Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stewards Past, Present, and Future. . . .

The November/December Youthworker Journal showed up in our mailbox yesterday. Much to my surprise and delight, the cover featured these words right there across the bottom: "Walt Mueller Gets Rich."

Wow! Well, the "Wow!" lasted about three-quarters of a second as I realized that 1) It was news to me. . . so obviously. . . it can't be true, and 2) The reference was to my latest Culture Watch column in YWJ.

This edition of YWJ is all about youth and missions. My column focused on addressing our materialism and teaching kids about stewardship. In the article (entitled "Why I Am Rich"), I mentioned that all of us and all of our kids are living our lives in the upper 2% of the world's population in terms of our stuff. I mentioned that we are materialistic, citing Kenneth Kantzer's 20-year-old quote, "The most serious problem facing the church today is materialism - materialism not as a philosophical theory, but as a way of life." And, I mentioned that we have a great responsibility to learn principles of Biblical stewardship that yield a lifestyle committed to meeting the world's great needs. . . . myself, kids, and adults alike.

All this reminded me of a quote from Turner Clinard that I recently read in Mark Allan Powell's book Giving To God: The Bible's Good News About Living a Generous Life. Clinard writes, "All the difference in the world exists between those who recognize and willingly accept their stewardship, realizing the gracious and bountiful and loving gifts of God, and those who set out with the attitude of putting a fence around as much of the universe as possible and saying, This is mine. It isn't. And nothing we can do can make it so."

For the last 20 years, I've been personally blessed and humbled by a growing group of individuals, couples, families, and youth groups who have embraced life in that former group mentioned by Clinard. For 20 years, they have partnered with us as "senders" to help us fulfill our calling as "the sent" through our ministry with CPYU. They've done this for 20 years! . . . . . that's amazing to me.

Earlier this month we notified our constituency of our plans to continue and forge ahead for as long as the Lord allows. A group of our long-time friends came together to pool $25,000 in a challenge grant that we issued at the beginning of October. They are challenging all of you who use, value, and appreciate CPYU to come together with them in an effort to raise an additional $25,000. I'm thrilled to report that as of today, we are almost halfway to our goal! $12,392 has been raised.

All of us here at CPYU and those who benefit from our ministry are grateful for the stewards - past, present, and future - who have made this ministry possible. Of course, I realize that the ultimate source of all that we have and are comes from God and God alone. But I also realize that to make this happen he uses the combined efforts of those he has called to be sent, and those he has called to be senders. Would you prayerfully consider becoming a sender and joining our team of stewards by making a tax deductible contribution that will go towards our $25,000 challenge grant!

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please click here. As a thank you for every gift of $25 or more, we'll send you a copy of my latest book, The Space Between: A Parent's Guide to Teenage Development.

Youth culture is changing and changing fast. We remain committed to providing up-to-date information and analysis from a distinctively Christian perspective. And, we remain committed to doing so with Biblical faithfulness, integrity, excellence, humility, and the highest principles of financial stewardship. God willing, I'm looking forward to another wonderful 20 years!

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