Inspiring Generosity


Your Fall Stewardship Focus During COVID: How Will You Do It?


   It's almost Stewardship Season. Hooray!   ZoeGammon@pixaba

Whenever I have a deep, deep stewardship question (and of course, I only ask deep, deep stewardship questions), I call Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Generosity at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church. This is not just any Methodist church mind you, it’s The (with a capital “T”) UMC. Now in his ninth year, and after serving at the local church level for many years, Ken has heard and experienced all things stewardship. He is the man.


Living in this time warp called COVID-19, I began to wonder: How will a conventional stewardship season be conducted during this unconventional time? Ken Sloane to the rescue!


Here’s the good news: if, in the past, you have done a three or four-week sermon series related to stewardship, it’s still probably going to fit for this season too. If you want a step-by-step full-on stewardship “program,” Ken suggested taking a look at Jacob Armstrong’s Treasure.


While most of us are still worshipping virtually, Ken remarked that what most of us want and are longing for is connection. To meet that need, here’s a COVID-inspired innovation he advocated:


Organize small Zoom meetings of 20-or-fewer people to talk about mission and ministry in the church. Here are some sample questions:


- What needs do you see in our community that the church could help meet?

- What are your dreams for a post-pandemic church?

- How can we minister to people who aren’t on-line?

- How can we be a congregation that promotes racial understanding?

- How might we be a presence of peace pre- and post-Presidential election?

- Where is your/our “treasure”?


The hard part – as with anything that can yield great reward and information – is the up-front work of organizing it all. It’s finding a staff, clergyperson, or person in leadership who will sit in on these meetings and record important information to be shared with others. It’s training people on how to host Zoom meetings. It’s inviting people to sign up. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.


What about pledging in the time of COVID? On “Commitment Sunday,” many churches – in the days of old – passed out pledge cards that people brought to the altar in an act of worship. Clearly, that is not happening this year. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative. Ken helped state the obvious: This might be the year that you figure out how to make a fillable pdf pledge card. You can easily Google “How to make a fillable pdf form” but here are videos one and two that explain how to do it.


With a fillable document, you can ask people during virtual worship to pull up the document, fill it out, say a prayer of gratitude over the document, and email it directly to the church. For those less technologically inclined, email out a pledge card with a cover letter that outlines the church’s dreams and vision for the next year. Include a self-addressed envelope to make it easy to return and state a date you’d like it to be returned by. Take time during worship to pray over pledge cards people will be sending in either via snail mail or virtually.


If it’s been said once, it’s been said a hundred times over the past six months, these are very weird times we are living in. I’m so happy that there are people like Ken Sloane to help navigate how to do old things in new ways. It’s unchartered territory but…you can do it!


My home at 4pm yesterday.

Point of personal privilege: Oregon – along with California – has been hit with terrible fires. I live in Salem, about 20 miles east of some small mill towns that have been decimated. Please pray for the people who have lost their homes and towns.

2020 has been quite a year. Are locusts next? Is it over yet?

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 has helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. On a day like today, is there anything funnier than watching “guilty dogs”? She wants to be sure you catch the one that ate “Baby Jesus.” She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

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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.