A Message from Linda Valentine: General Assembly Mission Council

Greetings to members of the General Assembly Mission Council, Middle Governing Body executives and friends,

It is my great pleasure to share the news with you that Dave Crittenden has joined our staff as Director of Stewardship for the General Assembly Mission Council. Through 20 years of parish ministry and 16 as co-executive in the Synod of Lincoln Trails, Dave’s steady leadership and constant emphasis on matters of faith and money have made him the “go-to guy” for questions about stewardship throughout our denomination. I am so glad to have him here, and to share with you this message of greeting from him.

Faithfully yours,

Linda Valentine

Greetings colleagues in mission and ministry:


Everyone knows the words of 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” But it’s the next verse which has become my mantra. “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”

This is what drives me. When we think we don’t have enough of something – be it money or faith or courage – the verse reminds us that God has already given to us in abundance, all that we could need.

My role as Director of Stewardship is to inspire and equip presbyteries to increase their total income, and their gifts to General Assembly Mission Council. My work will focus on enhancing giving to mission as an act of Christian financial discipleship particularly in the form of “undesignated giving.” I hope to do this collaboratively – providing counsel to each other, as we share and connect each other to resources that will increase financial discipleship throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

I am sure part of the sharing will be models of financial discipleship that will inspire all of us, individually and corporately, to share our faith by sharing our financial resources. To that end I share with you what the toRev. John Van Nuys of the Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church, Crawfordsville, Indiana, shared with me after their fall Stewardship Campaign:

“Last Sunday after worship, an usher handed me a pledge card to pass along to our Stewardship Chair. I was about to routinely file it in her mailbox when I noticed the handwriting. I immediately got a lump in my throat. The pledge card was from a child. The scrawled name read Tyler Brunty. Tyler is a bright-eyed eight-year-old who loves baseball and singing in our youth choir. Then the lump in my throat got bigger and several tears welled up when I saw that Tyler had pledged in 2011 to give to God through the church $1 per week.

I called his folks Sunday evening to ask them if they knew about this. Tyler’s mom Jennifer said, ‘Oh, yes. Tyler asked us to please get him a pledge card.’

After giving him the card during the Prelude, his parents explained to Tyler that their giving as a family included Tyler and his sister; that Tyler’s gift was already a part of the 2011 pledge his parents had made.

But Tyler replied: ‘I know that you give for us, but I want to give God something from me.’

He said, ‘I don’t give anything now, but if I do next year, just think of all the good things God will do through my gift! That is why I want to pledge.’ His parents looked at each other and smiled as Tyler happily put his pledge card in the collection plate.

Jennifer said, ‘On the way home after church, Tyler kept talking and talking about his pledge, asking his dad and me about the chores he could do to earn his $1 a week to give to God.’

Hearing this story Sunday night completely humbled me — and encouraged me. On Tuesday, I saw Tyler’s grandmother and asked her if she had heard of her grandson’s incredible act of faith and love.

Grandma Nanette nodded and said, ‘There’s more: Tyler hasn’t stopped talking about his pledge. He now wants to do even more chores so that he can give God $2 each week.’”

I have been thanking God for Tyler, his family and his church. They truly inspire me. Tyler reminds me that we learn by example — he is simply responding to what his family and his church taught him. May we all be eager to pledge to what God is doing in and through us before we know where the money will come from or what God will ask us to do. I look forward to our work together.

Yours in Christ,

Dave Crittenden
Director of Stewardship