Inspiring Generosity: A Gratitude Report that Emphasizes the Right Thing


A Gratitude Report that Emphasizes the Right Thing

                                            What does gratitude look like?

I was raised to not be braggy. My mom (rightly) hated it when I acted like I was better than others.

I knew I was in big trouble when she – straight from the Highlands of Scotland – started reciting this poem by Robbie Burns (translated for you poor souls that don’t speak Scottish-English):

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us (Oh, would some Power give us the gift)  
To see oursels as others see us! (To see ourselves as others see us!)
It wad frae monie a blunder free us, (It would from many a blunder free us,)
An' foolish notion. (And foolish notion.)

Burns had a point.
However, sometimes those of us in the church have adopted Burns admonition to a fault.
As a result, we don’t let people outside (and sometimes in) our congregation know the good things that have happened or that are happening right now in our churches. We have been told time and again that a big part of the Bible is all about the virtue of being humble. And that is true.

Know what? The Bible also says “don’t put your lamp under a bushel…let your light shine.”
It’s the spirit in which your accomplishments are shared that makes the difference. Is your reason for sharing for your self-aggrandizement or is it to express gratitude for what God has done in your midst? Let’s just say, I’m assuming it’s the latter.

And for that reason…
Start writing your congregation’s “gratitude report” now.
This report will document all the good things that your church is doing. Record it with meaningful numbers as well. Then, when next January rolls around, you can share it with your congregation and your community.
What kinds of things should you document?

Anything that you are grateful that the church is doing:
- Youth ministry (How many kids are involved? How many outreach projects? Hours served?)

- Music (How many pieces were played? How many were involved?)

- Food bank (How many pounds of food were delivered? How many families were served?)

- Adult education (What are people learning? How many classes? How many books read?)

- Prayer shawls (How many were made? How many people received them?)

- Habitat for Humanity (How much money was raised? How many hours were donated to building how many houses?)
You get the idea.
The glory goes to God who made these ministries possible.
The thanks go to your people for their generosity in making the ministries a reality.
A report will document this. It’s not braggy. It’s believing Jesus when He says “You are the light of the world.”
And in the immortal words from “Godspell” (with thanks to the Bible):
You are the light of the world!
You are the light of the world!
But if that light is under a bushel,
It's lost something kind of crucial
You've got to stay bright to be the light of the world.
The world needs the Light. Let’s make sure it’s seen.

P.S. I’m including this photo of a Gratitude Report that I did many moons ago. As you can see, they don’t have to be super fancy.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a Stewardship Consultant for the OR-ID Annual Conference. She is also a Senior Ministry Strategist with Horizons Stewardship. For 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she has helped raise over three million dollars for numerous churches and non-profit organizations. She’s happy another season of The Voice is back. Hear this beautiful rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” from contestant NOIVAS.
You can reach Cesie at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook or at CesieScheuermann.com and one more…cesieds@horizons.net.
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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.