reflective as man looks upon himself.

Wojtyla defines these forms of consciousness of self as se nosse and se cogito. Se cogito is reflective upon ourselves as object, such as an examination of conscience. Se nosse is where we know ourselves with immediacy, laterally as a subject engaged in act towards an object that has value in and of itself. Se nosse is a term that Augustine used and has been developed through the centuries as we talk about looking at how we act and who are as subject. This could be understood using Martin Buber's description of “I-Thou” relationships. We know ourselves more perfectly as I (subject) in relationship with a thou (object). (This exceptionally short summary does not do justice to Wojtyla's thought but the brevity is needed for this venue.)

In the world of Mission Advancement we must work to bring the giver to understand their relationship to Christ and his Bride. The early evolution of this relationship can clearly be se cogito where they reflect upon the relationship. However, this is the most immature form of relationship as it leads to an act of Charity. We must work to bring the giver to understand themselves and their relationship with Christ se nosse, where they are in fact in a relationship with Christ and His bride. We do not ask them to evaluate the relationship based on the gifts they have received from the Church and the value of the Catholic school, or the gifts others will give, or even their name on a building. Rather they must first evaluate the relationship with Christ himself as savior calling them to greater conversion and self donation. The giver is in a relationship were the object is solely Christ and his Bride, not themselves. Then their gift is in fact incarnation. In this case, the amount becomes inconsequential in that the mission itself has become intertwined with the work of Mission Advancement. This leads to stewardship of the mission itself and ultimately to infinitely more gifts of time, talent, treasure and influence.

O'Meara Ferguson, in conjunction with others, will continue to write about how Mission Advancement can grow donors as they act as giver and their gifts become more meaningful because of how they are given.

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Good Steward Newsletter – July 2010
Reflections on The Stewardship Message of Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy

June 26, 2010, was the 13th anniversary of the passing of Archbishop

Thomas J. Murphy. Many of us remember him because he was a passionate advocate for stewardship as a way of life. In fact, Archbishop Murphy’s passion for stewardship was (and still is) contagious!

Archbishop Murphy’s stewardship message can be summarized in one two-part question: What do I own, and what owns me? The archbishop was keenly aware that, in the final analysis, he owned (or controlled) nothing and was, instead, owned (or possessed) wholly and completely by “a good and gracious God.” This basic insight permeated all his teaching, and I believe it is the heart of the stewardship message that he sought to convey in his talks, written reflections and (above all) in the work of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee on stewardship, which he chaired.

Archbishop Murphy’s most powerful illustration of stewardship was his personal experience of major surgery in Chicago in the 1970s.

As I was wheeled into the surgical room, it suddenly dawned on me: You know, when you’re in that surgical room it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter one darn bit what you own. What matters at that moment in time is a competent surgical team and a good and gracious God.

To surrender control (or the illusion of control) and trust in the generous God who has given us everything we have, and all that we are, is the sum and substance of Archbishop Murphy’s experience of stewardship as “a lifestyle that reflects who we are and what we believe.” ...

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(podcast) A Good Steward Cultivates God’s Gifts Responsibly

“A Good Steward Cultivates God’s Gifts Responsibly” is the third of our five-part Spanish-language podcast series introducing the concept of Christian Stewardship to the Latino community. In this podcast, O’Meara Ferguson Executive Consultant Koren Ruiz begins

by discussing the importance of cultivating, developing, and multiplying our gifts in a responsible manner. Cultivating our gifts is the second characteristic of a good steward following the topic of discussion from the previous podcast “Receiving God’s Gifts Gratefully”.
The discussion emphasizes that in recognizing how God has been generous in our lives, we all have the responsibility of not only being thankful for our gifts, but also to cultivate them and share them with others. Stewardship is an action concept. It is about who we are, what we do and how we do it. A Christian steward sees all of life as a call to faithfulness – faithfulness to God in all things. Every aspect of life is a trust from God that we cultivate faithfully out of respect and love for God.

Upcoming Podcasts:

  A Christian Steward Shares God’s Gifts Lovingly
  A Christian Steward Returns God’s Gifts with Increase

“Un buen Corresponsable Cultiva Responsablemente los Dones que Recibe de Dios” es el título del tercer podcast en español (de una serie de cinco) para introducir el concepto de Corresponsabilidad Cristiana a la comunidad Latina. Este espacio informativo, el Asesor Financiero de O’Meara Ferguson Koren Ruiz comienza hablando acerca de la importancia de cultivar, desarrollar y multiplicar nuestros dones de una manera responsable. Cultivar nuestros dones es el segundo paso de un buen corresponsable después del tema de discusión del podcast anterior titulado “Recibir los Dones de Dios con Actitud de Agradecimiento”.
La discusión enfatiza que al reconocer cómo Dios ha sido generoso en nuestras vidas, tenemos no solo la responsabilidad de ser agradecidos, sino también de cultivar y compartir nuestros dones en amor y en justicia con los demás. Corresponsabilidad es un concepto de acción. Se refiere a lo que somos, lo que hacemos y como lo hacemos. Un corresponsable cristiano ve todo en la vida como un llamado a la fe – esa fe en todas las cosas puestas en Dios. Cada aspecto de nuestra vida es algo que Dios nos confía para que cultivemos responsablemente, motivados por el amor y el respeto que sentimos hacia El.

Próximos Podcasts:

  Un Corresponsable Comparte Los Dones De Dios Con Amor
  Un Corresponsable Cristiano Regresa Los Dones De Dios En Mayor Proporcion

Listen to the podcast

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