Over the past few years, we have covered a myriad of topics related to generosity, including personal commitment, discipleship, time and talent, outreach, proportionate giving, leaving a legacy and pre-authorized giving. The most engaging articles tend to be lists – top 10 lists, to be exact – that can easily be inserted into parish bulletins or newsletters. Not to be outdone, I’d like to offer an alternative approach: a quiz.
When we engage parishes in year-round stewardship education, one of the first things we do is evaluate their current state of affairs to establish a benchmark. We do this by asking a series of questions related to best practices and then re-evaluate the situation six months later, to measure progress. We can apply this same principle on an individual level.
Here are 10 serious questions (and some light-hearted responses) designed to measure personal commitment. Grades are assigned at the end.
- Christian stewardship is…
a) An acknowledgement that all that we are and have is a gift from God.
b) The same as fundraising.
c) Designed to make me feel guilty.
d) Not worth the effort.
- Stewardship asks us to give…
a) A prayerful proportionate gift of our time, talent and treasure based on our personal faith response.
c) Until it hurts.
d) My first-born.
- I give…
a) Abundantly and enthusiastically.
b) When I can.
c) Only time and talent.
d) Rarely. Giving is somebody else’s responsibility.
- If others look for Christ in my actions, will they find Him?
d) Only with a microscope.
- I use Pre-Authorized Giving (PAG or PAR).
a) Yes – it is the best way to ensure that my parish always has the resources it needs.
b) I might use it if I were certain that I would not run out of money.
c) I prefer envelopes.
d) Why should I give if I’m not at church?
- I give a proportional and sacrificial gift to the church.
a) Yes, and I try to give a bit more each year.
b) I try to give at least an hour’s pay.
c) Why should my giving be sacrificial?
d) I give what I can, when I can.
- How much I give to the church is influenced by:
a) Gratitude for God’s blessing.
b) Whether the sermon was meaningful.
c) How much spare change is in my pocket.
d) I don’t feel a need to give to the church.
- If others gave in proportion to what I give, my parish would be…
- I have left a gift to the church in my will.
b) I’m thinking about it.
c) The church is not a priority in my estate plans.
d) What is a will?
- The newcomer to our church is…
a) Valued and engaged for who they are.
b) Necessary to bring new energy and increase attendance.
c) Viewed with suspicion and would adversely impact the intimacy of our parish.
For each (a) circled, score three points; for (b), score two points; for (c), score one point; and (d) gets zero points.
- 25-30 – You are a faithful steward who takes generous giving seriously.
- 16-24 – You are making progress on the journey but need to take a leap of faith.
- 6-15 – You are not serious about seeing your parish become a vibrant faith community.
- 0-5 – You haven’t been paying attention.
Of course this little quiz is not meant to make us feel guilty. Hopefully, it will incline us to take the discipline of giving seriously and help us realize our giftedness. In this season of giving, let us pray that we might be faithful stewards who give generously because we have already received the free gift of life and salvation.