The Importance of Your Leadership
Tomorrow is the 4th of July – and that makes me thankful for community celebrations, fireworks, a country that is willing to keep moving forward so that all people can be free (slowly but surely), and leaders who make it all happen.
Last week, I was part of a training session where I witnessed a leader missing a great opportunity. The entire staff of “Awesome Non-Profit” was told it must attend an all-day webinar to explain a new computer system (no disrespect to you computer gurus, but right off the bat I was ready to catch some ZZZZZs). Everyone arrived, not really sure why we all needed to be there and unaware why this was so important it required an entire day of our time.
And, we kept wondering. The Executive Director didn’t start with a pep talk or an explanation of what we were doing or why we were doing it. In fact, she didn’t say anything. Likewise, the webinar leader (undoubtedly in a small dark room somewhere in New Jersey), launched into the training without setting the context either. So, for 6½ very looooong hours we sat and “learned.” I can guarantee you that three-quarters of us promptly forgot everything after we were released to see the sun once again.
Don’t get me wrong, this particular Executive Director is very effective in many ways – she runs a good ship and speaks eloquently about the organization to the public. But, she missed an opportunity to energize and inspire us, pull us all together and be a cheerleader for the cause of changing the system.
I see this happening with stewardship in churches too. Leaders, with clergy leading the way, feel ambivalent about stewardship or even saying the word “money” in church. Your congregation picks up on your reluctance. The stewardship campaign starts with little or no context. It feels downright weird that nearly a whole year goes by without any preaching let alone a mention from the pulpit about what Jesus said about generosity, stewardship, riches, or possessions. It’s no wonder that some congregations dread it when suddenly that’s all anyone hears about for a three-week period during the stewardship “campaign.”
So here’s the take away:
• You are leader and influencer
• You are challenger and cheerleader
• You have the ability and opportunity to impact your congregation
• You can talk about stewardship year-round
• You can and are changing the world.
Accept your role with pride; God knows we need more of you.
God bless the U.S.A. and all our church leaders!
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.