By Jan Woltmann
Once upon a time, not long ago, a Kelowna woman at a national financial firm found herself preparing an entry level budgeting workshop for a young adult staff at Club Penguin – one of the largest, most successful children’s websites belonging to the Walt Disney Company. In her search for inspiration and help, she turned to a trusty little treasure called Getting a Grip from Stewardship ministries at the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC).
“I looked for resources that I could use for a Power Point presentation, but I couldn’t find anything nearly as good as Getting a Grip, says Cindy Schellenberg of the “how to” booklet brimming with practical tools designed to put Christian stewardship principles into practice.
As it turned out, Schellenberg incorporated several of the booklet’s most popular pages into her presentation and offered it as a take-home gift to participants.
“I have a great financial resource from MB Stewardship Ministries available free of charge,” she said to her young audience, “just be aware that it comes from a faith-based perspective.” To her astonishment, almost all were eager to check it out: 70 percent of workshop attendees took a copy. Incidentally, the three founders of Club Penguin are local Christian businessmen with a very generous corporate culture of giving.
But this is only part of the story. Schellenberg, a member at Willow Park Church in Kelowna, B.C. has been a long-time fan of Getting a Grip, ever since a pastor introduced her to the resource more than ten years ago. Since that time, she’s used it to teach her teens about Godly money management, and more recently, she distributed it among her fellow marriage mentors at the church. “They found it to be a very useful guide for discussing money with their mentee couples,” says Schellenberg.
And she’s not the only one to give the stewardship booklet an enthusiastic “thumbs up.” Close to 7,000 copies of Getting a Grip have been distributed within the Canadian conference to date, and plans for a French translation are underway, thanks to the efforts of Jean Raymond Theoret, former pastor at Ste-Rose church in Montreal. “We hope to complete the translation by end of summer,” says Theoret.
What’s more, the Canadian conference offers the resource free of charge to MB constituents, and has five stewardship representatives across the country that provide financial presentations and seminars to MB churches as a complimentary service. It’s all part of their commitment to encourage the MB community to experience joy in giving, and to grow generosity within the denomination.
“The brilliance of the booklet,” says Lloyd Reimer, B.C. stewardship representative at CCMBC “is that it’s compact.” While many books on the subject can be tedious and laborious, “this workbook can be used in a variety of settings, such as at our financial seminars, in a care group, or as personal study material.”
“We’re delighted with what this resource has accomplished,” says John Wiebe, CCMBC’s chief financial officer. While the content, a collaborative effort by stewardship staff, is due for a refresh to make it even more accessible, “the principles are timeless,” says Wiebe.