Get Ready – Stewardship Month is Coming!
Like it or not, in our mainline church culture, we do stewardship campaigns. Sometimes we spend a lot of money buying fancy, time-consuming stewardship programs. If they work for you, amen – I want to hear about them. But I am not convinced that’s what’s really needed.
- People tell their story. We all like to hear stories from our peers. Do at least two special mailings; ask two people (or a couple) to write about a moment of transformation they have had because of their experience through your congregation. Then ask for two people on two different Sundays to stand up in church and testify about their transformation.
- The church shares its vision. What are the top three things your church hopes to do in the coming year? This is an excellent opportunity for you, your Administrative Council, or Governing Board to spend time thinking about what you hope to accomplish for the Kingdom of God and God’s people in the coming year. Articulate your vision. People like to know where the church is going.
- Your congregation participates in a sacred ritual. If all you do on “Pledge Sunday” is toss the pledge cards in the offering plate, it’s time to change that. Making a pledge to the church is a spiritual act – it’s different than making a promise to support a non-profit. You are asking people to spend time in prayer to carefully consider what God is calling them to do with their financial resources and how they will personally have an impact in God’s work. Have people come forward and lay their pledges on the altar. Pray, do a responsive reading, make it a sacred moment.
Embrace the opportunity to make the stewardship drive something special for your congregation. Tell stories, share vision, and take part in a sacred ritual. Now’s the time…start planning!
P.S. If you are in the Northwest area, don’t forget the upcoming and excellent Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity workshop on October 11 (and Nov. 15 and January 24) from 9-4pm. Cost is $150 per person for all three workshops (this includes all materials and lunch). You must attend all three workshops and come with a team of three, including the clergyperson.
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 over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. She wants to thank Apple for her new U2 album - and is thankful that Apple didn't force her to get music from Eminem instead. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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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.