The First Rule of Stewardship: Are You Keeping God in the Mix?


The First Rule of Stewardship
Don’t you just love going by the check-out line and seeing the screaming magazine teaser titles, “5 Ways to Bring Your Love Life Back,” “6 Quick Fixes to a $500,000 Home,” or my personal favorite, “15 Reasons George Clooney Should Have Married You Rather than that Other Woman” (OK, maybe I made that last one up – but I’d definitely buy the magazine if I saw it).

Well, there are books with similar titles – and the one I have been perusing holds the intriguing title, Bounty: Ten Ways to Increase Giving at Your Church. How can you not pick up a book with a title like that?  While there are many good suggestions in this book (and which may be discussed in later posts), the first way Miller and McKenzie suggest to increase giving stopped me in my tracks:

Invite God into the mix.

Holy smokes!  What a concept.  Simple and straightforward, sometimes we skip that step all together in our effort to get timelines set, forms ready, and letters sent out.

This is the authors’ basic premise:  Invite God into the mix and base your stewardship campaign (or giving in general) on three things: gratitude, prayer, and faith.
Gratitude: Think of ways that people in your congregation can express the ways God has blessed them and/or what they are thankful for.  Conversely, how is the church expressing gratitude to those who give their time and commitment to the church?
Prayer: Start now by asking people “What would God have me give?”  I especially like the suggested prayer card that can be handed out at the start of the campaign:
I promise to pray daily for:
_____My church

_____Our campaign
_____My gift
Faith: A life of faith is one that should continually challenge and call us to do the unexpected.  People who have identified their blessings, who have spent time in prayer, should be challenged with the simple, “Now what?”  My sister-in-law, a layperson, dared her congregation to think of Jesus holding the offering plate as pledges were dropped in the plate. 

The stewardship campaign can and should be a sacred, yet joyful, experience.  As grateful people, as prayerful people, and as faithful people who keep God in the mix – there’s no doubt that your congregation will experience something powerful…with these three simple steps.

Please note that the completely non-gratuitous photo of George Clooney was integral to this blog post. 

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 is really, really happy for George and Amal.  Really.  Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.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.