How are you staying cool? BenjaminLehman@pexel
Did the title of this blog post send shivers down your spine? My apologies. However, maybe that shiver will help you forget that we are experiencing a hot, hot time in the summer. Am I right? I’m sweating like a…(I’ll let you fill-in-the-blank). Let’s just say, trying to keep you cool was my public service for the day.
Please note that I am purposefully staying away from the term “Stewardship Campaign.” I was rightly given my comeuppance a few years ago when I used that phrase more than once in a previous post. Why? Because, as you know, stewardship is not a one and done “campaign.” It’s a lifestyle borne out of our understanding that what we have is God’s at all times – not just during the fall "stewardship campaign." We are a grateful people and that is expressed year-round.
However, we are also creatures of habit…especially in the mainline church. We do love our fall pledge campaigns. Like National Public Radio, you can count on them like clockwork.
So, what’s your plan for this coming October or November?
There are two ways you can go – and both can be successful.
- Create your own pledge campaign. This can be as creative as you like. I’ve heard about congregations who do their own NPR-like pledge drives. Or – I did this one year – base a pledge campaign on a series of videos (e.g. I Like Giving). You can line up spoken and written testimonials from people in and beyond the walls of your congregation who have been impacted by your congregation. Get your most enthusiastic givers together in a committee and unleash their creativity.
- Purchase a ready-made stewardship program. The work still will need to be done by a passionate committee, but the basic program is spelled out for you. These are usually plug-in-and go – which for many will produce a huge sigh of relief.
Which ready-made programs should you look at? I knew exactly who I needed to ask to get great intel.
Rev. Dr. Ken Sloan, Director of Stewardship & Generosity at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, was generous enough to give me his recommended “top three” stewardship programs:
1. Earn Save Give: Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money by James Harnish
2. Treasure by Jacob Armstrong
3. Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More by Tom Berlin
There are, of course, other programs out there.
In fact, lucky you, Ken just did a webinar on this very topic: Making the Annual Campaign Your Own. He lists many more resources in the webinar (hint: there are six more programs he highlights) so check it out.
A few years ago, Ken also put together a handy comparison chart of five stewardship programs. It’s well worth a look. Many thanks to Ken as well for his faithful work in this area.
There you have it, my friends. Some pre-done research on what program – your own or a ready-to-go one – you might use this fall. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Maybe thinking about the fall will help you cool off. Ahhhh, no doubt research is best done with a big glass of lemonade by the pool. Or inside an air-conditioned room. You choose.