Inspiring Generosity


Inspiring Generosity


9/20/2017

It’s Fall. Are You Ready for Stewardship?
 

  Time to play in the leaves! Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Can you feel it? It was that slight shiver that went up your spine this morning. And it struck you – it’s time for flannel sheets. Time for the heavy sweater; time to get the wooly slippers out; time for a mug of hot apple cider. And for me, it’s time for season 2 of “This is Us” (and time to buy Kleenex). Yep, summer is just about gone. And with the passing of yet another summer into fall, it also means for many of you that stewardship month is just around the corner.
 
Hopefully when your congregation hears the words “stewardship,” “giving,” and especially “money” they do not recoil as if you just let out a tirade of swear words straight from the pulpit. That’s because, over the course of the year,

a. you have talked about giving,
 
b. your congregation knows what their offering supports, and
 
c. they recognize money is a spiritual issue because you’ve preached about it.

That said, for some churches, it is time to specifically focus on stewardship. There are dozens and dozens of stewardship programs for you to review and use. Most of them are just fine – and most are prescribed to the letter of the law (I’m looking at you Herb Miller and your Consecration Sunday program). If these programs are of use to you, that’s fabulous.
 
But no matter what program you use, there are some things that should be in place before you even get started. Rev. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Connectional Ministries for the United Methodist Church’s Discipleship Ministries, has laid out “5 Key Elements in Successful Stewardship Strategies.” These are topics that you can bring up throughout the year or include in your stewardship month:
 
1. Self-Examination – What is your and your congregation’s relationship with money? Do you, do they live a life of abundance or scarcity?
 
2. First Fruits – Who should be the first to receive your money (hint: read Leviticus 23:9-14)?
 
3. Personal Witness – Are people in your congregation (other than you) telling stories of how giving has impacted them and others?
 
4. Church Mission – Do people know why your congregation exists?
 
5. High Expectations – What does it mean to be a part of your faith community? Have you set some basic expectations of what membership or belonging means?
 
Read the full article here.
 
I would add that there are three other key components to a successful stewardship strategy:
 
Joy
Joy and a little more
Joy
 
Yes…giving is serious business but it’s also a sign of life. And our lives, for the most part, should be expressions of joy. Joy must be at the core of why we give because all the gifts we have – time, talents, and treasure are to be returned to the One who has given us life. It’s that humbling and thrilling all at the same time.
 
So get your pot of soup on, sit by the fire (if you don’t have a fireplace pull up a rocking chair and watch this), and spend time reflecting on why you feel joy in giving your financial gifts to God. It’ll definitely warm your pea-pickin’ heart in no time.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She thinks it’s time to make some pumpkin bread. Mmmm, pumpkin bread. She was 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. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
 
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

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.

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