Make the Offering a Celebration
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to be a part of a nine-hour webinar. I know you’re so jealous at the very thought of me sitting around a table, watching a screen, and “learning” for hours on end. Secretly, you’re saying “Sign me up! I live for webinars – the longer the better!” Well, ladies and gentleman – I am here to bust the myth on boring webinars – because this was anything but boring.
The Lake Institute on Faith and Giving presented the webinar. It was an opportunity to be updated on the latest information for their seminar “Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity.” At 16 syllables long (I get winded every time I have to say it) heretofore it will be known as “CCCG.”
We were going into hour number nine and everyone was tired. The second of our CCCG leaders, Aimee A. Laramore, was talking about best practices. On the very last page of her power point she talked about “Stewardship Integration in Worship” – specifically that congregations should “celebrate the offering” during the worship service. I was intrigued. This sounded like a foreign concept. So I asked the obvious question – “How do you celebrate the offering?” And it was off to the races. We could have been there another hour because Aimee had so many ideas.
To make the offering a celebratory experience:
• Involve kids – let elementary school children pass the offering plates
• Make the offering a noisy, joyful experience – sing a happy hymn or praise song
• Integrate testimonies about what it means to be a giver (consider taping these 2-3 minute clips)
• Demonstrate impact – talk about the difference the offering is making
• Let staff (who are also church members) talk about why they give
• Change the time when the offering is taken – don’t slip it in at the end of the service
• Have people walk forward to give their offering.
“Celebration” and “offering” are not words that traditionally go together. But, if you get your creative juices flowing (maybe even with a small group) – and implement one or two of these suggestions, your congregation might even begin to look forward to the opportunity to joyfully give their earthly gifts to God.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise nearly $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.